P.S. 5-HTP as food supplement tablets.
Are you sure you talked to a doctor? Obviously you have to take an antidepressant every day. There are definitely downsides to taking medication, and if your life isn't so badly disrupted you can't function it's good to look for alternatives, especially therapy. But I'm always amazed at how many people take things without doing any homework first. When a doctor gives you a prescription, there's a dosage. That dosage has been arrived at by trials and experience. The same is true if you use natural medicine -- it's still medicine and you still have to know when to take it and how to take it. When you were recommended Zoloft by a neurologist, did you ever think about what neurologists actually do for a living? It's not treating mental illness, it's treating problems with the nerves and the biological function of the brain. Psychiatrists are the docs who specialize in treating mental illness with medication. Any doc can give you these drugs, including your regular doc, but if you're concerned you have a mental illness and you've tried therapy and other less invasive methods of treating it and they failed, again, the doc to see is a psychiatrist. Remember, once you're on a drug, you have to know how to use it. Good psychiatrists taper up on them gradually so they can see how you'll react. They know the dosage that works for most people. A neurologist might not know that. They also should know, though they often don't, how to take you off them when it's time to do that. Other docs might not even have enough appointments available to see you regularly to do that and monitor you. And Zoloft isn't a serotonin based tablet. It affects how the body uses serotonin, but there isn't any serotonin in it. Okay. 5-HTP is a metabolite of the amino acid, found in all complete proteins, called tryptophan. When you eat food containing tryptophan, it combines with B6, Vitamin C and some other co-factors to manufacture the serotonin the body uses in the digestive system, the blood vessels, the muscles, and the smaller amount in the brain. If you absorb it well it metabolizes into 5-HTP. Because tryptophan has a bad success rate of crossing the blood/brain barrier when taken as a supplement, 5-HTP is recommended, as it's already in the metabolized form. It comes from a plant, but not one that we eat. They found it when the FDA, in one of their crusades against natural medicine (they exist to help sell allopathic medicine, which is a competitor with older forms of medicine for historical reasons mostly centering on the fact the early doctors were killing people more than helping them) banned tryptophan because of a tainted batch from one lab and an enterprising herbalist discovered that the better form, 5-HTP, existed in the griffonia plant, and the FDA hadn't banned that one. But you have to take the right dose, which as with medication can take some time to find. You usually start with 50mg, then move up to 100, then 150 if you need to, and after that, you have to decide if you want to risk some side effects by going higher. A doctor who knows natural medicine will probably combine this with several other remedies, get you to eat better, exercise, get therapy, and learn relaxation techniques such as meditation. A holistic process. Those who do it themselves will more often buy a combination formula that may or may not have things in it at a useful dosage and that should be taken at the same time. For example, 5-HTP, as with most amino acids, should be taken on an empty stomach. Also, as with any form of medicine, you can have side effects, and it will take some time to work -- it took you a long time to get to this point, it isn't going to go away tomorrow. Drugs work much faster, but even with those it takes 4-6 weeks at a proper dosage for you to work.
I'm glad you got some help here. It sounds like you are on a path to mental wellness.