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Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health issues in the United States. Many people will visit a doctor or psychiatrist to get help for these problems. Prescriptions are written and medications are taken, but there has to be another way to treat such a prevalent issue. Knowing the ways to treat anxiety and depression without medication can be very beneficial, allowing people to overcome these issues without the risk of becoming dependant on pills. 

The NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) estimates that 18 million adults had at least one major depressive episode last year, that’s 7% of the US population. The World Health Organization states there are 350 million people worldwide who suffer from depression. Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the US. It affects 40 million adults in the US over the age of 18, nearly 20% of the population. Only 37% of these people receive treatment, the other 63% are left to cope with their issues alone.

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Treat Anxiety and depression without medication

When someone visits a doctor’s office to receive help for their anxiety issues, chances are they will leave that appointment with some type of medication. The most commonly prescribed medications to help treat anxiety are benzodiazepines like Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, Valium and Librium. These medications have a very high risk of abuse and physical dependence. Finding ways to treat depression and anxiety without medication will eliminate the chance of the person becoming hooked. Over the past 10 years, natural ways to treat depression and anxiety have become increasingly popular. Millions of people who try these approaches see improvement in a very small period of time. As long as they continue to work toward a better life they will consistently see positive results.

While there are hundreds of things one can do throughout the week to help them cope with anxiety and depression, there are three that stand out more than others. These techniques can be done by anyone, anywhere and cost nothing. These free ways to treat these mental health issues are extremely beneficial to improving one’s overall quality of life, in more ways than one.  Here are three great ways to treat depression and anxiety without medication.

Meditation

Meditation is making a resurgence as a practical tool used to help people cope with life and everything that comes with it. It has been proven that meditation helps reduce stress, improves concentration, encourages a healthy lifestyle, increases self-awareness and increases happiness. If you are new to meditating, start with guided meditation. There are hundreds of thousands of guided meditation audio tracks available on YouTube for free. They are anywhere from 2 minutes to an hour long. Find somewhere comfortable and quiet in your house, some people like to sit in their car and do it before starting their drive to work. Whatever works, just set a few minutes aside for it each day!

Don’t get discouraged in the beginning, it can take some time for your brain to slow down. Just like anything, the more you practice it the better you will get. Start small, maybe a 5-10 minute session to start off. Before you know it you’ll be doing 30 minutes with ease. You will see an overall improvement in your quality of life after just a few sessions.

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Exercise

Everyone knows that exercising on a regular basis is good for the body, but it is also one of the most effective ways to improve one’s mental health. Regular exercise can have a huge positive impact on depression and anxiety. It relieves stress, improves memory, helps one sleep better and just boosts overall mood. You don’t need a gym membership to exercise, you also don’t need to take an hour out of your day to do it. 15-30 minutes of exercise is extremely beneficial.

Studies show that exercise can treat depression as effectively as an antidepressant medication, but without any of the harmful side effects. Exercise is a great natural way to deal with depression and anxiety. It promotes a variety of changes within one’s brain, including; neural growth, reduces inflammation, releases of dopamine (a natural reward chemical) it even creates new patterns within the brain that help promote calm feelings and a sense of wellbeing. Exercising a few times a week will help relieve tension and stress, will boost physical and mental energy and release endorphins (the brain’s way of telling you “job well done”)

A Healthy diet

Even though it is often overlooked, diet plays a huge role in depression and anxiety. Whatever food we put into our body’s literally becomes part of us. Eating right can become hard, you may find yourself rushing around all day to get the job done. Fast food is convenient, that’s obvious, but it’s terrible for you in more ways than one. Super fatty foods, sugary sweets, salty chips and other foods like this greatly impact one’s mood and energy levels throughout the day. Eating better foods like fresh fruits, eggs, lean proteins, veggies, chicken, turkey and whole grains can make a huge difference in one’s day to day quality of life.

While healthy foods aren’t as convenient as some other foods, they aren’t as expensive as you might think. Look up some healthy recipes online that spark your interest and get your mouth salivating. Dieting doesn’t need to be a miserable experience, there are a plethora of healthy foods out there for everyone, find what you like! You don’t need to cut out all sodas and burgers overnight, but try and get there. You will notice a big difference in a short amount of time. This is an extremely effective way to treat anxiety and depression without medication.