ALERNATIVE TREATMENT FOR DEPRESSION

Everybody will experience depression as part of the normal cycle of emotions. Depression should not be treated except when the sadness, melancholy or dejection is unrealistic or out of proportion to the apparent cause.

If one can accept that the human being is an energy source of which some is material , some is mental function and the remaining part is emotion or being , then depression must be looked at on all three levels. Depression manifests in all levels and treatment needs to be directed to correcting the imbalance.

Manifestations of depression

Mental – increased or decreased levels of activity, an inability to sleep or an excessive desire to stay asleep, an inability to concentrate or memorize and prolonged periods of physical overactivity or inactivity.

Spiritual – indifference to oneself or those around you, decreased ability to enjoy that which was enjoyable, a sense of inadequacy, worthless-ness and, very often, guilt, a decrease in libido, recurrent thoughts of how much better things would be if one were dead.

Physical – weight loss or weight gain, unexplained physical weakness, persisting feelings of tiredness and lack of energy and increased or decreased appetite.

Medically speaking four or more of the above symptoms are required to be defined as depression and these have to persist for longer than a few days.

Endogenous and exogenous depression

The terms endogenous and exogenous are really academic because they overlap to such a great extent. I do feel, however, that it helps to have a good understanding of why a depression may not be the fault of will power; also, being able to define whether a problem is endogenous or exogenous is essential in recommending treatment. Years of psychotherapy may not affect an endogenous depression, whereas the most potent drugs will not provide a cure for an allergic exogenous depression.

Endogenous depression

The causes of endogenous depression are:

A lack of the nervous system’s natural ‘happy juice’, such a serotonin and dopamine.

An excess of the CNS-depressive chemicals.

Deficiencies in the nutrients necessary for the production of’happy juice’, such as tryptophan, phenylalanine, vitamins B6, B3 and lecithin, to name but a few.

Hormonal deficiencies, particularly in thyroid hormones and Cortisol. Female hormonal fluctuations of oestrogen and progesterone can have profound effects on mood.

Hypoglycaemia , which is often associated with a diet high in refined carbohydrates.

Seasonal affective disorder .

Postnatal depression created by the fluctuation of female hormones.

Exogenous depression

The causes of exogenous depression are:

Depression created by life events, such as bereavement, job loss and relationship break up.

Direct toxic effect from chemicals such as nicotine from cigarettes, aldehydes as the breakdown products of alcohol and the effects of most ‘come downs’ from recreational drugs.

Specific doctor-prescribed drugs such as steroids, antibiotics and those drugs that may have a depressing effect on the thyroid gland or on sugar levels.

Food allergies.

Environmental pollutants, whether inhaled or ingested through food.

Infections, most commonly viral but very often overlooked are fungal and parasitic infections.

A lack of exercise, which prevents the production of the body’s natural opiates – endorphins and enkephalins.

If negative feelings persist for longer than a few days and seem to be inappropriate, then discuss the matter with your preferred complementary medical practitioner.

Further discussions with a counsellor are recommended if the feelings persist. Recourse to an orthodox medical practitioner, unless they are strongly holistic in their outlook, should be considered only as a last resort because all too often the only weapon in their armoury is drug treatment.

Preferably under the guidance of your complementary medical practitioner, consider using the following supplements at high doses depending on the quality and quantity of the appetite through the depression: an essential amino acid complex that includes tryptophan and D,L-phenylalanine . ; vitamin B complex at up to ten times the daily recommended dose; vitamin C, folic acid and magnesium at three times the recommended daily allowance.

Avoid refined carbohydrates and any oversweet foods.

Consider the coinciding times of depression with specific foods either by maintaining an accurate dietary journal or by having a food allergy test through blood, vega or bioresonance tests.

Have a good look at your lifestyle and eliminate smoking, caffeine, alcohol and other drugs until the depression has eleviated. Ensure that you have a good balance between your mind/body/ spirit existence. Not enough exercise, not enough time spent in meditation or prayer or indeed an excess of physical or mental activity will allow energy to flow from one level to the other, leaving deficiencies that can manifest as depression.

Review any orthodox medication, including the oral contraceptive, which might be a depressant.

If problems persist ask a GP to check for thyroid,

Cortisol and blood sugar levels. A complementary medical practitioner or GP should also check for persisting infections such as glandular fever or other such manifestations of Epstein-Barre virus or candidiasis. Chronic fatigue syndrome should be ruled out.

Consider the possibility of postnatal or seasonal affective disorder .

Nutritional deficiencies need to be corrected, as mentioned above, but please do not forget to drink half a pint of water per foot of height per day because chronic dehydration may manifest itself as depression.

Encourage the production of endorphins and enkephalins through exercise.

Regular aerobic exercise is important but daily work with Qi Gong, Tai Chi or yoga may be curative for depression.

Homeopathic remedies at high potency are potentially curative but need to be selected based on all the symptoms of depression. Consult a homeopath.

Herbal treatments are effectively drug treatments. The body may deal with the naturopathic drugs better than orthodox compounds but I still see the two as similar -dealing with the feeling and not the underlying cause. St John’s wort has come to prominence following the publication of a trial in a well-respected medical journal, but it is only one of hundreds that are well established as being antidepressive following hundreds of years of observation and hundreds of small studies. Avoid their use except as a penultimate recourse and take under the guidance of a naturopath.

If all else has failed, then consider the use of drug treatment. Chemicals such as Lithium carbonate are well established and, if monitored, safe enough in conditions such as manic depression.

ELECTRIC SHOCK TREATMENT

Many people are surprised to find that ECT is not only still performed but is quite common. Certain psychiatrists still hold with this as an effective treatment for severe depression that is unresponsive to drug therapy, despite the potential risks to life, long-term memory and any other brain function. Believe it or not, ECT at one time was used to change personality traits such as aggressive behaviour or suicidal tendencies. It was even used as an aversion therapy towards homosexuality. Fortunately, we have moved forward.

RECOMMENDATIONS

RECOMMENDATIONS

If you do not feel in control of your anger or if your anger is directed towards another emotion, organize a consultation with a psychotherapist to establish the best type of therapy.

Review a homeopathic manual and use potency 200 of the remedy that most matches your emotional state nightly for ten nights. 1 Learn a meditative technique and practise this daily with the yoga or Qi Gong techniques suitable for your emotional state. < Initiate regular body work treatments, such as massage or Shiatsu, which are marvellous at dissipating unwanted emotional chemicals.

Electroconvulsive therapy must only be considered when all other avenues have been exhausted.

Ensure that all complementary medical avenues have been explored because orthodox medicine often overlooks the possibility of deficiencies and food allergy.

EMOTIONS

Emotion is a normal expression of feeling and venting of any emotion is essential to long term well-being. Suppression of emotion and the consequential maintenance of high levels of adrenaline in the system may be responsible for conditions as diverse as rashes and cancer. Eastern philosophy considers emotion to create internal heat, which needs to be expressed and eventually will be.

Emotion is only a pathological matter if it is expressed out of proportion to what triggered it. It is also unwise to allow emotion to be expressed as a secondary emotion. This means that if you are unhappy about an event but then feel anger towards being unhappy, the emotion is a secondary emotion. Feelings about feelings are generally not productive and lead to inner psychological turmoil.

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