How can Naturopathic Medicine Support Mental Wellness?

Woman meditating in front of a laptop on the floor cross-legged

Those who struggle with conditions such as depression and anxiety understand that coping with symptoms can be brutal. Traditional medications often prescribed by doctors and psychiatrists aren't always the solution despite it being the most common route many will take. Perhaps if you haven't found any relief in traditional antidepressants, maybe a holistic approach is what you are looking for. But can a holistic approach help? The answer is yes, it can! The question, then, is how exactly can naturopathic medicine help your mental health and boost your overall well-being? 

To begin, a naturopathic doctor can lead you down the path of self-healing in the most gentle and effective way possible. If antidepressants are not cutting it, a naturopathic doctor can safely recommend additional therapies that would not be contraindicated to your current medications.  Holistic solutions are bountiful, as well as safe and effective.

This blog offers general therapies that a naturopathic doctor may recommend.  However, please talk with your doctor before trying any suggestions in this blog. 

Prescription medications often come with side effects such as: an increase in depressed mood, insomnia, a lack of appetite, or gastrointestinal trouble. Sometimes these symptoms go away with time, but sometimes they don't.  This can be incredibly frustrating.  Natural therapies often have little or no side effects.  But before trying any natural supplements, vitamins, and herbs for depression, discuss your options with your naturopathic doctor.  There may be an underlying cause of depression, such as low thyroid or impaired methylation that may be the root cause of the condition.

Natural therapies are often taken to support mental health, whether it is in pill form, inhaled, or sipped.  Here are some natural therapies that may be recommended by a naturopathic doctor:

One common recommendation is omega-3 fatty acids. Although it is commonly found in fish, it can also be taken as a supplement if one is a vegan/vegetarian, worried about too much consumption of mercury, or just does not like the taste of fish.  Studies show that there is no build-up of mercury in supplement pills and can be a safer option of the two.  The link between omega-3 fatty acids and a decrease in depression mood symptoms in adults has been found. In addition, there seems to be research that an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency can contribute to mental health disorders. 

Aromatherapy is another great form of holistic medicine as essential oils have a calming effect on those weighed down with stress or anxiety. One example is rose water, which can help one relax and promotes peaceful sleep.  Rosewater has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties that can help ease the mood of sufferers. Drinking rose water can also be a good source of vitamins while relieving gastrointestinal problems. 

Another scientifically-backed holistic alternative is the use of the herb, chamomile. Whether you drink a cup of tea, massage it into the skin, or inhale the flowers, this natural herb is a proven remedy for anxiety.  Studies show that the regular consumption of chamomile has a whole range of physical benefits including easing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Keep in mind, however, that those who take blood thinners should not combine the two. 

Whatever treatment you decide to seek, there are so many possibilities and benefits of taking the holistic route. Working with a naturopathic doctor in conjunction with your other health care providers could be the perfect combination you need that leads you down the road to lasting wellness for both physical and emotional health!

Dr. Minna Yoon, ND, L.Ac.

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