Opening Up About Depression

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A discussion about options which may aid those who experience Depression...

Submitted: June 25, 2018

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Submitted: June 25, 2018

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 Abstract

The impact of the nature of modern medicine within a society enters into a balanced discussion of how CAM therapies are utilized to Compliment and work as Alternatives for treatment options in alleviating a diversity of medical conditions.  In this paper, common aspects of treatment for Depression will be discussed for therapy that may be beneficial to those experiencing Depression.  The spectrum of Depression may vary, as may side effects and treatment options.  The purpose of this paper is to weigh out the focus on how Depression is treated, and give an overview of the common perspective of how Depression should be treated in the field.  Examined are the various complementary and alternative medical therapies that may be useful in blending with the conventional treatment for Depression.

Introduction

  ‘Popular Wisdom’ brings forth the dictate as the world of modern medicine seriously evaluates how healing occurs and how medicine is practiced with the best efficacy for treatment and recovery.  As we contemplate the ‘energetics’ in our understanding of medicine, we must re-evaluate why what works does, and how we can further develop modern medicine to be most effective and knowledgeable in the practice of medicine worldwide.  The many discoveries that are made each year keep the etiology concise and moving toward betterment, as many traditional medical therapies may have much worth in preserving, as their age old wisdom has been acquired through knowledge and proven through time. The aspects which pertain to Complimentary and Alternative Medicine comply with the basis of treating the whole, and hence, set forth the rationale that one who seeks healing may find it in the development of CAM therapy as the scope widens to see the many traditional and holistic ways illness can be treated through.  That the fields of medicine intertwine are important, and also significant is the role of CAM therapies in our modern medicinal culture.  As developments succeed to discover that CAM therapies are beneficial, many studies have shown an improvement with the ability to heal by utilising CAM for a variety and diversity of reasons.  The mental health field, which intertwines many disciplines, notably psychiatry and psychology and sociology, has come to understand mental illness as serious medical and physical health issues, and are constantly developing new pharmacology to treat mental illness better and with more expertise.  As many ‘new’ drugs as there are coming forth to treat mental illness there are complaints of side effects which are unfavorable, and it is very common for those with mental health issues to search for alternative and complimentary therapies which better suit the purpose of maintaining health and feeling alleviated from symptoms.  To look at how mainstream healthcare serves those who are included in the mental health field spectrum, there are many options that those suffering from illness could be referred toward, and many self-healing techniques which can be learned in overcoming illness.  The common ground consumers find in their care tends to rely on how they feel, how they are improving, healing, and returning to their natural balance when recuperating from illness, or learning to live with it, especially illness which affects people in the long-term.  Allopathic medicine is still of utmost importance when looking at issues that intertwine with Mental Health, and yet our doctors are still advancing to improve the system, with many professionals looking at CAM therapies as ways of better and more focused practice, still in medical terms and on a professional basis. 

 

 

  I will discuss here and now the aspects of Depression in an investigation of how the treatment of Depression fundamentally relies on knowledge and how treatments can be intertwined, or rather, blended, with CAM therapies to encourage and support the process of recovery and the prevention of relapse through careful insight, awareness , and management of this illness which presents a serious health outcome.  As in the text by Micozzi, it is stated that it is important to focus on “engaging the inner resources of each individual as an active and conscious participant in the maintenance of ‘health’”, and so, how we look at the future of the medical field also is  significant.How physical and mental health are interdependent, as well as how the spiritual pertains to a balance that enhances life as well.  It is discussed in the text how ‘disruptions in the balance of flow and energy...contribute[s] to illness’ and so as we look deeper into the world of clinical depression, much hope relies on the mind state being in clarity to maintain health, and yet the stigma around mental illness’ like depression is in and of itself serious, let alone the way a person with the illness’ attempts to overcome a force which seems to be overwhelming and a conquest to defeat.In WebMD, it is stated that “Some people with depression prefer non-drug approaches...but there is no evidence...[of] effective[ness] for moderate to severe depression.”  The article continues to promote various conditioning and lifestyle choices such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, Biofeedback, Chiropractic, guided imagery, dietary supplements, Hypnosis, massage, meditation, relaxation, and yoga; all of which sound rationally as improvements in self-care and a reflection of the holistic ways of life which people find purpose in treating.These are options that are relatively safe from side-effects, and in fact may work to encourage alleviation of side-effects.  The article articulates, “The belief is that when your body is relaxed, your mind can add to better health, less depression, and overall wellness”, though for someone with depression, the support of CAM therapies may give inertia to the healing process and achieve recovery for long periods of time, while being aware of strategies when encountering the warning signs of relapse.  Many sources I have encountered make it clear that ‘natural remedies for depression aren’t a replacement for medical diagnosis and treatment.  However, for some people certain herbal and dietary supplements do seem to work well’,  and the determination is to enhance the quality of life for the person being treated while attempting to treat the causation of the illness.  There definitely need be a support team to deal effectively with the treatment, and a careful plan, dedication, and investment in the personhood.  With antidepressants, the increased suicide risk calls for support also with Psychotherapy and treatment plans that also involve the persons in quality and decisions of their care, notably CBT(cognitive behavioral therapy) and interpersonal therapy (both which help a person with depression ‘adjust’, ‘identify’, ‘explore’ options, risks & benefits, and ‘regain’ control.Many people may also prefer CAM therapy over ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy) & TMS (Transcranial magnetic stimulation), while others believing in the effectiveness of ECT & TMS, may use CAM as complimentary to these treatments.

