Mind & Body

Out of the Blues

Natural tools can fight depression without the side effects medications so often cause.

Out of the Blues
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Try side-effect-free supplements
SAM-E
One study showed that when antidepressant users who still exhibited symptoms also took SAM-e, they showed more improvement than those who only tried SSRIs. Take 800 milligrams twice daily, but for SAM-e to work, you also need 200 to 600 milligrams of magnesium a day, Hyman says. Try: Source Naturals SAM-e Double Strength ($22 for 30 tablets; vitacost.com)

ST. JOHN’S WORT This herb is well-known for treating mild to moderate depression as effectively as SSRIs. Note: Do not take it if you are also taking prescription drugs for various medical conditions, as St. John’s wort interacts with many of them and makes them less effective. Take 300 milligrams three times a day. Try: New Chapter’s Mood Take Care ($14 for 30 softgels; amazon.com)

ASHWAGANDHA This Indian adaptogenic herb will help you stand up to stress, stabilizes your moods and eases anxiety, despair and helplessness. Take 20 to 50 milligrams daily. Try: Organic India Joy! ($19 for 90 capsules; organicindiausa.com).

Signs of depression
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you may have major, or clinical, depression if you have at least five of the symptoms below that cluster together, last for at least two weeks and impair your functioning:

Changes in sleep, appetite or activity patterns

Fatigue or lack of energy

Loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable

Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions

Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, guilt, worthlessness, irritability or agitation

Thoughts of death or suicide

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