Easing Depression Without A Prescription


Suffering from Depression

Each year millions of Americans are diagnosed with depression, and many turn to their doctors for either professional psychotherapy or an antidepressant medication — usually widely used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac or Zoloft.

But a brisk run, a friendly game of chess, a soothing massage: All these pursuits can help ease mild depression, experts say.

“These are all things that are certainly worth trying and are generally healthy, anyway,” said Dr. Nadia Marsh, an expert in treating depression and chief of the division of geriatrics at Cabrini Medical Center, in New York City.

Marsh stressed, however, that alternative or complementary therapies probably won’t do much to ease really serious depression.

“For any form of mild depression, all of these things can help when added together,” she said. “But, even then, it’s not a form of treatment in and of itself.”

But increasingly, people are also looking for non-pharmacologic relief of illness, including depression. Unfortunately, according to Marsh, the evidence to support the effectiveness of alternative therapies against the disease isn’t strong.