Mental Health Supplements by Dr. Ee’a Jones ~ October 2020
Do you use any supplements to help in your mental health journey? Supplements can include natural alternatives to psychotropic medication or phone apps utilized as reminders to help you stay on the right track. It’s trendy to be more healthy and seek out more natural ways to handle any rising issues. You can use the comments to section to tell me what supplements you use to help you. Before getting started, I have to state I am not financially paid or sponsored by any of the medicinal supplement or phone app developers I discuss herein. It is solely your decision what you use or do not use, not mine. You make the choices you feel are best for you. I cannot do that for you. Remember that everyone’s experience with different products are individual; what works well for one person is not guaranteed to work well for another person. Please also note none of these are a substitute for a seeing a licensed mental health professional to help work on any mental health issues.
There are a variety of medicinal supplements on the market for depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity, insomnia, and anxiety. I am not an expert in this area. A general Google search results in the following list of supplements for depression – St. John’s wort, SAMe, 5-HTP, Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B, Vitamin D, Saffron, and Kava kava. For attention deficit, hyperactivity, the search results were Omega-3, Zinc, Iron, Magnesium, Vitamin C, and Melatonin. For insomnia, the search results were Melatonin, Lavender, GABA, Valerian root, CBT oil, Kava kava, and California poppy. For anxiety, the following search results were GABA, Passionflower, Valerian root, Ashwagandha, and Rhodiola. Notice some of the same supplements were listed for attention deficit/hyperactivity and insomnia. My assumption is this could be the case because of the calming effects. Keep in mind a general warning is typically associated with the use of herbs and supplements stating they are not reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration. Be selective and do as much research to educate yourself so you can before making the choice you feel is best for you. You may even talk to your primary care physician before making a final decision. Firth, Stubbs, Teasdale, et. al. (2018) and Teasdale, War, Samaras, et. al. (2019) purport dietary intake plays a role in exacerbating mental health symptoms.
It is always good to pay attention to what you are putting in your body. There’s so many fad diets to choose from but ultimately it is best to make a lifestyle change. It’s been said that it takes 21 days for something to become a habit. Challenge yourself to do at least 21 days of something new. The biggest obstacle to any change is mindset. Make up your mind and get started! Now let’s talk about phone apps to supplement your mental health journey.
There are number of different phone apps available for Android and iOS. Some that have come to my attention over the years are The Virtual Hope Box, Calm, and Shine. Most of these have a premium version that requires a monthly subscription instead of the free version. They give positive affirmations, distractors such as games, breathing techniques, visualization exercises, etc. There’s also coloring apps that can be calming if you like to that sort of activity. It is solely your choice if you’d like to purchase a subscription or not. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (https://adaa.org/finding-help/mobile-apps) lists some mobile apps for mental health. Some listed are as follows – Anxiety Reliever, Breathe2Relax, CPT Coach, Headspace, iCBT, MindShift, and PTSD Coach. You can review a full list on the website listed just above. You can also view a list from Psycom at https://www.psycom.net/25-best-mental-health-apps. There are some duplicates from the AADA list and some additions.
AADA (n.d.). AADA Reviewed Mental Health Apps. Retrieved August 14, 2020 from https://adaa.org/finding-help/mobile-apps.
Firth J, Stubbs B, Teasdale SB et al. Diet as a hot topic in psychiatry: a population‐scale study of nutritional intake and inflammatory potential in severe mental illness. World Psychiatry 2018;17:365‐7 retrieved August 14, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6127755/.
Teasdale SB, Ward PB, Samaras K et al. Dietary intake of people with severe mental illness: systematic review and meta‐analysis. Br J Psychiatry 2019;214:251‐9 retrieved August 14, 2020 from https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/dietary-intake-of-people-with-severe-mental-illness-systematic-review-and-metaanalysis/6DFC17838EF13C11DF2D3150BA1DBFC6/core-reader.
Truschel, J. (n.d.). Top 25 Mental Health Apps: An Effective Alternative for When You Can’t Afford Therapy? Retrieved August 14, 2020 from https://www.psycom.net/25-best-mental-health-apps.