What Are The Natural Cures For Depression?

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated August 16, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Content Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that could be triggering to the reader. Please see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

Everyone feels sad every now and again. Usually, these periods don’t last too long, but if you’re experiencing significant feelings of sadness that bring you down for more than two weeks at a time, there might be something more to it. Mental health disorders, like depression, are common but manageable conditions. Although many people choose to seek treatment for depression, the way they go about it can vary. Some people prefer talk therapy, while others prefer medication, and still, others rely on natural remedies—or even a combination of two of these depression treatment methods. Here, we’ll take a closer look at depression, some natural depression treatment options you can try to help you cope with your symptoms, and what you can do if these natural depression cures just aren’t working.

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Are Natural Cures For Depression Not Improving Your Symptoms?

What Is Depression?

Depression is a common but serious mood disorder characterized by having some of the following symptoms for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks: 

  • Feeling anxious, sad, or empty
  • Feeling pessimistic or hopeless
  • Feeling frustrated, irritable, or restless
  • Feeling a sense of guilt, helplessness, or worthlessness
  • Losing interest in hobbies and activities that once brought pleasure
  • Having fatigue or less energy
  • Having difficulty remembering, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Having changes in sleep patterns, including oversleeping or early morning awakening
  • Having changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes
  • Experiencing health consequences like aches, pains, cramps, headaches, or digestive issues without a clear physical cause that do not ease with treatment
  • Alcohol abuse, or regularly drinking large amount of alcohol 
  • Drug abuse  
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Suicide attempts

If you have been contemplating suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling or texting 988. Someone is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to give you the support you need.

Natural Remedies For Depression

Some studies suggest that various lifestyle modifications, like changing the foods you eat, can help manage depression symptoms, particularly when used with more conventional therapies, like medication and therapy. Here are some of the different types of things you can try on your own that may help you cope. 


Exercise releases endorphins, which is a type of brain chemical that can relieve the symptoms of depression and decrease stress and anxiety. Swimming, power walking, and hiking are all potential ways you can get up and get moving. You could also try something different, like dancing, jumping on a trampoline, or pickleball. Any physical activity that keeps you active can be beneficial in staving off the negative effects of depression.

Avoid Caffeine

Research about how caffeine affects depression has mixed findings, but if you’re particularly sensitive to caffeine, evidence suggests that it may contribute to your depression symptoms. Caffeine can make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, and if you’re experiencing sleep disruptions as a depression symptom, drinking caffeinated beverages could make these disruptions worse. If you’re having symptoms of anxiety along with your depressive symptoms, caffeine can also make anxiety symptoms worse, as it acts as a central nervous system stimulant in the body.

However, stopping cold turkey may lead to some unwanted effects and make things harder, too. Instead, try to slowly reduce the amount of caffeine in your diet to avoid withdrawal effects like irritability, fatigue, and headaches.

Go Outside


More and more research keeps coming out about how sunlight exposure does many great things for your body and brain including boosting your mood by elevating serotonin levels and improving sleep by encouraging the body to produce more melatonin at night. Getting outside can look different for everyone. You might choose to grill on the porch, sunbathe by the pool (with plenty of sunscreen), or take a walk around your neighborhood with your children. 

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep can be challenging part of life for people with depression, and developing a healthy sleep routine may feel impossible. Still, sleep is important, and getting enough rest may improve your mental and physical health.

Avoid using your laptop, tablet, or smartphone in the hours before bedtime. Keep light and noise out of your bedroom as much as possible, and make sure it’s a comfortable temperature. If you’re still wide awake at bedtime, try doing something relaxing, like practicing yoga or taking a warm bath. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and avoid napping, as it can throw off your sleep cycle.

Dietary Supplements

Some natural supplements, like St. John’s Wort, vitamin D, folic acid, omega 3 fatty acids, and fish oil, may help ease the symptoms of depression. There is a risk that some of these may interfere with prescription medication or decrease the effectiveness of other drugs you’re taking, so talk to your doctor before taking any dietary supplement. Further, be aware of any potential side effects before starting to take something new.

Treatment For Depression

These natural treatments for depression symptoms may ease depression for some people, but if you are experiencing moderate to severe depression and these lifestyle changes don’t seem to be enough, it’s important to remember that you do not have to deal with being depressed on your own. 

Therapy with a licensed and trained mental health professional can help you unpack your feelings and develop coping mechanisms and tools that you can use to manage your depression symptoms. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy, but one popular and effective method for treating depression is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. In this form of talk therapy, your therapist can help you reframe your thoughts and develop a positive alternative to the story you tell yourself. 

A doctor or psychiatrist may also recommend prescription drugs as another treatment option. Working with a team of professionals, you can come up with a treatment plan that is effective for your needs and situation.

Online Therapy With BetterHelp

Are Natural Cures For Depression Not Improving Your Symptoms?

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression and natural interventions don’t seem to be helping, remember that it is okay to get additional help and emotional support. Finding a therapist can feel overwhelming, but the availability of resources like BetterHelp has made the process easier and more convenient. If you are experiencing depression symptoms and are tired, anxious, or struggling to find the motivation to get out of bed, online therapy can connect you with a therapist from the comfort of your own home. You can message your therapist at any time and book your appointments when it’s convenient for you.

The Efficacy Of Online Therapy 

Online therapy has been proven to be just as, if not more, effective than in-person therapy. One study found that a multimodal digital psychotherapy intervention effectively decreased the number of symptoms of depression those participating in the study were experiencing. In addition, participants also saw a reduction in the severity of their symptoms.  


Many natural treatments can help alleviate depression symptoms, including getting more exercise, establishing a healthy sleep schedule, spending more time in the sun, and more. However, for people with moderate or severe depression, these interventions might not be enough, and that’s okay. Other treatment options are available and may work more effectively for different people. Online mental health care providers can provide support and advice as you work to find a treatment plan that successfully manages your symptoms of depression. 

Depression is treatable, and you're not alone

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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