  The dictionary defines Depression as “feelings of severe despondency and dejection”.  Psychiatry.org defines Depression as a major depressive disorder [which] is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act” also clarifying that the illness is treatable, and looks also at how Depression can be correlated or concurrent to other disorders such as Biploar and Seasonal Affective Disorder.  MedicineNet states that Depression has signs and symptoms such as “loss of interest in activities that were once interesting or enjoyable, including sex; loss of appetite, with weight loss, or overeating, with weight gain; loss of emotional expression (flat affect); a persistently sad, anxious, or empty mood; feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness; social withdrawl; unusual fatigue, low energy level, a feeling of being slowed down; sleep disturbance or insomnia, early morning awakening or oversleeping; trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions; unusual restlessness or irritability; persistent physical problems such as headaches, digestive disorders, or chronic pain that do not respond to treatment, and thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts”.  Psychologytoday defines Depression as ‘a disorder [which] is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts’ and states that it ‘interferes with daily life [&] normal functioning...and that without treatment the symptoms can last for weeks, months or years’.  Also stated is that “There is no single cause of depression.  Rather, it likely results from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors’ & that with an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) there are commonalities of people with depression and difference with the brain, the hippocampus, and the ‘neurotransmitters-chemicals that brain cells use to communicate- appear to be out of balance’.  For some people who experience Depression, it is referred to as ‘a black hole’ or ‘the black dog’, because the struggle revolving around this illness draws one down beyond emotional melancholy toward a serious and intricate disorder of the systems in which treatment is a necessary feature.

Conventional treatment of Depression is clear to be directed by a physician who uses thorough ‘examination, interview & lab tests’, and considering ‘certain medications...medical conditions’ which may have an affect, and this process could also include a referral to a mental health professional for further treatment.  Family history for Depression may also be considered.  A history of length and severity of symptoms is also relevant, as is drug & alcohol history use, and history of thoughts of death &/or suicide.  Often antidepressants are prescribed which normalize serotonin & norepinephrine.  Popular medications include SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) which include Prozac, Celexa, & Zoloft.  It is important to have a relationship with a medical professional when taking medications for Depression, and to take the medication for the period specified by the doctor to avoid relapse, and a doctor should be consulted before blending with other therapies, and a doctor should also be consulted and aware of any side effects.  Many treatment plans combine psychotherapy for persons with Depression.

CAM treatment

  Stated in the text by Micozzi, “depression has been shown to correlate with increased oxidative damage to DNA, a process critical in tumor development and progression”  and that psychological stressors observe an affect of the health, though through CAM therapies the stressors are often reduced and there is an effect of balance with the overall health.  Using Acupuncture regulates the body’s energy field and will have an effect on Depression through the energy meridians by bringing the body to a state of release which overcomes through use in the treatment as “once the point has been needled and qi obtained, the practitioner...[may]...achieve a specific therapeutic effect”.  (p.523, Micozzi) According to healthcmi, “Acupuncture alleviates depression and anxiety, boosts Paxil...is effective for the treatment of depression...[&] after the additional of abdominal acupuncture points, the patient outcome rate increased to 89.6%”.  It is believed that acupuncture ‘unblocks the choked meridians and [aids in] maintaining smooth flow of energy through the meridians’.  There is very few side effects to acupuncture, and even less with the application of acupressure, which can be used for relief by applying the pressure on a few of the many spots in the body which work to counter depression, such as points on the head, third eye, chest and inner arm, at specific points with specific measurements mapped.  With Aromatherapy the top essential oils used for treatment are bergamot, lavender, chamomile and ylang ylang, and these are ‘applied topically or aromatically, usually as a cream or in a diffuser’ (draxe.com)  According to healthline, “People who received the aromatherapy massage experienced significantly less pain and depression”.  Biofeedback could also cause the development of coping with regulation of Depression, giving more resilience through the methods of training in clinics or hospitals.  According to some sources Chiropractic treatment also enhances health with depression. Arcadiachiro, (2015) claims that mental health chiropractic care [for] anxiety and depression have proven to improve in the majority of chiropractic patients.  Guided imagery is also suggested for Depression, and bebrainfit claims “meditation works as well for anxiety and depression as commonly prescribed medications, and although they seem sincere, I think medication should not be underrated.The most common dietary supplements foe Depression are Omega-3, probiotics, vitamin B12, SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine), Tumeric, & Vitamin D, and of course there has been speculation for a long time that St. John’s Wart is very effective.  According to wellness-institute, “Hypnotherapy can be used effectively as a treatment option for depression” and claims to “get down to treating the underlying cause of depression” as with hypnotherapy “we can go to the deepest level of traumatic experience, memories and stored emotions to release them from the mind and body” which helps people to “resume living their lives again” (2016).  Massage therapy is known to improve well-being greatly, and still, sometimes massage can be difficult as it may have an emotional affect, as also meditation and relaxation may also be difficult for some people to experience mentally and emotionally, though it may also be seen as part of the healing process.  Many Yoga practitioners may also claim that a yoga practice connects in a powerful and healing way which may aid in balancing and restoring “both the physical and emotional body”, and as I swear by Yoga, a dedicated practice can sometimes be challenging yet certainly alleviates the mood and health well.

