Alternative Remedies

Much has been made over the existence of nutritional or herbal supplements and how they can treat depression as well as medications. While some people will tell you that these supplements work wonders, not much is known about how these work with children. These supplements will be discussed, but a word of caution must be issued. Do not use these substances with your child unless you have talked with her physician first.

St. John's Wort

St. John's Wort is likely an herbal remedy you have heard about in magazines. In Germany, this is an extremely popular treatment for depression. The research is contradictory about whether this remedy is successful.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B has an important role in a well-running central nervous system. A deficiency in vitamin B can cause depression. That's why some people turn to taking vitamin B with the hope that their symptoms will go away.


Do you remember your grandmother touting the benefits of cod-liver oil? Yuck! But it just so happens that there is an element in cod-liver oil that actually helps develop and maintain brain cells. It's called omega-3. Again, the jury is out as to whether it really helps with depression.


Probably the most reliable alternative remedy is 5-HTP, which is short for 5-hydroxy-l-tryptophan. It is actually an amino acid found in the body that gets converted to serotonin in the brain. If the appropriate dosage can be determined, studies show that many report a significant lessening in depressive symptomatology.


Do not give your child 5-HTP if he is already taking an antidepressant. Doing so increases the likelihood of a severe reaction. If you insist on using unconventional methods to treat your child's depression, work with someone who is knowledgeable about alternative medicines, appropriate dosages, and other related issues.

Alternative remedies can work, but don't give them so much credit that you overlook the more traditional medicines available that are positively known to treat depression. Less is known about how these remedies work with children, so that is a reason to be even more careful when considering the alternative route.

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