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Are there any treatments for severe depression which do not involve medication?


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Someone close to my family has had years of depression which they refused to treat and has now fallen into a deep and sustained depression. I am trying to help through coaching and encouragement but my efforts have failed totally. Is there any non-pharmaceutical method to help this person out of their depression?  I am struggling to find methods which will result in a quick alleviation of this mindset.

Any help welcomed.

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Hi, Jimmy.  There are some therapies that are cognitive, and not pharmaceutical or ECT-based.  I don't know of any that result in any quick alleviation, probably because quick fixes don't exist.  And I am fairly certain there are none which don't require the training a LMHP would have.  Your best course might be to contact a professional, and then see how you can help, as a friend, as that therapy progresses, provided your friend can take the first step.  Depression is uniquely resistant to "coaching and encouragement," in fact that's one of the distinguishing features of clinical depression and why families and friends feel so powerless to do anything.  (and also why some pharma intervention is so often on the table)

Also, and I cannot stress this too strongly, some who suffer deep depression are especially vulnerable when their depression starts to diminish.  So, even if you did manage to give some help, there would be critical junctures where the supervision of a pro would be vital.  Some depressed patients have been known to attempt suicide, not when at the lowest point, but as they experience an increase in energy and activity.  Not trying to scare you, but to underscore that this kind of mental illness ain't no place for amateurs!  

 

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Have you tried getting this person into the outdoors (nature)?  For me regular day trips into nature for a short hike help considerably.  

Also, what sorts of coaching exercises have you done with them?  Any structured goal setting or values clarification, that sort of thing?  Usually depressed people have no direction and feel hopeless as a result.  Structured goal setting can help that.

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Guys,

Thank you for the replies.

I have tried MECM - Movement, Exercise, Collegiality and Meditation. The exercise bit was accepted and she did exercise daily. However, the other 3 were rejected. I then set micros-targets - shower, clean your house etc... and these were followed because they gave an element of control to the person. However, most importantly, I am the person at the other end of the telephone, or in person, who will listen - as long as it takes. I think the friendship element is lacking in a society which is being shattered into individual sections, isolated from each other by technology rather than coming together. Loneliness is, IMHO, a contributory factor to the disconnectedness of the individual from society and the subsequent retreat into the world of their thoughts. I will keep trying as I would do with any friend. I am hoping that something I will say will "click" and then the road to mindset change will become wider. 

If I can be of use to anyone in this Forum, please do not hesitate to ask for my advice. 

Best wishes

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I’ve been hearing a lot lately about strategic use of ketamine with seriously good results, but that’s clearly pharmaceutical. 

Similar positive results are being had with psilocybin (of the magic mushrooms variety) under guided conditions. 

All the energy for depression that’s otherwise resistant to standard treatment, however, appears to be with ketamine according to my various neuroscience feeds. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

A toke might help to calm him down; and so would respecting his opinions, and not pushing him to the edge ( like last time ).

But we're talking about depression, here.
For mild depression, I always found choccolate to work wonders.
Then a good workout, to burn the calories, helps even further.

Edited by MigL
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I've heard good things about breathing techniques. Seemed strange at first but it really does seem like it can be effective.

Here are a couple of quick links:
 

https://explore.mindbodyonline.com/blog/wellness/top-breathing-exercises-anxiety-depression

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161122182357.htm

Also may want to try Forest Bathing.

https://time.com/5259602/japanese-forest-bathing/

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3 hours ago, iNow said:

Last times, plural. But sure… blame us. That works, too.

Not blaming anybody.
He obviously has issues he needs to work through.
Thank you though,for being so understanding.

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On 6/12/2022 at 4:53 PM, iNow said:

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about strategic use of ketamine with seriously good results, but that’s clearly pharmaceutical. 

Similar positive results are being had with psilocybin (of the magic mushrooms variety) under guided conditions. 

All the energy for depression that’s otherwise resistant to standard treatment, however, appears to be with ketamine according to my various neuroscience feeds. 

