How Do You Overcome Depression Without Medication or Therapy?

Thousands of individuals have successfully overcome depression with the help of the Option Institute. Whether you are dealing with feelings of sadness, clinical depression, post-partum depression or any other variation, we can help. Review the information below to see how.

Who Struggles with Depression?

In 2015, around 16.1 million adults aged 18 years or older in the U.S. had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year, which represented 6.7 percent of all American adults (

Depression Checklist
On their website, the National Foundation for Depressive Illness displays the following checklist of signs and symptoms for depressive illness:

Loss of energy and interest.
Diminished ability to enjoy oneself.
Decreased – or increased – sleeping or appetite.
Difficulty in concentrating; indecisiveness; slowed or fuzzy thinking.
Exaggerated feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiety.
Feelings of worthlessness.
Recurring thoughts about death and suicide.

And it isn’t just Americans who are dealing with depression in record numbers. Whether it is typical clinical depression, postpartum depression, teen depression, or any other variety of the disorder, depression is now common worldwide. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that 322 million people worldwide live with depression (, 2018). According to the World Health Organization, the incidence of depression is doubling every ten years and will be, by 2020, the most pervasive illness in the world and the second major cause of death.

Although so many people struggle with depression, the treatments they are offered tend to, ultimately, still leave them feeling like victims. In many cases, medication is recommended as the only depression treatment that can truly help. (And people have reported that medication has provided relief.) However, if you would prefer an attitudinal approach – without medication, read on.

Depression is most often seen as something that “happens” to you, or something you have to learn to “live with.”

How the Option Institute Can Help You Overcome Depression Without Medication or Traditional Talk Therapy

We have found that depression comes from particular sets of beliefs and ways of thinking. Rather than it “happening” to us, there are perspectives we adopt which fuel our depression. This is not an indictment of those facing depression – it is good news!

We can offer you a possible way out. Without medications. Without accusations. Rather, with practical, self-empowering tools that can offer you the opportunity to uncover the depression-fueling beliefs and preconceptions you hold, change them, and, potentially, begin to provide you with real depression relief.

Option Institute Programs to Help with Depression


Many times, depression accompanies fatigue and burnout. Often, we seek respite by vacations and time away, only to find that these provide fleeting relief.

In ReNEW YOU you’ll acquire tools and perspectives that allow you to see responsibilities, commitments and expectations from a brand new perspective. Find relief, renewal and revitalization.



Often times depression results from a sense that nothing we do matters anymore. We feel powerless to change anything. Why bother? Why try? We begin to doubt if anything will ever change.

Inner Strength is a two-week fitness program for your mind and soul. Our Inner Strength program will help you build up your internal sense of power, passion and freedom.   READ MORE

You’ll rediscover that you can change who you are, what you do, where you’re going, your entire life. You’ll learn to access the tools that put you in complete charge of your emotions and behaviors – no matter what is happening around you. Over these two weeks, you will have the opportunity to put into practice the life-changing skills and perspectives that you learn.


How many times, through dealing with your sadness or depression, have you wished happiness was a more regular part of life? That when someone asked how you’re feeling, you could answer “I’m doing great!” instead of feigning another reply? It is possible!

In the Happiness GPS program you’ll learn how to transform your sadness to happiness.  READ MORE

You’ll acquire practical tools and strategies that will enable you choose happiness over another emotion. You will be able to harness the power of your inner confidence, ease, focus, and self-esteem so you can seize opportunities for happiness even when all doors and options seem to be closed.

Depression Help at The Option Institute: Personal Stories

By the time I’d reached my mid-30’s, I’d achieved what most people would agree was a successful life, a home in an affluent suburb, 2 cars, a swimming pool, a middle management position with a Fortune 100 electronics company and a career on the rise. Then one day my wife of fifteen years told me she wanted a divorce and, when we sought help in family counseling, I learned that my pride and joy, my two sons, felt distant and afraid of me.

I had always taken my frequent angry outbursts for granted. After all, my father, my uncles, my brothers all behaved that way. Naturally I would be an angry person too. But now I recognized that my anger was separating me from everything I loved. It was too late to save my marriage. But maybe I could still salvage the relationships with my sons. I decided to control the expression of my anger, no matter what it cost me inside. Then a friend introduced me to the books of Barry Neil Kaufman and the idea that happiness is a choice.  READ MORE

Intrigued, I traveled to The Option Institute for private sessions. During this time I had the opportunity to examine my own vision of life as well as the beliefs and attitudes underlying my anger and depression. I realized that I believed I had no other choice besides getting angry or depressed when things didn’t go well for me. But through the gentle and non-judgmental dialogue sessions, I realized that I did have other choices – that I could treat the events of my life as misfortunes or as opportunities. I chose to do the latter. That decision has transformed my entire life. I stopped feeling bad about myself. I began to have fun. My energy increased. My productivity improved. I started to enjoy my work.

Today I’m no longer on medication. I’m happy, confident, optimistic for the future. My career has taken an exciting new turn. And my relationship with my sons has never been better.
Richard Magan

Computer Sales Manager, Massachusetts

I have suffered from depression for the last 17 years. For a long time, I thought Prozac was the only solution. I struggled with feelings and judgements of my own self-worth and what I believed I could and couldn’t have. I questioned my role as a mother, a woman, and an African-American, all because I believed that I was stuck with my life and my past and there was little I could do to change it. All the while I was having this internal struggle, I was dealing with the very real illness of my only son, Chris, who was diagnosed with AIDS.

I heard about The Option Institute from a dear friend of mine around the same time I got the news that Chris was dying. Chris had decided to stop taking his medication and allow himself to die. My friend and I had taken seminars together for the past 20 years, so I agreed to join him at The Option Institute for a one week program.  READ MORE

When we arrived at the Institute, it was only 4 months since Chris’s death. I was ready for anything.

The program completely changed how I look at my life. When the teachers talked about how we define reality, I finally understood that we are always choosing how we respond to the events in life and, in that way, we are always making up our own reality through those choices. What a breakthrough that was! I realized that I didn’t have to accept that I would be depressed for the rest of my life and that I could choose to live in the moment instead of the past.

I also realized that Chris’s choice to stop taking his medication was his choice and Chris’s was his life. Understanding that finally gave me the freedom to accept his illness and his death in a way that 10 years of therapy had not. Not only could Chris rest in peace, but now so could I. I was finally free to live my life as I chose.

I enrolled in the Living the Dream, 2 weeks after my first program. I’m excited about bringing the principles and technology of The Option Process back to the African- American community in any way I can. Today my life is filled with more challenges that I look forward to and a new anticipation of living life on the edge – because a life isn’t a life unless you live it, moment to moment. The most amazing thing is that I no longer feel depressed about my past or my future.
Linda Craft-Smith

Party Planning Director, California

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