Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Make sure you understand the risks as well as possible benefits if you pursue alternative or complementary therapy. Don't replace conventional medical treatment or psychotherapy with alternative medicine. When it comes to depression, alternative treatments aren't a substitute for professional care.

Dietary supplements aren't monitored by the Food and Drug Administration the same way medications are. You can't always be certain of what you're getting and whether it's safe. Also, because some herbal and dietary supplements can interfere with prescription medications or cause dangerous interactions, talk with your health care provider before taking any supplements.

Mind-body connections

Complementary and alternative medicine practitioners believe the mind and body must be in harmony for you to stay healthy. Examples of mind-body techniques that may be helpful for depression include acupuncture, relaxation techniques, exercise and spirituality.

Relying solely on these therapies is generally not enough to treat depression. However, they may be helpful when used in addition to medication and psychotherapy.

Sept. 17, 2015