As a sufferer of deep depression I have been seeking out the magic mushroom treatment, medications do not appear to help. Getting out in nature might help but some depressed people are not open to that sort of thing. Since being out in nature is my thing... or was, It's weird to know you are depressed and not be able to rise out of like most people seem to think you should. I am not sure what to do either, if I find anything i'll share it for sure. 

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35 minutes ago, Moontanman said:

As a sufferer of deep depression I have been seeking out the magic mushroom treatment, medications do not appear to help. Getting out in nature might help but some depressed people are not open to that sort of thing. Since being out in nature is my thing... or was, It's weird to know you are depressed and not be able to rise out of like most people seem to think you should. I am not sure what to do either, if I find anything i'll share it for sure. 

Yes, this in my own experience is something that you often see. Years ago, I was having many physical issues and went to see my GP. I was diagnosed with deep depression and the GP put me on mild medication and arranged counselling. I hadn't realised how low I was and that I was sinking further each day, I certainly never considered myself depressed!. The counselling really helped, by giving me a new perspective. But what I find helps me most these days, is setting myself goals, ones that are achievable but take time to get there with effort and commitment.  This gives me something to focus on and some sense of purpose and stops me sliding back into the hole I was heading down years ago.  

A good friend of mine's wife is severely depressed and has attempted suicide. She is on strong medication and has regular counselling but this only keeps her head above water. I wouldn't have any idea what would help her. Though many techniques work to a degree, each case is individual and it's therefore difficult to find the right formula for everyone. 

The last thing a depressed person needs to hear is people saying "what are you depressed about, you have all these lovely things and you are still not happy..." They also don't appreciate being patronised with over sensitive comments either " you are such a wonderful person, you have all this going for you"... etc, this just seems to fuel the guilt they feel for being so low in the first place. 

I think depression is very sad and a deep concern, many people suffer silently!  

Edited by Intoscience
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6 hours ago, Moontanman said:

As a sufferer of deep depression

Yore not alone, especially after these last few years. The pandemic and breaking of social norms and related ignorance in politics (but mostly having to stay home during the pandemic) has caused depression frequency and intensity to surge. Councilors appointment books are overflowing and even they themselves are feeling the effects. You’re not alone. 

6 hours ago, Moontanman said:

I have been seeking out the magic mushroom treatment, medications do not appear to help. Getting out in nature might help

Getting out in nature, walking, sunlight etc all definitely help, and the hike you’re taking could turn into a two-fer if you happen to walk through cattle fields and maybe find those shroomies you seek.  :) 

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6 hours ago, Moontanman said:

As a sufferer of deep depression

I think if there was a magic switch out there it would be widely known. 

The worst instance I ever saw was a friend's brother, who was persuaded to come and play golf with us. I was amazed at how bad he was, he couldn't even stand still, he had to keep pacing up and down, even though he said the golf shoes were killing him. I didn't think he would ever get out of it, it was so severe. 

But he did get out of it. I asked my friend what made the difference, and he said nothing, it just went, and he even found himself a new partner and it didn't come back. So I guess, like other nasty ailments, it can fix itself in the end, even though it doesn't seem possible at the time. 

If I find my mind churning over stuff in the past that still bugs me, I use a "happy place" diversion tactic, as quickly as possible, and refuse to let my mind go back over stuff. That works for me, you get better at it over time, if you persevere. 

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9 hours ago, mistermack said:

I think if there was a magic switch out there it would be widely known. 

The worst instance I ever saw was a friend's brother, who was persuaded to come and play golf with us. I was amazed at how bad he was, he couldn't even stand still, he had to keep pacing up and down, even though he said the golf shoes were killing him. I didn't think he would ever get out of it, it was so severe. 

But he did get out of it. I asked my friend what made the difference, and he said nothing, it just went, and he even found himself a new partner and it didn't come back. So I guess, like other nasty ailments, it can fix itself in the end, even though it doesn't seem possible at the time. 

If I find my mind churning over stuff in the past that still bugs me, I use a "happy place" diversion tactic, as quickly as possible, and refuse to let my mind go back over stuff. That works for me, you get better at it over time, if you persevere. 

