What is depression?
Depression is very common and complex and often the symptoms can be different for everyone. We all feel moody, sad or low sometimes but depression is more than a low mood. Depression is a serious condition that affects all aspects of your life, your physical as well as your mental health.
What causes depression?
It is not exactly known what causes depression. The following causes are suggested by the most recent research:
Life Events: continuing difficulties like unemployment, abuse, isolation or loneliness and prolonged stress.
Personal Factors: family history, personality, medical illnesses, drug and alcohol use.
Depression is complex and there is still a lot that we don’t know. It is not simply the result of a chemical imbalance but it is complicated and there are usually multiple causes.
Standard Western treatments for depression.
Because depression is different for everyone, there is no proven way to recover that suits everyone. Psychological (also know as talking therapy) and medical (antidepressant medication) treatments are the most common ways of intervention.
These treatments are very valuable and often help in recovery. For many people, finding a combination of things often works best. There are a lot of options out there that can help support recovery from depression, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, relaxation training, educating yourself, support groups and social activity can all be part of your recovery plan.
Traditional Chinese medicine offers a different view, a more holistic approach to depression and can be a great source of support.
How does Traditional Chinese Medicine view depression?
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) point of view, the underlying imbalances leading to depression can be several different ones. This makes that treating depression with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is very unique and has an individual approach.
In TCM emotions are related to the Yin organs, and the symptoms someone experiences tell us which of the organs is not in balance. Let us have a look at the Yin organs related to the 5 Elements that each have their own way of expressing symptoms of depression.
- Wood Element – Liver: The Liver is associated with creativity, intuition and making of plans. A healthy Liver enables planning and has a clear vision and insight. When the Liver energy is out of balance there will be a lack of inspiration, loss of insight and diminished creativity. No motivation or insight to start anything.
- Fire Element – Heart: The Heart is associated with feeling energetic, enthusiastic, connecting to other people and the emotion of Joy. When the Heart energy is out of balance there will be a lack of joy, the mood will be very flat, nothing is exciting and there will be a tendency to withdraw from other people.
- Earth Element – Spleen: The Spleen is responsible for thinking and mental activity. When the Spleen energy is out of balance there will be excessive thinking, worry and an inability to concentrate. One will quickly lose interest and will not be able to focus on the simplest of things.
- Metal Element – Lungs: The Lungs are related to sadness and when the Lung energy is out of balance it will show as a constant feeling of sadness and crying. There will be extreme sensitivity and vulnerability and one might feel isolated from the world and society.
- Water Element – Kidneys: The Kidneys are associated with memory, motivation, ambition and will power. Healthy Kidney energy means that we feel stable in the face of adversity, when there is an imbalance there is a lack of grounding. This type of depression deals more with despair and fear.
What is involved in getting acupuncture for depression?
There are many layers to understanding depression and it is of great importance to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Often this incorporates acupuncture and lifestyle advice, with the correct herbs and/or medications. When you present for your first consultation we will spend some time going through your history and health status. We will examine you thoroughly using pulse and diagnosis before we come to a personalised Chinese medicine diagnosis and treatment plan. Your treatments will be tailored to your situation and will be reviewed on a regular basis.
It is important to remember that everyone is different and you can’t always identify the cause of the depression. It is most important to recognise the signs and symptoms and seek support from health professionals that you trust.
How can I make an appointment?
Get Free access to our E-Book “Top 5 Tips on how to deal with your Depression” here.