I haven't read all of this forum yet, but for those looking for a highly effective non-presciption remedy, I thought I'd share my experiences.
I've flirted with depression since college days. Some years I overmedicated with illegal drugs, alcohol, women and sex, anything to keep me distracted and less emotional pain. In the 80's I started experimenting with healthier natural medications after reading many books, talking to nutritionists, etc (no internet back then).
Nothing I tried in the 80's or early 90's worked for depression at all. Looking back it was odd that I never went the presciption meds route, but the side effects and reality distortion aspects discouraged me. Actually we lived in Seattle in the 90's and all the dark months really started bearing down on me, especially right after I sold my company.
It seemed like everyone I knew in Seattle was on anti-depressants and the wide range of side effects I noticed really kept me away. But I finally read an article on SAM-E, and while I wasn't very hopefull, at least by all accounts it was safe so I tried it with amazing results.
It was just amazingly perfect for me. If I could have invented the ultimate anti-depression pill it would have the following attributes:
1) You feel no physical differences from usual - you're just happy and in a positive mood with negative spiraling thoughts disappeared as if by magic;
2) There are no negative side effects (mentally or physically) but maybe a few positive ones;
3) You don't have to wait weeks for it to be effective. When you need relief, all you need to do is pop a couple pills.
4) You don't need to keep taking it once the depression passes. No plunging into a deeper depression when you stop taking the pills, therefore needing to stay on them. You feel fine when you're off them, and you'd only think to take it again when you reach another low ebb - hopefully months or years later.
All of these attributes are exactly what I've gotten with SAM-E. And in the years since, SAM-E has been all I've needed to get through periods of depression. And they've really been put to the test. Several years ago I watched my prosporous company go bankrupt, and my personal and family fortunes go with them. I'm not young anymore but still have a family of 4 to provide for.
The SAM-E's were there when I needed them and for years kept me on an even keel and even good natured in what were very stark times for me.
One of my best friends was going through an ugly divorce, while also loosing his business and was suffering not only depression, but ugly side effects of Zoloft. For years he just wouldn't listen to me about SAM-E, but finally gave it a try when he also went bankrupt and could no longer afford health insurance or Zoloft.
His first comment was "I'm not sure it's working. I don't feel any different, it's just that I don't feel depressed anymore. I think it's just coincidence." Well he stayed with it, and though he was on various anti-depressants for years every day of his life, he's now doing great. He tells me he reached for SAM-E on certain bad days every now and then, but other than that has no problems with depression anymore. Since then, he's got an excellent job that he now owns half the company of, is getting wealthy again and has a new love interest that he's getting close to a trip to the alter with.
I can tell you also that my wife refuses to take ANY pills at. Even after root canals
and other surgeries she just toughts it out (talk about tough). But recently her father (whom she admired more than anyone) died of Cancer and she finally decided she'd try something (if it was a natural product).
She had exactly the same results everyone else I knew had with the SAM-E - her debilitating depression was ended and she was able to think and even be cheerful. It did not substitute for grief, she still felt grief (which was fortunate). But she had a healthy grief, and the deep down depression was no longer a factor.
Now even as tough as she is, she'll reach for a SAM-E every now and then when life just seems too hard. It is the one and only medication of any kind that she'll take, and for me nothing could be a bigger endorsement of its efficacy (if I hadn't taken it myself).
Do all brands of SAM-E work? Not in my experience. I've tried many brands from the less expensive "Natures Way" (which works best and without fail) to other more expensive brands that did not work well for me.
I'm not a Natures Way rep or have any connection to the industry or the product. I just write this so that anyone else with depression problems doesn't miss the chance to try this amazingly effective, inexpensive and side effect free alternative to all those nasty prescription drugs or often ineffective herbal concoctions.
SAM-E has really brought back a quality of life to myself and others that are close to me so that depression is no longer a factor in our lives. I just am greatful that something like this exists, and urge anyone suffering from depression to please give it a try.
I tend to buy the Natures Way 400 MG SAM-E at Kroger when they have their 2 for the price of one sales. This will give me 24 400 MG pills for about $10 (you don't actually have to buy 2 for the discount).
Sorry for the long post, and I'm sure this has been talked about to death, but I wanted to share yet another experience.