  For the Combined treatment in Depression, a healthcare professional should be consulted, though most CAM therapies will most likely enhance well-being and quality of life for people experiencing and living with Depression.  Most of all, what can help Depression is a healthy and balanced diet and appropriate exercise (Even a few times a week, though I would recommend yoga daily for at least 18 min). 

  The risks & benefits associated with Depression are concerning, especially concerning the risk of suicidal tendency, and this aspect should be monitored carefully and openly with a healthcare professional.  Also risks of using supplements should also be of concern to the healthcare professionals, but mainly with diet and nutrition, eating healthy food with lots of Omega-3 in balance is recommended for most disorders and illnesses.  The benefits of diet can be a major effect in recovery, as well exercise can keep balance and help maintain health and prevent relapse.  The benefits of insight is gained with much therapy, and having a plan in times of relapse can help one recover sooner.  Long-term, it is important to maintain lifestyle and I would encourage the use of these CAM therapies blended with the conventional treatment, and I think all of them are worth a try, and that choosing a few to engage with may facilitate recovery and wellness by the positive impact that CAM therapies may have in blended treatment, though I would recommend counselling in prescribing an appropriate and individual treatment plan for a person living with Depression.  A balanced diet, regular exercise regime, and the use of mindfulness meditation, and auricular acupuncture are a common plan for treating illness’ as such.

Conclusion

  As CAM therapies continue to excel in the medical world, there is much to attain, as there are cultures worldwide whom have equivocal methods of treating the health with awareness and tact.  The skill of medical understanding comes forth with the discovery of ways with which people can overcome, alleviate, and survive in well-being to incorporate a quality of life with the environment and the balance of the body’s systems.  In our society, we should focus upon the maintenance of health through the careful balance of activities and regimes which keep us healthy, and of which CAM may be the greatest impact of our health.  And even though we try to succeed in healthy lifestyles, illness can fall on any one, and in those times, seeking professionals who have diverse resources in the development of medical practice worldwide may offer a broader view in restoring health and longevity.  CAM therapies offer a perspective which gives a dynamic view of how to manage the many ailments people live with, or even what people try to do to prolong their lives with quality and beauty.  It is part of life to discover a world of ways to survive with endurance, and the difference that CAM therapies resurging and being preserved may mean longevity for future generations as well.  I believe CAM therapies should be considered with any medical treatment, and I have hope that in the future life may be of a balanced medicine of body, mind, and spirit, understood and taken into the account that healthcare is about the whole person, and promoted to be of a worldview which remains true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Micozzi, Marc S, ed.  Fundamentals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 5th ed., Elsevier Saunders Publisher, U.S.A., 2015.

“Depression Herbal Supplements and Natural Remedies”, https://www.webmd/depression/guide/alternative-therapies-depression#1, 2005-2017.

“Depression(major depressive disorder)- Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic”, https://mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/diagnosis-treatment, 1998-2017.

“Natural Remedies for Depression: Are they effective?”, http://www.mayoclinic.org, July, 2015.

“An Overview of the Treatments for Depression”, https://www.verywell.com/treatments-for-depression, October, 2017.

“CAM Therapies in Mood Disorders”, https://www.medscape.com, 1994-2017.

“Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Major Depression”, https://www.mentalhelp.net, September, 2007.

“Alternative medicine for depression”, Harvard Health Publishing, harvard Medical School, July, 2007.


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