Which particular side effects scare you? There are some alternative treatments, but just because they are alternative doesn't make them safer. All treatments have benefits & risks, and the goal is weigh these against each other to fine the best option.
St. John's Wart is an alternative treatment; research has shown it may be useful for mild to moderate depression. It may not be as effective as antidepressants for more severe depressions...and just like medications it can have similar side effects.
SAME is also a possibility. This would be much gentler than St. John's or antidepressants in general. There is more research in the last few years that shows its efficacy.
There are other treatments out there (like 5-HTP), but I believe the above 2 have the most scientific evidence of efficacy.
In using any alternative therapies you want to consult a trusted herbologist; you want to use a respectable brand that knows what they're doing when they create the product (e.g. if they harvest a certain plant at the wrong time of year, they could be creating & selling a completely useless product).
There are also some self-help books for depression which would be a good idea: 1) The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra, 2) The Depression Workbook: A Guide for Living with Depression and Manic Depression, Second Edition by Mary Ellen Copeland and Matthew McKay 3) The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns; 4) The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by XXXXX XXXXX;
I also recommend learning some formal relaxation therapy (yoga, tai chi, meditation,etc). All these treatments are proven by studies using sophisticated brain scans to calm down the brain.
Good luck & take care.
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