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St. John's Wort or 5HTP for Dh depression?

(13 Posts)
Exceptionalroar Thu 17-Oct-13 18:34:55

I really believe my DH has depression. He has agreed to try St Johns wort or 5HTP.

Any suggestions about what's better?


LEMisdisappointed Thu 17-Oct-13 18:44:35

Neither - if he has depression then he needs to see a doctor, get some counselling and some proper medication. Both of the things that you mention work on the seretonin system in the brain and are not without side effects of their own. 5HTP is present in chocolate and is a pre-cursor to seretonin but whether it actually gets to the brain, where it needs to be, is questionable. The real problem however is if and when he does go to the doctors, both of those herbal remedies will interfere with and delay the most commonly prescribed anti-depressants.

I would say if you are wanting to take a more natural approach he should consider eating a balanced healthy diet and exercising - both shown to improve mood and genuinely help with depression and anxiety.

I speak as someone who has suffered long term anxiety and i genuinely think that mental health is something you shouldn't mess with and wouldn't touch those remedies with a bargepole. Sorry if that isn't helpful.

It is really difficult when someone you care about is depressed, you want to help but it is really hard - you sound like a loving partner and supportive, that in itself will make such a difference.

EugenesAxe Thu 17-Oct-13 18:48:13

If there's a possibility he could have SADS, my DH has noticed a definite improvement in his MH (sleep, energy levels etc) the day after he uses his light box. They are quite cheap.

LEM sounds like she (I presume) knows her stuff though in respect of the actual meds. I think the exercise suggestion is good.

Exceptionalroar Thu 17-Oct-13 19:18:55

I do agree and I totally appreciate the advice - but neither of us are into taking ADs and I have tried. He does exercise - football - but he likes his drink and although he eats what I cook - and I am very healthy - he eats crap at work or when lot with me.

It's such a huge step to even get him to acknowledge this. It makes me tearful even writing this. I can't bear his pervasive low moods that are with us all the time

NotQuiteCockney Thu 17-Oct-13 19:21:44

I've heard good things about vitamin D, if it might be time-of-year related.

If he wouldn't take ADs, then how about talking therapy? I gather recent studies have shown it is more effective than ADs anyway.

I would be very nervous about self-diagnosing and self-treating with herbal remedies for depression. What makes these any better than traditional ADs?

LEMisdisappointed Thu 17-Oct-13 19:23:52

It does sound like he has acknowledged there is a problem though. I would honestly much rather have ADs that have been subject to precise research and contain only the things that are needed to work on the specific receptors than something like St Johns wort that has all the other stuff in it.

Has he considered counselling at all? He does have to take responsibility himself at the end of the day, nothing will help if he wont engage with it.

Hard for you all, i really hope you get something sorted. Alcohol of course could be a massive contributory factor.

Exceptionalroar Thu 17-Oct-13 19:56:23

He did have therapy years ago, when we met - I sort of stirred him out of something. He went for 2 years but it was psychoanalytical and it got to a point of natural end

It's so hard. It wears me down. At the heart of it is that hea stuck in life and unfulfilled. i have tried for years to encourage change and he wants but fear or whatever stops him. We young children who we both absolutely adore and we love much of family life but I despair at his ups and downs. I have my own stuff but much more proactive way of handling it. Sometimes, increasingly more often. I wonder if we will make it.

Sorry - that's a real brain dump and totally off thread sad

Exceptionalroar Thu 17-Oct-13 19:57:07

Sorry, on iPhone so lots of mistakes

LEMisdisappointed Thu 17-Oct-13 20:16:55

Its not offthread though - it is very relevant because you are right - it takes it toll on those who love people with this illness. It certainly nearly ended my relationship with DP and i think it pushed him into a depression of his own. You are not a saint, you are a human being who needs to feel loved and not dragged down by someone else. Have you told him how his moods make you feel?

There are other therapies out there, CBT helps with changing your outlook to something more positive and taking control of and changing the way you react to things. It is less based on trying to analyse why he feels like shit but rather changing how he deals with it. His doctor can refer him for this sort of therapy.

Why do you not like the idea of ADs? have you had a bad experience?

Exceptionalroar Thu 17-Oct-13 20:35:08

I've had CBT and wasn't entirely sure about it. I found the side effects of ADs unpleasant - but I have encouraged him to try because he may not experience them. I know lots of friends who have had their lives changed by ADs.

He knows exactly how I feel. We are currently experiencing a lot of conflict because I am so fed up with how stuck and down he is. But what I want for him is irelevant. It's not even that relevant what he wants - what really matters is whether he can push himself to make change.That's the bit I doubt after all this time. But how can you convey that to someone you love without filling them with horror that you've lost faith?! The dilemma.

LEMisdisappointed Fri 18-Oct-13 18:29:04

It is difficult i agree, but you cannot allow him to drag you down with him. May i ask how long you were on the ADs for? To be fair they have turned things around for me, not so much with depression, i think you have to work through that yourself once you have got on an even keel but for anxiety which i accept will probalby always be an issue for me.

Coupon Fri 18-Oct-13 21:10:55

There are various different ADs, and someone might have side-effects from some but not others. It will really vary for everyone and it's worth persisting to find the best one.

cocoleBOO Fri 18-Oct-13 21:17:35

I would try the St Johns Wort, but like the others I think he should go to the dr for medication. Anti depressants aren't the life long addictive drugs that they used to be.

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