I basically agree with all your comments. Benzos short term may help a lot of people but once you get habituated, or worse yet addicted they are very difficult to wean away from. I was on low dose ATVAN (2mg daily) and it took me five months to get off it by reducing by 10% every two weeks. (And I am a control freak that does things by the book). This meant cutting the 0.5mg pills with a very sharp blade which is not accurate but…it worked. Ironically in some European countries to get off fast acting ATIVAN they switch you to slower acting Vallium and wean you off that. Klonopin and Xanax are also quicker acting and present problems.
As for antidepressants, as I understand it there are several classes depending upon the mode of action and yet many specialists use trial and error rather than testing to see which class is appropriate. I suffered from Maturity onset depression for two years after I retired and eventually gave up trying to find an anti depressant that worked and took up exercise (recumbent trike ) and mindful meditation. Luckily they gave me about 90% relief. The key is to get out of bed when you wake up and draw the curtains. Let in the light. Then get out of the house! Just driving to a nearby coffee shop and reading a book is a good distraction. The more you are at home alone brooding the worse depression gets.
Be careful of so called natural products though. Some interact with pharmaceuticals, some contain dangerous impurities, some don't contain the stated level of active ingredients. And the bioavailbiility of the active ingredient may vary from batch to batch. And worse yet most are not supported by peer reviewed statistically based clinical trials.
And in case you think I am anti pharma I should note that I worked for big pharma for years at a very senior level. Yes some of their pricing and marketing is disgusting and drugs do have side effects BUT overall big pharma improves the lives of millions. Just don't believe all the marketing hype!