Two of my friends recently stated that they took 5 HTP for depression, while both used the exact same words testifying to its effectiveness. "It changed my life", is what each said. I took note. I am not a fan of pharmaceuticals, however, both friends, touted 5 HTP as a natural supplement. How could I not take note, when two people, whose opinion I value, who don't even know each other, both made the claim "It changed my life"?
These things are of great interest to me.
I have certainly been depressed in the past, and rightfully so. I've experienced great pain and great losses, usually stemming from being in abusive relationships. So there were times that I did exhibit symptoms of depression, although I did not realize it at the time.
Denial Instead of Depression?
However, usually, in those relationships, rather than become depressed, I would otherwise gravitate to a state of denial. In a state of denial, I could basically pretended that my current state was okay. When I preferred not to think about my current state, I was able to remain hopeful.
I would eventually free myself of an abusive relationship, only to find myself in another. I had developed an unhealthy pattern, and one that continued until I finally fixed my thinking on that matter. But that is another story.
Had I known that a natural 'cure' for depression was available, might I have taken it? I wonder, then, however, would taking the pill have made me feel good about my life and my situation, on some false pretense? Would this 'happy pill', whether natural or chemical, cause me to stay in a bad relationship where I was undervalued, while making me somehow still 'happy'?
Do Depressing Thoughts Make A Person Depressed?
Don't one's thoughts or thought patterns determine whether he or she will be happy? Does a positive thinker develop depression? Does a positive thinking person produce more serotonin to his or her brain? Well, although you don't hear much about that, this article from Psychology Today says so.
And if all of this is true, why isn't there more focus on retraining the thought patterns of depressed persons, instead of trying to figure out which drug they might work for them?
While I grapple with issues and topics like these, for now, I'll simply look at what I might find out about 5 HTP for depression and anxiety and save the other questions for another day.
A Naturally Derived Substance
What is it? Is it really natural? By definition, "5 HTP is a naturally-occurring substance derived from the seed pods of Griffonia simplicifolia, a West African medicinal plant." Claims are also made that it aids with general mood, anxiety, insomnia, weight loss, PMS, Chronic headaches, migranes and fibromyalgia.
In European countries, it may also be called Cincofarm, Levothym, Levotonine, Oxyfan, Telesol, Tript-OH, and Triptum.
As far as 5 HTP for depression, while it has shown promise as a treatment for mood disorders and insomnia, the side effects, interactions with other drugs should be studied. As well, unfortunately, studies proving it's effectiveness treating depression are lacking. Of course, that doesn't mean it's ineffective. It might just mean that it is not studied enough.
However, it does show that melanin and serotonin are increased with 5 HTP, it decreases other important neurotransmitters. So the initial results could be temporary.
Possibly Good for a Temporary Fix
My one friend in particular goes on and off of it as needed. I do, essentially, like that idea. I have always wondered why, when people see a professional for depression, do they diagnose and say "You have depression" rather than "You are in a depressed state right now". In my own opinion, it would be better to help ease them out of their depression, and view it as a temporary state, rather than label them as "depressed" and try to find a pharmaceutical that they can remain on indefinitely.
In any case, whether you need medication or supplements temporarily or long-term, it is important to do as much research as you can.
For depression, you can always start by trying natural cures.
Take a look at these 10 foods that fight depression.
Or try these supplements that may help.
Stanford researchers find that nature is a wonderful prescription for depression.
Personally, I can attest to this. I can barely wait until our upcoming camping trip wherein we will be smack dab in the middle of nature for five full days and nights.
As well, try some sunshine to fight depression. We don't need to avoid the sun at all cost, but we do need to respect it's power.
You may be able to start to feel better today, by doing this 1 thing that will improve your mood. My husband and I are bird watchers and I can definitely say that it improves our moods when we watch our feathered friends.
These are just a few of the many proven ways to try to reduce depression and feel better, but there are more.
I do believe that happy people aren't hoarding some secret that we're not telling you about. Happy people are merely the ones who get out there, enjoy life, laugh, live, respect their bodies and their surroundings, and free themselves from abusive relationships and set boundaries around unhealthy ones.
If you have battled depression or anxiety naturally, or if you have any comments or suggestions about this article, we would love to hear from you. Please comment below.