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No good for severe clinical depression
St. John's Wort
Member Name: Pobble
St. John's Wort
Date: 22/06/00, updated on 22/06/00 (1384 review reads)
Advantages: Great for stress
Disadvantages: Not to be substituted for more conventional treatment
At the risk of being judged a total loon, I'll wave my hands in the air now and admit that I'm one of the millions who's prescribed an SSRI (the group of drugs Prozac is from) for a major depressive disorder. It's no biggie; while I was completely incapacitated by the illness for a while, the tablets have sorted me out, and I'm perfectly happy and normal thanks to them.
It drives me bonkers to see people call St John's Wort "Nature's Prozac", and to say it works when they're "A bit depressed." Friends have pointed me at it in the past, and they've demonstrated that it does work, and extremely well, for when you're feeling a bit down. However, it's not really strong enough for people with clinical depression, and in my view it's sometimes a little foolhardy to dither with something like this when you really should be getting yourself sorted out by the doctor.
Prozac and other SSRIs have had a bad press. I can, however, literally say that they saved my life, and that St John's Wort wouldn't have done had I carried on taking it alone. SSRI's are not addictive; I have to stay on them because I have a chemical imbalance which means that I don't produce high enough levels of seratonin on my own, not because I'm addicted.
From watching my friends, I'm perfectly happy to recommend St John's Wort for stress, for PMT and for when life's dealt you a bit of a blow and you're feeling down. Just please, please don't think you can substitute it for conventional treatment for major depressive disorder. It may leave you feeling worse than you need to for longer than you need.