Meditation does seem to help. now if I could just motivate myself to meditate on the beach. 

9 hours ago, iNow said:

Yore not alone, especially after these last few years. The pandemic and breaking of social norms and related ignorance in politics (but mostly having to stay home during the pandemic) has caused depression frequency and intensity to surge. Councilors appointment books are overflowing and even they themselves are feeling the effects. You’re not alone. 

Getting out in nature, walking, sunlight etc all definitely help, and the hike you’re taking could turn into a two-fer if you happen to walk through cattle fields and maybe find those shroomies you seek.  :) 

I'd have to find a cattle field, not that common here on the coast. 

A spore print might help. 

It's not a Joke, i hope Jimmy finds a method to help his friend. 

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7 hours ago, Moontanman said:

Meditation does seem to help. now if I could just motivate myself to meditate on the beach. 

I'd have to find a cattle field, not that common here on the coast. 

A spore print might help. 

It's not a Joke, i hope Jimmy finds a method to help his friend. 

Fortunately, people are becoming more aware and dare I say more tolerant for those that suffer. Especially as iNow mentioned, more so since the pandemic has accelerated the number of cases. 

It's good to see that this terrible illness is being taken more seriously recently, and I feel though there are many illness's that deserve more investment for research and treatment than they get, mental health should be up there near the top of the list. Mental health issues, in addition to being difficult to diagnose for treatment, also cause physical issues that can manifest at any time and some very serious ones at that. It all then becomes a vicious cycle, like a whirl pool that is difficult to escape from.

All we can do on this forum is give people support and, as iNow excellently but simply stated- "You're not alone"! 

Edited by Intoscience
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15 hours ago, Intoscience said:

It's good to see that this terrible illness is being taken more seriously recently, and I feel though there are many illness's that deserve more investment for research and treatment than they get, mental health should be up there near the top of the list. Mental health issues, in addition to being difficult to diagnose for treatment, also cause physical issues that can manifest at any time and some very serious ones at that. It all then becomes a vicious cycle, like a whirl pool that is difficult to escape from.

At least part of why cases of depression have accelerated is because we assume whatever the person is depressed about is a personal thing, and not something systemic that may be affecting us all. We consider it their trauma to deal with, even though we're here to lend support where we can. But what if depression is just a normal human response to the kinds of crazy we're seeing these days in some countries? In the US, we're realizing how enslaved we've all been while celebrating our freedoms. We have inalienable rights guaranteed to the People by our Constitution, but we never passed an equal rights amendment to truly include all People. We escaped the tyranny of the wealthy so we could let the wealthy lead us right back to being underrepresented by our own leaders. Maybe we should focus more on what's causing such depression instead of finding ways to live with it.

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1) Change diet. Spicy ingredients such as hot chili are especially good because they stimulate endorphin production.

2) Train sports.  This also stimulates endorphin production.

Endorphins are natural opiates, painkillers which are sometimes released in response to the chilli's sting. Like opiates they are said to induce a pervasive sense of happiness.

https://www.google.com/search?q=endorphins+stimulants

 

 

Edited by Sensei
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Cold read: Psyilocybin.

Amantia Muscaria.

Heavy Compound Lifts: see Rippetoe.

1Vagal Nerve Breathing (like your cat):
6 second inhale while you apply Mulabandha root-lock: lower abs, anus, and kegel

3 second Breath hold

9 second Breath exhale while constricting the throat as two cylinders - say HA! - vibrating through constriction to stimulate Vagus.
3 second Breath hold

Repeat 20x. Repeat 2x.

"Pipe Breathing"

1--Mme Whoop Yo' Ass on ResearchTM

--GAotU

Edited by NTuft
Lifting : Breathing. How dare Ye neg me to a trivial solution to the Zeta function. I demand another downvote or upvote.
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18 hours ago, Sensei said:

1) Change diet. Spicy ingredients such as hot chili are especially good because they stimulate endorphin production.

2) Train sports.  This also stimulates endorphin production.

