In naturopathic and functional medicine, we believe symptoms like depression are manifestations of underlying imbalances. We dig for the root cause of those symptoms and naturally restore balance, most of the time without drugs or other invasive procedures. More and more experts are advocating what I’ve recommended for years: Doctors should thoroughly screen patients and personalize counseling before they recommend hormonal contraceptives. Not all of us respond the same to hormones, and having individualized recommendations can dramatically reduce side effects like depression. Please note: Depression is often a multifaceted issue that often requires support from several health care professionals, including a functional medicine doctor (who can uncover the root cause of your issue) along with a mental health therapist.
Frustrated that her depression still lingered—even though she had been off the pill for three months—Brittney arrived in my office asking for an alternative to the antidepressants her doctor had prescribed. She didn't want to try another pill; she wanted to fix the root cause of her symptoms. For me, Brittney’s inflammation provided a huge clue as to why she often felt depressed, but that wasn’t the whole story, and during subsequent consultations, her labs revealed that other potential imbalances contributed to Brittney’s depression. During that initial consultation, though, Brittney needed fast relief. We used these nine strategies to alleviate her symptoms and improve her mood: