This is a severe problem and it is common sense that we find effective solutions for these problems. To-day most mental health problems are treated with psychological and pharmacological interventions. The most common psychological treatments are known as cognitive-behavioural therapies (CBT), while antidepressants are the most common class of medication used to treat both depression and anxiety.
Other interventions are also effective, although not promoted as much as the previous mentioned treatments, including exercise, relaxation/ meditation, and sleep-based interventions. Herbs and nutrients are also often used to treat mental health problems, but there is doubt whether they actually work.
The following more commonly used natural supplements will be reviewed to see if there is actually any evidence to support their efficacy.
- Omega-3 fish oils. There has been a substantial amount of research on the effects of fish oil, mostly in the area of depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD ). The overall evidence suggests that fish oil is moderate effective for these conditions. In several meta-analyses it had been confirmed that fish oil can improve depressive symptoms that occur in major depressive disorders and bipolar disorder. The most effective fish oils for mental health are those ones that contain greater concentration of EPA ( a type of omega-3 fat)
- St John’s wort. This herb has always been very popular for the treatment of depression and there has been many good quality studies in several meta-analyses. St John’s wort has been shown to be effective for the treatment of depression. However, research on stress, ADHD and other mental health problems have not been so convincing. The major problem with St John’s wort is that it interacts with many medications.
- Saffron. Positive studies on its effect on depression has increased over the last decade. Follow up studies have all confirmed that saffron is effective for the treatment of depression. In comparison with antidepressants such as Prozac and Trofanil, Saffron has proven to be as effective, but with less side effects. Although it is the most expensive spice in the world, only a small amount is needed, which make the cost quite affordable (approx $30 – $40 a month). Another advantage is that in combination with pharmaceutical antidepressants, it was more effective than the antidepressant alone.