Complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of depressive disorders in women

Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2010 Jun;33(2):441-63. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2010.01.002.


Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies are commonly practiced in the United States and are used more frequently among women than men. This article reviews several CAM treatments for depressive disorders in women, with a focus on major depressive disorder across the reproductive life cycle. The CAM therapies selected for this review (ie, S-adenosylmethionine, omega-3 fatty acids, St John's wort, bright light therapy, acupuncture, and exercise) were based on their prevalence of use and the availability of randomized, placebo-controlled data. Further study is necessary to delineate the role of specific CAM therapies in premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, antepartum and postpartum depression, lactation, and the menopausal transition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods
  • Adult
  • Complementary Therapies / methods*
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypericum
  • Phototherapy / methods
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use
  • S-Adenosylmethionine / therapeutic use*
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Plant Preparations
  • S-Adenosylmethionine