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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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The side effect I am most concerned about is the claim that it may lead to suicide. My daughter is not right not suicidal. She is not doing well in school even though she is in a highly gifted program. Her dad who is know in a home has been sick for almost 6 years. I just do not want her addicted to a drug or suicidal. thank you
I can certainly understand that concern...here's the good news: that is a relatively rare side effect. In fact, in many of my patients, it's not a true side effect. Here's what I mean: when people who are ambivalent take medications, they often attribute certain "side effects" to meds just so it gives them a reason to not have to take the med.
St. John's Wart and SAME work similar enough to antidepressants that I would think in theory they could also cause this same risk, but I am not aware that it has been reported yet.
None of these meds are addictive; and if she does develop suicidal thoughts after taking any med or supplement, it would go away after stopping the med. I hope this helps.