alternatives to AD-s?


Has anyone tried alternatives to antidepressants?

I've been suffering from depression for 10 years and tried tons of AD-s, which actually made me worse.

There's a relatively new drug called Valdoxan and it does not make me feel like a zombie, just keeps me afloat (so I don't want to kill myself). I remember how it felt to be happy and my current state is far from it, so I thought I'd look around and see if there's more I can do to fix this situation.

So, I read about alternative therapies, like B3 (niacin) and 5-htp which seemed to work for many but I'd like to know if any of you have tried or heard about these methods?

12 Replies

  • Hi Antidepressants are one ofthe things that help me. A balanced diet is Important

    Too, excercise, sleep, and being socially connected and I suppose making general

    Good lifestyle changes. It really depends on the degree of Depression.

    There is no magic bullet it all Depends on what caused the Depression in first

    Place and maybe you need to address that through some kind of talkingTherapy.

    I would be guided by your GP In to what they can recommend maybe CBT.

    Im sure other people coukd give you their input but I know nothing

    About things you have mentioned, so cannot comment .


  • Depression is really a label for a group of symptoms and certainly doesn't identify the cause.

    ADs can be useful for 'depression' but if the underlying cause is something like a thyroid problem or a vitamin deficiency then they aren't really going to fix the problem.

    Has your GP done a full range of blood tests - including B12 and folate.

    My depression and anxiety - decades of it - turned out to be due to a problem with B12 and providing I keep my B12 levels high then it just vanishes.

    Luckily B12 isn't a vitamin that you can overdose on but you can overdose on other vitamins so I certainly wouldn't just dive into things without discussing it with your doctor first. You are also doing the right thing seeing if there is anyone who has found the therapies useful.

    I found that mindfulness meditation helped me a lot in coping with low mood and intrusive suicidal thoughts (though not as good as the B12 :)). Responses to meditation for treating anxiety and depression can be a bit hit and miss though as meditation is something that you either get or you don't and you can be put off so easily by a bad experience.

    Physical activity can also help - been a lot of press coverage recently about sport being used as a therapy.

    Really hope that you find something that works for you - can totally relate to not being comfortable with ADs and not really finding them that effective.

  • Thanks for that! I'm usually active but since my other condition got worse and I am now waiting for surgery, I cannot exercise. I miss it so much.

    My B12 level is within the norm and folate too - I take a very high dose of B-complex vitamins religiously every day :)

    Unfortunately I am not lucky with the docs, they simply think I am a hypochondriac. Obviously, cause I don't believe in depression as such and think it is a symptom of some imbalance and I want them to find out what is wrong.

    I suspect thyroid problems (low iron, high cholesterol, partially enlarged thyroid, hoarse voice, phlegm, exhaustion) but they refuse to look further than TSH...

    I started with 5-htp now because I am sick of if all and will just experiment to get better.

  • Do you have your B12 results - Serum B12 is now acknowledged to be a poor guide to deficiency - it looks at all of your B12 and significant numbers of people are actually deficient based on symptoms but come back with 'normal' range on the test. In Japan they will treat at levels below 500 if there are symptoms where as the normal range usually ends somewhere around 150.

    If you don't have them then try to get hold of them and suggest that you post them on the PAS forum if they are actually below 500.

    you may also find the following sites useful


    Unfortunately GPs and even specialists tend to have poor knowledge of B12 deficiency and people with absorption problems often take years to get a diagnosis ... and are frequently mis-diagnosed with things like depression, ME, MS, dementia ... and frequently dismissed as hypochondriacs

  • My B-12 level (cobalamin pmol/l) was 570 and suggested range is 200 - 600.

    Can't find the folate results but I noticed that ferritin is very low - 9 µg/l and norm is 15-120. Yet the doc said everything is fine...

  • 570 does look like it is unlikely to be B12 itself that is your problem.

    You need folate to absorb B12 so if that is a little on the low side (if you can find that) would be worth looking at getting that up - and you could try challenging the doctor on ferritin.

    Anaemia is one of the symptoms of both folate and B12 deficiency.

  • Thanks, Gambit62, I will go see my new doc and demand more tests.

    I've just had a bad spell with docs in my new town/country. Got to be strong to be sick here...

  • I have the same problem with getting doctors to take seriously my symptoms of thyroid deficiency, it's a common problem trying to get a diagnosis...

  • What I do lately when depressed or anxious is go to the gym and work out even if I am not in the mood to go. Once I get there, it's easy. Zumba, ballroom dancing, just good old exercise helps. When you look at yourself in the mirror and see that you are getting more toned, that's a pick me up in itself. So, if you look better maybe you will feel better. When thinking about something that bothers me, I really get into the dance or exercise and concentrate hard on it to not think about my worry. If negative thoughts keep popping up, I block them out until I get so lost in whatever I am doing that I don't think about them. Try jogging or very fast walking to the point that you forget about everything else and just that you want to slow pace down because you feel the burn. You really can't fully concentrate on two things at the same time.

  • Thank you chicana7! Jogging will be the first thing I'm going to do when I have recovered from my surgery - I miss the rush of happiness that comes from exercising.

  • Hi, I am sure somebody on this site will know or would have experienced a similar situation-- but I have not (yet) happy on my medication after years of trying different types --- all drugs have side affects but if you suffer from depression its a small price to pay thats my own feelings on the subject - of course I wish I did not have to take drugs to feel well/normal but I do got the badge for coming on/off them. Sorry I cannot help your post but I am sure somebody would have experienced what you are saying on this site...

    If in doubt see your gp. jul1xx

  • Hello

    Yes, although they brought me back

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