Depression Treatment Without Medication: 10 Holistic Ways to Overcome Depression

It’s estimated that approximately 21 million in the United States experience depression in some form; either they have a disorder or have a major depressive episode. 

As an illness, depression is characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and generally feeling empty inside. Depression is treatable, and many depressed people take antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to manage their symptoms. But there are ways to fight depression without going on medication.

At Luxe Recovery LA, we use a variety of methods, both clinical and alternative, to help people overcome issues with their mental health, substance use, and process addictions.

Can You Treat Depression Without Medication?

It is possible to manage depression without having to go on medication. However, it should be noted that people with severe depression may find it challenging to treat their symptoms without antidepressant medication.

That said, there are several clinical therapies, alternative therapies, and lifestyle habits that a person can turn to to manage depression symptoms without taking a single pill.

Clinical Options for Depression Treatment

Many psychotherapy approaches can be used as treatments for depression and mental health problems without having to turn to medications. Some of the therapies that can help people overcome depression without medication include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a form of therapy that helps patients identify, address, and ultimately change negative thought patterns (cognitive distortions) that may contribute to episodes of depression.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with concepts such as mindfulness and acceptance. DBT is often used for treating depression and other mood disorders.

Non-Clinical Therapies to Fight Depression

Other than clinical therapies, several alternative therapies can help in the treatment of depression. Some alternative treatments for depression include:  

Art Therapy

Art therapy is a form of therapy that uses the process of creating art to support a person’s mental health. The idea behind it is that a person can use art as an outlet for their thoughts and feelings.

Music Therapy

Music therapy is a practice that uses music to address individuals’ physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. 

A trained music therapist uses interventions such as playing instruments, singing, composing, and listening to music to help clients improve their mental health.

It is used in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, schools, and treatment centers, to support a wide range of health issues like anxiety and depression.


Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique involving the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. It can treat depression by stimulating the central nervous system, which releases endorphins to enhance mood, manage stress, and promote overall well-being.


Mindfulness is the practice of being in the moment. It essentially means paying attention to the present moment without worrying about anything outside of it.

Being mindful of the present moment can prevent negative thoughts. Mindfulness can also foster self-acceptance, enhance emotional regulation, and promote a sense of calm.

Lifestyle Changes to Treat Depression Without Antidepressant Medication

There are also ways to reduce depression that can complement therapy. Some lifestyle changes can help people combat depression. Some habits that can help manage depression include: 

Get Enough Sleep

People who do not get enough sleep can become more irritable and less emotionally resilient, in addition to physical complications such as increased blood pressure and cognitive impairment. Because of this, good sleep hygiene is crucial to support overall well-being.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Food can directly impact a person’s mood. Beyond boosting a person’s mood with their favorite meals, a person’s diet can directly impact their health. While most people can intuit that a healthy diet can affect a person’s physical health, it can also have mental health benefits. 

Food rich in omega-3 fats, such as fish and nuts, can reduce the symptoms of depression.

Alcohol is a depressant, and while some people may drink to deal with depression, alcohol can worsen depression symptoms as well as affect sleep quality.

Exercise Regularly

Exercising regularly is good for physical health, which can trigger depression in some people. It can also boost mood by releasing endorphins. Exercising regularly doesn’t mean running 10 miles daily or doing 200 squats. A person can start slow, such as taking walks outside.

Get Outside

Speaking of taking walks outside, many people who experience the symptoms of depression can see improvement with exposure to sunshine and fresh air. Exposure to sunlight can be particularly beneficial for those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that is linked to reduced sunlight during the winter months.

Why Would Someone Want to Treat the Symptoms of Depression Without Medication?


While rare, some people can be allergic to antidepressants. Because of this, taking medication may not be an option, not without risking anaphylactic shock.

Risk of Dependence

A major reason why people may not want to go on medication to treat depression is that they worry that they may become dependent on it. Some people would rather not feel as if they need to take a pill to function properly.

Aversion to Side Effects

One of the side effects of long-term SSRI use is weight gain. While weight gain is not necessarily bad, some people may not want to gain weight as they may prefer their bodies to look a certain way for personal or professional reasons. 

Some people may also have conditions such as diabetes or hypertension that can be complicated by gaining weight, and they would rather avoid that.

We’ll Explore All Avenues to Help Manage and Treat Depression

Medication can help people manage mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. However, the people who struggle with these disorders can have different treatment needs. While medication can be an effective method for treating depression, it won’t work for everyone.

At Luxe Recovery LA, we use personalized treatment plans and employ clinical and holistic methods to help those who come to us. Contact us now, and we can begin exploring ways to treat depression.

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