Any child could feel sad from time to time, but depression is a serious and ongoing mental health issue. It almost always requires professional care. Now, you might think that prescription antidepressants are the most effective treatments for this disorder. However, they can be harsh on the body. By contrast, alternative ways to treat depression can be gentle and soothing. Indeed, finding a holistic physician to treat depression in Lakewood Ranch could keep your child from experiencing great discomfort. When Depression Strikes There are many signs of childhood depression. They include a loss of interest in hobbies and fun activities. Children who are depressed may be socially isolated, frequently bored, and lacking in energy. They might cry often or seem angrier than usual, and their grades could drop. Plus, they might lose sleep or start sleeping too much. In addition, depression can make it hard to focus, and it can bring about headaches and stomach pains. If you believe that your son or daughter could be depressed, make an appointment with the family pediatrician right away. Be aware, though, that many physicians and psychiatrists are quick to recommend antidepressants these days, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in particular. What Are SSRIs? When the brain wants to send a message to some part of the body, it releases a chemical called a neurotransmitter. Serotonin is one such neurotransmitter. After that message has been delivered, the neurotransmitter reenters the nerve cells. What SSRIs do is keep serotonin from coming back right away. Instead, the serotonin will linger for a while within the synapses, the spaces between the neurons. With less serotonin in them, these nerve cells can “speak” to one another more clearly, and they can thus control the emotions more efficiently. Unfortunately, by altering the activities of the brain, SSRIs, and other medications can produce nasty side effects. They include nausea, insomnia, anxiety, and dizziness. That’s why so many parents are seeking natural depression relief in Lakewood Ranch. A Better Way One of the most beneficial alternative ways to treat depression is through acupuncture. Acupuncture dates back to ancient China, and it involves stimulating the body with needles. Those metal needles pierce the skin, but they don’t cause pain. Heat can be applied during acupuncture sessions as well. Acupuncture can ease a wide range of medical problems, including arthritis, nausea, and chronic headaches. The needles induce the brain to release endorphins, norepinephrine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Like SSRIs, those chemicals are capable of soothing physical and emotional pain. Acupuncture needles may also trigger the brain to discharge more nerve growth factor. That compound allows the nerve cells to reproduce faster and to stay healthy longer. Chinese herbs represent another popular type of natural depression relief in Lakewood Ranch. As is true of acupuncture, these herbs have been in use for hundreds of years. Your child could take them as capsules or in liquid form. An example of a depression-fighting Chinese herb is ginkgo biloba. It improves the circulation of dopamine through the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends messages from one neuron to another. Many other Chinese herbs also enhance neurological communication and right the brain’s chemical imbalances. In combination, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are fast-acting treatments. In short order, you may notice that your child has more energy, more interest in socializing, and more smiles to share. Just thinking of your son or daughter enjoying life once again might prompt you to contact one of our acupuncture physicians to help your child feel happy again. We would love to help.