Top 5 Alternative Methods for Treating Depression and Warding Off Mental Illness

When most of us experience depression, our doctor’s rush to prescribe us an anti-depressant (Usually, an SSRI). While antidepressants can be great at helping us when we’re in crisis, it’s important to know that their efficacy tends to wane over time.

Many antidepressants also have their fair share of side-effects that make weighing the cost/benefits associated with using a pharmalogical intervention challenging. With this in mind, many of us who experience depression go in search of effective alternative methods of treatment.

As someone who has battled depression and suicidal ideations multiple times over the course of the last 2 decades, here’s my list of the top alternative methods for treating depression and warding off mental illness.

Alternative Method #1: The Pill of Prevention

A major key to maintaining mental health and treating depression is to understand that there’s no “magic” pill that can work for everyone, all the time.Therefore, it’s best to focus on lifestyle interventions that can be made more than “quick-fix” medical interventions.

For many of us, the reason why we’re depressed in the first place comes with a host of lifestyle choices and circumstances that are most likely working together to contribute to our depression. If we don’t deal with those lingering lifestyle factors and soley rely on a “magic” pill to heal us, we will only suffer further let-down when our mood/lives don’t magically change.

When we couple a good antidepressant with a healthy/honest assessment of the lifestyle factors that are playing a role in why we’re depressed, our chances of gradually relieving our depression greatly improves.

So long as, our only goal is focused on feeling or not feeling a certain way, rather than, equipping ourselves with every resource possible to improve our situation, our chance of yo-yo-ing in and out of depression becomes more likely. The frequency in which we slip into depression will have a negative impact on our ability to function and the quality of our lives.

I refer to this as “the pill of prevention.”

Ask yourself, what lifestyle changes can I make to change my current circumstances and improve my life?

Never underestimate how small changes can make a big difference!

Focus On Your Sphere of Responsibility

A Word of Caution: When focusing on making lifestyle changes to help relieve your depression, it’s best to focus on things within your sphere of influence and responsibility. It’s a fools errand to focus on changing things that are ultimately outside the realm of your personal control. Other people are not within our realm of control, and trying to control things outside of our control will only exacerbate our frustrations.

We cannot control how others behave and interact with us, but we CAN control who we choose to interact with. If/when possible, we need to stop associating with people who impact our mental health negatively.

Alternative Method #2: The End of Mental Illness by Dr. Amen

This book is a must have for anyone dealing with depression or knows someone who struggles with mental illness.

Daniel Amen’s book The End of Mental Illnesshe details the 11 BRIGHT MINDS risk factors that hi-jack your mind and can increase mental illness, including depression. BRIGHT MINDS stands for:

B is for Blood flow

R is for Retirement/Aging

I is for Inflammation

G is for Genetics

H is for Head Trauma

T is for Toxins.

M is for Mind-Storms

I is for Immunity and Infections

N is for Neurohormones

D is for Diabesity

S is for Sleep

In The End of Mental Illness, you will learn how to prevent, treat, or minimize your risk factors to help soothe depression and other mental health issues. You can also watch this video for more information on how the BRIGHT MINDS risk factors impact depression and what you can do about them.

Alternative Method #3: Nutrition/Nutraceuticals

Our 3rd alternative method to treat depression is nutrition and nutraceuticals.

As someone who has combat related PTSD and Bipolar 1 disorder, I’ve written extensively on the resources I’ve used to go from disorder to INorder.

In my experience, the most impactful resources and methods for treating my mania or depression have been simple lifestyle changes like hydrating, getting natural sunlight, practicing good sleep hygiene, and using the keto-genic diet as a mood stabilizer.

SInce our brains are aproximately 85% water, hydration plays a huge role in how our brains function.


“A lot of people don’t know the brain is 85% water, so anything that dehydrates you like caffeine or alcohol is bad for the brain.”

-Dr. Daniel Amen

The first thing we should drink each morning shouldn’t be coffee, it should be water. I personally consume no-less-than 64 ounces of water per day. I do consume my keto coffee around 11am (based on my chronotype), but I make sure to consume water after I do.

After water, most of our brains density is from fat, so it’s imperative for us to consume healthy fats to feed our brain what it needs.

Healthy Fats/Keto

I’m a huge fan of the keto-genic diet!

The Keto-genic diet is a low-carb, high (healthy) fat diet that helps you lose weight quicker by getting your body to go into what’s called ketosis. In simple terms, ketosis is what happens when you starve your body of carbs and feed it a surplus of healthy fats.

When you’re in ketosis, your body transitions from using carbs as its energy source and starts using your excess fat as your bodies’ fuel source. The bi-product of this process is the production of ketones, and ketones are a far superior energy source than carbs are.


In terms of energy storage yields among sugar, carbs, protein, and fat, it doesn’t even come close! Fat is 5.6x better than protein as an energy source.

My two favorite means of consuming healthy fats are avocados and omega 3’s. You can get omega 3’s from salmon, or you can take supplements.

The supplements I recommend for mood support are the ones produced by BrainMd. Their Omega-3 Power blend works wonders!


Nutraceticals is a scientific/fancy way to describe natural supplements. When it comes to natural supplements that help improve our moods and treat depression, it’s best to evaluate/use nutraceuticals that have A-level or B-level scientific evidence. Naturally, A-level is best.

