The latest results from the Australian Psychological Society Stress and Wellbeing in Australia Survey revealed that 26 percent of Australians suffer from symptoms of moderate to severe depression, the prevalence having increased significantly since their inaugural survey performed five years earlier. As such, updated clinical guidelines from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry couldn’t have come at a more welcomed time. Excitingly, these guidelines which are touted as providing the most up-to-date evidence available internationally for the treatment of mood disorders, included positive recommendations for six complementary therapies. Specifically, they concluded:
• Omega-3 fatty acids may alleviate depressive symptoms in milder cases of major depression and bipolar depression when used alongside prescription medication.
• N-acetyl cysteine appears to have some symptom reduction efficacy in bipolar depression at a dose of 1.0 g twice daily, and possibly in major depression.
• St John’s Wort demonstrates similar efficacy to SSRIs in mild to moderate-major depression.
• Folate (including 5-methyltetrahydrofolate), S-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe) and zinc may assist with depressive symptoms when used as an adjunct to prescription medications.
Whilst the benefits described are relatively modest, this is a positive step to facilitate an allied relationship between Natural Healthcare Practitioners and mental health specialists such as Psychologists and Psychiatrists to gain greater traction in helping our patients to turn their frown upside down.