Alternative Treatments for Depression

  • Posted by Dr. Jay Gordon

Q. I have been searching for information on adolescent Bi-polar disorder.

My teenage son is 15 and has been experiencing depression for at least a couple of years. He was diagnosed as Bi-polar with depression about 5 weeks ago. The doctor has him on Depakote (500mg per day) which has helped with the manic episodes but he is struggling with the side effects (his brain is sluggish and it is affecting his academics, job and life). We tried Effexor as an antidepressant (started 10 days or so after starting the Depakote) with horrid side effects – - he only took it twice and we both agreed that was more than enough. I have a history of bad reactions to antidepressants as well. He also has anxiety/panic attacks occasionally and is extremely sensitive to stress.

I am trying to find information on herbal/homeopathic treatments that will help my son. I currently take Nature’s Sunshine AD-C (now called Mood Elevator) for my battle with depression and it works great for me. However, my son cannot swallow pills and NS does not make this combination in a tincture. Is there anything that you could recommend? A site I could research? Anything that might help us?

A. You need a VERY determined and coordinated (time- and money-consuming) approach to this problem which should rely heavily on the “talking cure” from a good shrink of some kind and complemented by carefully chosen medications.

But first…

I have some advice for generic optimal health which really works for mental illness: Eliminate all dairy, sugar, eggs and wheat from his diet for two weeks. Get rid of oils except olive oil and avoid artificial coloring diligently.

Add Gingko Biloba (tincture or liquid) and ginseng too. Give the “biggest” multivitamins he will take.

Increase his sleep, avoid television and video games and… somehow… get him out hiking, walking or playing ball.

This incredibly simplistic approach actually works wonders.