Did you know that every year, approximately 17 million Americans are suffering from clinical depression? Of course, everyone feels a bit ‘down in the dumps’ every once in a while, but clinical depression is different.
So, What Exactly Is Depression? In western medical terminology, depression is classified under several diagnoses. You might have heard or been diagnosed with any of the following: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), depression, dysthmia, and bipolar disorder. Manifestations of these conditions are different from one person to another, but usually, all of them include some of the following:
- Thoughts of death and suicide.
- Low self esteem: feelings of worthlessness, helplessness and guilt.
- No interest in activities once enjoyed
- Continued sadness or emptiness, a ‘black hole’.
- Chronic fatigue, and/or insomnia.
- Mood swings, weepiness, irritability for no apparent reason.
- Loss or gain in appetite – weight gain or loss for no apparent reason.
- Difficulty making decisions, staying focused or difficult memory.
- Body pain or aches that do not get better with appropriate and reasonable medical treatment.
Chemical Drugs and the Depressed Patient: There are a plethora of anti-depressant drugs on the market. Frequently, a patient is prescribed a mild dose of a certain drug upon their first visit to an M.D. based on his/her initial diagnosis of the patient. Often too, there are no blood tests taken and evaluated to determine if there is a physical chemical imbalance which exists before more chemical drugs are dispensed and ingested. If you are diagnosed as being clinically depressed, insist that blood tests are taken and evaluated prior to taking any anti-depressant drug!
Although some anti-depressant drugs bring relief to some patients, they have very unpleasant side effects (weight gain, acne, insomnia, dullness of spirit, fatigue, changes in menstruation – these are some very common side effects) and treat only the manifestation of the problem, NOT the root (or cause) of the underlying condition! In many cases, the patient becomes unresponsive to the drugs and higher and higher dosages are given; eventually, cocktails of anti-depressants are prescribed and the patient spends years and years on these drugs – chemically addicted, while still feeling depressed…..not a very nice way to live your life.
For over 2,000 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine has been treating depression successfully utilizing the combined modalities of acupuncture, herbal formulas, diet modifications, and exercise. The cost of treatment compared to the overall expenses of western drugs is minimal and the treatment is non-addictive and chemical-free.
Traditional Chinese Medicine classifies depression into six patterns, which correspond to the Yin organs of the body. A full examination of the patient will give the practitioner a good idea of which combinations of patterns are in disharmony and an initial pattern diagnosis can be made. Based on that individual pattern diagnosis, the practitioner will form a treatment strategy for the patient that will embrace the person’s complete lifestyle.
The National Institute of Health recently funded a study on the effects of Acupuncture on depression in women. The results of this study concluded that Acupuncture was as effective as western drugs and/or psychotherapy and contained no side effects!
The combined modalities of acupuncture, herbal formulas, diet, and exercise increase the results exponentially. The reason is this: Traditional Chinese Medicine does not treat just the manifestations of depression, it treats the ROOT OF THE PROBLEM – THE UNDERLYING CAUSE!
The Combination of Western and Eastern Modalities: For many patients who are already taking western anti-depressant drugs and are under the supervision and care of a psychiatrist, the addition of Traditional Chinese Medicine into the overall treatment strategy can help reduce the side effects of the chemical drugs, and stabilize the patient in a manner by which psychotherapy can become much more effective.
It is important to note that patients who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder commonly are required to remain on their western medications.
BY NO MEANS, SHOULD A PERSON CEASE TO TAKE THEIR MEDICATIONS WITHOUT BEING UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THEIR M.D. ABRUPT CESSATION OF THESE DRUGS CAN CAUSE ADVERSE AFFECTS: MAJOR DEPRESSION, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, FAINTING, HYSTERIA. SPEAK WITH YOUR M.D. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR MEDICATIONS!!!!
By forming a partnership with your M.D. and practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, together, we will formulate an individualized treatment strategy that will get you back on the road to ‘Wellville’ expediently and effectively!