Herbal Treatments for Depression
Are you suffering from depression? Are you thinking of trying the popular herbal antidepressant St. John's Wort, but you aren't sure how to take it or whether it will work? If so, you may want to participate in the St. John's Wort study that the National Institutes of Health is funding.
Duke University Medical Center, which is coordinating the study at 13 research sites across the United States, is looking for volunteer patients with major depression. To find out if you qualify, go to Duke's web page at http://hypericum.rti.org; click on "contact information" and call the site nearest you.
Symptoms of major depression, which affects nearly 10 million American adults each year, include:
- a sad or empty mood
- reduced or lost interest in usual activities
- memory disturbances
- difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- changes in sleep and appetite (increased or decreased)
- feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- frequent crying
If you have been experiencing 5 or more of these symptoms for two weeks or longer, or if they have been severe enough to interfere with your normal functioning, you may be suffering from major depression and may benefit from joining the study.
Advantages of research participation in the St. John's Wort clinical trials include medical evaluation, frequent contact with research staff, and close monitoring for symptom improvement and possible side effects. Participation in the study is free of charge.
If you decide not to participate in the research, but experience several of the above symptoms, an evaluation by a qualified health or mental health professional is strongly recommended. Depression can worsen without intervention and cause needless suffering, but effective treatments are available. They include medically approved antidepressants and/or short-term therapy.
Source: National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health