A-level scientific testing means there’s robust amount of research has been conducted with more than 2 placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials.

B-level research means there are multiple studies where at least 2 are placebo-controlled, double-blind studies. Among A and B-level research, the most well-studied supplements/nutraceuticals for mood are:

  • Saffron: Boasts of more than 20 studies showing the nutraceutical saffron is more effective than placebo and equal to the antidepressants Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, and imipramine for treating depression.
  • Curcumin: Studies have found that curcumin—not as turmeric root but as Longvida, which is much more efficiently absorbed—helps with depression.
  • Zinc: A review of the existing studies suggests potential benefits of zinc supplementation—as citrate or glycinate—either as a stand-alone therapy or as an adjunct to antidepressants for depression.

Alternative Method #4: Bio-rhythm/Sleep

Having a good morning routine is a great way to improve productivity and get your days started off on the right foot. As is often said, “if you can win the morning, you can win the day.” To great entent, this is true.

However, it’s important to know that the quality of your mornings are dictacted to a large extent by the quality of sleep you got the night before.

I witnessed a huge improvement in mood regulation when I discovered my chronotype and began organizing my life around my internal clock (bio-rhythm). Knowing your individual chronotype/bio-rhythm will help you make powerful micro-adjustments to your daily routine.

The Power of When by Micahel Breus, PhD.

In treating depression or any mental illness, self-awareness is key. Knowing how our minds/bodies work is vital to acheiving and maintaining mental health. I’m very bullish about the book, The Power of When by Michael Breus, PhD. for this reason.

Having the self-awareness of knowing what your individual chronotype is (I’m a Wolf), empowers you to start syncing the affairs of your life with your internal clock. By doing so, you will witness your productivity greatly increase while working in unison with your personal bio-rhythm.

“When” is the ultimate lifehack. It’s the foundation of success, the key that unlocks a faster, smarter, better, and stronger you. Knowing “when” enables you to perform “what” and “how” to your maximum potential.”

-Michael Breus, PhD.

Most of us, when we start making lifestyle changes, we focus on what to do and how to do it, but we overlook one of the most important steps in the process… WHEN to do it!

Discover Your Chronotype

Knowing when to sleep and how much sleep you need to get each night according to your chronotype is paramount to helping treat depression and ward off mental illness. In many ways, the quality of our days is dictated by the quality of our sleep.

What’s your chronotype?

Take the FREE chronotype quiz HERE.

Discover your chronotype and learn the best time to sleep, eat lunch, ask for a raise, have sex, write a novel, take your meds, and more!

Alternative Method #5: Know Your Genetic Make-up/Personality Type

In maintaining mental health or treating any mental illness, self-awareness is like a super-power. Knowing your genetic make-up, the way you’re wired, your bio-rhythm, and your personality type are all great ways to cultivate deep self-awareness.

Having a decent understanding of your genetic make-up will help you understand the genetic pre-dispositions you need to be aware of and deal with. With that said, it’s important to know that you’re not a slave to your genes, or your genetic pre-dispositions.


For instance, having a long-line of alcoholics in your family-line is helpful to know so you can be on-gaurd when it comes to how you consume alcohol. If you’re someone that struggles with being able to have a drink or two and not feel the need to get drunk, it may be best for you to not drink alcohol, at all.

Also, self-medicating with alcohol is one of the top reasons why people struggle with mental illness. Not only does alcohol act as a depressant, but it counter-acts medication, dehydrates the brain, and damages/destroys healthy brain cells.


With all of this said, it’s important to know that aware of your genetic make-up shouldn’t be taken to an unhealthy extreme. The field of epigenetics (above genes) proves that’s it’s possible to regulate your genetic markers with healthy lifestyle changes.

For more information on epigenetics and the healthy lifestyle changes you can make to overcome, or operate above your genes, I recommend that you read, The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton, You Are the Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenza, and watch the Heal Documentary.

Your Personality Type: 16 Personalities

The self-awareness associated with knowing your personality type is far-reaching. From creating better friendships, to finding your soul-mate, to sticking to your health goals, and even maintaining mental health, knowing your specific personality type is extremely helpful in navigating the world.

I recommend that you use 16 Personalities. My personality type is a ENTP. How about you (Let me know in the comments below)?

For a more in-depth understanding of the 16 personalies methodology and framework, read THIS.

Understanding your personality type will give you understanding about how your mind works. Mood is a facet of personality because our pre-dominant mood is what drives our personality.

Armed with this information, we can make intelligent decisions about how to change our mindsets, interact with others, improve our relationships, and make informed career choices.

Check out these cool ways you can use knowing your personality type to improve your life:

Read: What Is Personality Typology and Why Does It Matter?

Read: What’s My Ideal Romantic Personality Type Match?

Read: Is There an Ideal Career for My Personality Type?

Let me know in the comments below what your personality type is. Also share with me what alternative methods for treating depression have worked best for you. If you like this kind of content and would like to receive more like this direct to your inbox, make sure to subscribe/follow.

Don’t Be Shy!

I’d love to hear from you! If you have questions, would just like to say hi, or have a good joke to share with me, feel free to reach out to me at When time permits, I personally respond to each and every email I receive.

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