Alternatives for Depression

May 14, 2015
Tagged with: Alternatives for Depression

A mental health treatment plan for depression typically involves cognitive behavioral therapy and some kind of antidepressant to regulate abnormal neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Even alcohol recovery programs or drug detox programs use antidepressants to help patients cope with anxiety, depression and cravings for drugs or alcohol. However, a new study from the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Mo. reports that laughing gas may provide relief from severe depression.

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is usually given to people with dental phobia to help calm them during dental treatments. Working as a sedative and an analgesic, nitrous oxide induces feelings of euphoria, dreaminess and numbness that wear off within two to three hours. Although exactly how laughing gas causes changes in cognition, mood and sensation is not known, scientists do know that nitrous oxide seems to act similarly to the way anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) medications affect certain receptors in the brain.

Authors of the study claim that laughing gas may be useful for quickly relieving depression symptoms but do not say anything about Nitrous oxide promoting long-term relief of depression. Consequently, if laughing gas is ever approved for use in easing depression or anxiety, it may not be as effective as counseling and medication treatments currently provided by a professional mental rehabilitation center.

Behavioral health facilities offer the best depression treatments

Seeking help is the first course of action to take when depression is disrupting your work, family and social life. Depressed individuals need to participate in counseling as well as take medication that regulates neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Regardless of the stigma associated with any kind of mental disorder, those dealing with depression should not feel like being depressed is their fault. It is a combination of factors beyond the control of the individual that can be successfully controlled by participating in a mental health treatment plan involving counseling and depression medications

How depression drugs work

Serotonin is unable to penetrate the blood-brain barrier so it must be created in the brain using precursor substances such as try ptophan, a chemical found in turkey meat. Serotonin is responsible for regulating mood, arousal, internal temperature, pain sensitivity, sleep and appetite. Normally it is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning it reduces or suppresses the intensity of something it regulates–appetite, pain, arousal and mood. When an inadequate amount of serotonin exists within the brain, depression and anxiety may result in addition to insomnia, hypersensitivity to pain and overwhelming fatigue.
Antidepressants work to elevate levels of serotonin by preventing the neurotransmitter from flowing back into the presynaptic cell. Higher levels of serotonin lessens the intensity of depression symptoms.

Laughing gas does not replace CBT

When used in combination with antidepressants, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to greatly improve the ability of a patient to manage depression, anxiety and addiction. Professional CBT counselors help depressed patients by educating them about how self-critical and defeating thinking patterns can distort the way they perceive themselves and reality. While laughing gas may prove to be a temporary fix for depression, professional and compassionate help from trained mental health professionals can provide lasting relief.

Dual diagnosis treatment

While a particular mental health treatment program may work for some, it may not work for others. Some mental health patients require dual diagnosis treatment plans to focus on healing additional substance abuse problems. Dual diagnosis treatment centers differ from mental health treatment centers because dual diagnosis programs deal with the complexities of addressing addiction and mental illnesses.

Physical Activity

The latest research for people with disability states how physical fitness activities help lower the secondary health conditions stemming from lack of opportunities to exercise. Once of the secondary health conditions cited by people with disabilities is mental health such as anxiety and depression. It is important to discuss with physician the various exercise and physical fitness options for these conditions.

Do you know of any other alternative suggestions?

Author: Nina Hales