Posted by Fiona Cole on June 20, 2011
Making the choice to take antidepressant medication is a complicated issue. It is difficult enough to know whether it is the right choice for you, but even more troubling is the possibility that the pills might not do what they are supposed to do.
One of the many problems associated with antidepressant medication is that, for many people, the medication simply does not work — and in some cases, it can make a situation even worse. Research shows that 70 percent of those suffering from major depression, the most serious form of depression, do not respond sufficiently to one medication.
Now, a recent study has demonstrated that adding a vitamin supplement to an antidepressant regimen can greatly increase the chances that the medication will have a positive effect. The focus of the study was an active metabolite, known as L-methyl folate, which was used in conjunction with the group of antidepressant medications known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
L-methyl folate plays an important part in the modulation of the levels of chemical messengers in the brain, such as serotonin and norepinephrine. These chemical messengers are believed to be deficient in individuals who suffer from mood disorders. L-methyl folate is sold under its trade name, Deplin, and it is classified as a “medical food.” It is available only as a prescription drug. The study showed that 15 mg a day was found to be beneficial and the positive effects were seen within 30 days.
L-methyl folate has not been associated with any side effects and so appears to be a safe addition for people taking SSRIs. If you are taking antidepressants and are concerned about the lack of results you are experiencing, ask your doctor about using this vitamin as a possible supplement to your medication regimen.
There are other therapies also not associated with any side-effects which you can use to boost the effects of your antidepressant medication. Research has shown that some people respond well to bright light therapy and magnetic stimulation, for example. And, of course, talk therapy is one of the best known therapies to combine with a medication program.
If you are not happy with the treatment you are receiving for your depression, research these possible supplementary therapies and be sure to ask your doctor lots of questions.