Depression is a complex mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of despondency, dejection, despair and profound sadness. Clinical depression is a serious medical condition in which a person feels unhappy, hopeless, miserable and unimportant. Often, a clinically depressed person is unable to live and enjoy life in anything resembling a typical manner.
Symptoms of major depression include:
- Fatigue and loss of energy.
- Increased or decreased sleep.
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
- Poor concentration, indecisiveness
- Thoughts of death, suicide attempts or plans
- Loss of interest in life; no pleasure from their existence.
- Decreased or increased weight or appetite.
- Appearance of agitation or irritation.
- Slowed behavioral reactions.
Many people with depression also suffer from anxiety. They may, as an example, become a hypochondriac, or worry more than average about their health. They may also experience excessive conflict in their relationships, and may function poorly at work. Sexual functioning may also be a problem. And, people with depression are more at risk for abusing alcohol or other substances. Major depression may occur just once in a person’s life or may return repeatedly at any stage of life. Some people who have many episodes of clinical depression also can demonstrate a background pattern of a milder form of depression called “dysthymia”. And, of course, there is the bipolar type which is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out daily tasks.
A person who has many of the classical signs and symptoms of depression that last for at least 2 or 3 weeks would likely be considered clinically depressed by most MD’s. Treatment may include a variety of antidepressant medications.
Depression and Conventional Medicine
Pharmaceutical companies and conventional western doctors have a deep investment in the belief that your depression and “chemical imbalance” requires prescribed medication sometimes for life. Research, however, shows that outcomes for those taking psychotropic medication affects long term health. It is important to remember that depression affects both body and mind and is rarely completely mental or biochemical. Therefore, the best help comes from using the guidance of an experienced, caring holistic doctor. However, in cases of acute psychiatric distress to stabilize a patient it will be necessary for medical emergency intervention for the short term.
Causes of Depression:
There are a number of factors that contribute to or increase the chance of developing clinical depression. Some of the more common causes are:
- Substance abuse.
- Serious illness and trauma.
- Death or loss of a loved one.
- Conflicts with family members or a friend.
- Genetic predisposition e.g. a family history of depression or bipolar disorder.
- Chronic pain syndrome.
- Hormone imbalances e.g. postpartum depression, low thyroid etc.
- Neurotransmitter imbalances in the brain.
- Gender:… women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed and treated for major depression.
- Brain anatomy; in one study published in the journal of neuroscience investigators studied 24 women with a history of depression. On average, then hippocampus was 9%-13% smaller compared with those not depressed.
- Seasonal affective disorder due to lack of sufficient sunlight.
- Unemployment and financial troubles.
Holistic options for depression
Holistic treatment of depression encompasses a vast number of treatment localities. The treatment of clinical depression may also include any of the following modalities:
- Psychotherapy (such as cognitive behavioral therapy etc.)
- Art Therapy.
- Music therapy.
- Lucid dreaming techniques.
- Herbal therapy.
- Biochemical/orthomolecular treatments.
- Exercise therapy.
- EFT/Meridian tapping.
- Guided meditation and mindfulness meditation.
- Metabolic therapy (e.g. balancing the h-P-A axis & hormones.).
- Nutritional therapy.
- Cranial therapy.
EFT goes to the heart of the problem and removes the emotional arrow!
Although the holistic treatment of depression allows for a wide variety of options, one of the most useful and reliable modalities is EFT. It has been referred to as a form of emotional acupressure because it directly addresses the underlying emotional and psychological issues that disrupt the subtle energy field of the brain and acupuncture energy field of the body. This is what actually causes the symptoms.
EFT is used to:
- eliminate or reduce pain (both physical and emotional)
- remove negative emotions
- stop panic/anxiety attacks
- alleviate depressive states
EFT is based on the concept that the electromagnetic energy flowing through our body is ultimately the regulator of our health. The technique is simple, non-invasive, painless, quick and easy to perform. The results are often nothing short of amazing, even if the symptoms appear to be chemically or physically based. Most of the time, there is a significant but hidden emotional component which is perpetuating or prolonging the symptoms.
The Breakthrough Supplements for Depression
EFT is best used in conjunction with some highly effective nutritional/herbal remedies such as 5-HTP. This is the direct precursor to serotonin production and passes directly through the blood-brain barrier. Levels of other neurotransmitters are also raised when using 5-HTP including dopamine, melatonin and norepinephrine. It is very valuable in cases of depression, insomnia and obesity.
The other frequently used nutraceutical that has stood the test of time and scientific scrutiny is SAM-e which works by elevating the brain’s serotonin levels and like 5-HTP, helps to balance numerous other neurotransmitters. Seventy percent of depressed patients taking SAM-e notice mood improvement within days as opposed to pharmaceutical antidepressants that typically require two to four weeks to take effect. Dr. Richard Brown, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University, and coauthor of the 1999 book “Stop Depression Now”, described SAM-e as the breakthrough supplement that works as well as prescription drugs in half the time and with no side effects!
In conclusion, it is best to use these modalities under the guidance of a knowledgeable and experienced holistic health care practitioner for the best possible results.