Endorphins are natural opiates, painkillers which are sometimes released in response to the chilli's sting. Like opiates they are said to induce a pervasive sense of happiness.

https://www.google.com/search?q=endorphins+stimulants

 

 

WOW! Maybe that is why i crave spicy foods and put sriracha sauce on everything I eat. 

 

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7 hours ago, Moontanman said:

WOW! Maybe that is why i crave spicy foods and put sriracha sauce on everything I eat. 

Check the Scoville scale table:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scoville_scale

It will help you figure out what sauce to buy next..

 

Sriracha sauce has just 1500-2000 on the scale.

 

Try Caroline Reaper sauce.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Caroline+Reaper+sauce

With 1.5-2.2 millions on the scale. Ate it last week.

 

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10 hours ago, Moontanman said:

WOW! Maybe that is why i crave spicy foods and put sriracha sauce on everything I eat. 

 

Indeed. Endorphins are very powerful. I’ve been growing my own selection of peppers and fermenting them into a mash base that I put on nearly everything. Absent that, Sriracha is like my ketchup. 🌶 

2 hours ago, Sensei said:

Try Caroline Reaper sauce.

No thanks. I love spicy food, but not so much that you can’t taste anything else… for a week. My BIL grew those last year and couldn’t even really cook with them. It was a waste, but YMMV

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23 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

What year is it? How many fingers am I holding up?

I love that hot stuff, I seldom cook that i don't add habanero peppers at least!

14 hours ago, iNow said:

Indeed. Endorphins are very powerful. I’ve been growing my own selection of peppers and fermenting them into a mash base that I put on nearly everything. Absent that, Sriracha is like my ketchup. 🌶 

No thanks. I love spicy food, but not so much that you can’t taste anything else… for a week. My BIL grew those last year and couldn’t even really cook with them. It was a waste, but YMMV

I can eat the really hot stuff and it can give you a sense of Hmmm, but the really hot stuff lacks taste. I'm not sure if Jimmy's friend can eat the hot stuff but it might be worth trying to slowly up her tolerance for hot sauces like Sriracha. 

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On 6/24/2022 at 9:45 PM, Phi for All said:

At least part of why cases of depression have accelerated is because we assume whatever the person is depressed about is a personal thing, and not something systemic that may be affecting us all. We consider it their trauma to deal with, even though we're here to lend support where we can. But what if depression is just a normal human response to the kinds of crazy we're seeing these days in some countries? In the US, we're realizing how enslaved we've all been while celebrating our freedoms. We have inalienable rights guaranteed to the People by our Constitution, but we never passed an equal rights amendment to truly include all People. We escaped the tyranny of the wealthy so we could let the wealthy lead us right back to being underrepresented by our own leaders. Maybe we should focus more on what's causing such depression instead of finding ways to live with it.

That's a good point, mass depression due to the current state of affairs makes sense. Yes, find the root cause is key, though not always easy to put a finger on it since it can be an accumulation of a number of things of a long period of time. It's often recognised in some people depression appearing later in life that was possibly triggered from some trauma from childhood.  

On 6/25/2022 at 4:43 PM, dimreepr said:

I think one of the main reasons for societies increasing numbers of depression is, we are encouraged to believe we're special and that if we aren't "the best we can be" we fail, full stop.

That somehow our parents are automatically imbued with parental love/obligation and if not, my none-specialness is their fault.

I think it's important to forgive us for being human; kryptonian's can just fuck off...

 

Way to read the room... 😉

I think it goes deeper than that, rather than encouraged to feel we are special, we are often reminded that we are not, but somehow should be. In the modern era image is rammed down people's throats, everyone tries to be/look "perfect", a superstar... This culture of falseness is not healthy, especially for the younger generation who feel such unnecessary expectation, then feel failures.

My Grandfather used to crudely put it, "we are all born, we all eat, sleep, fart, piss and shit then we die. It's our legacy what makes us special, not the here and now"

I think this was his way of saying that we are all equal, but each of us can choose to spend our lives being proactive for the greater good, or not. 

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