Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Alternative Treatments for Mood Disorders

With the days growing shorter here in Seattle, it's hard not to notice the way the changing seasons can affect one's mood. Coupled with the recent terrible financial crisis news, there's lots of grist out there for anxiety's and depression's mill.

I've also been thinking about the growing numbers of people who have been laid off (or are due to be laid off) from their jobs, and will be going without health insurance. Without such insurance, the cost of psychopharmacological interventions can be prohibitive. With that in mind, here are a few ideas for (potentially) lower cost alternatives:

Light Therapy: Long recommended as a treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), there is growing evidence (as in this meta-analysis by Gjerdingen) that it can be effective for treating antenatal and postpartum mood disorders. And while phototherapy equipment isn't cheap (I think they go for $250, or thereabouts), it's still less expensive than a month-long trip to Hawaii (which, in my opinion, the government should subsidize for us in the far northern reaches of the U.S., don't you agree?)

Massage Therapy: Gjerdingen also points out that massage therapy has been effective in reducing stress and anxiety symptoms in teenage mothers (a notoriously stressed-out group). Yes, massage therapy can become pricey quickly. It's worth asking at your local massage school or community college about their rates for student massages. (Many charge little or nothing at all in exchange for helping out a massage student.)

Yoga: I've written lots about yoga's beneficial effects on anxiety and depression in this blog. Please see my previous posts for evidence of its efficacy, and particular poses to try for various mood problems.

I'm sure lots of you have ideas about inexpensive ways of coping when mood problems set in. You are welcome to post them in the comments section, so we may all learn from each other's experience and wisdom.

1 comment:

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