Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Homeopathic Treatment of Depression

Certainly modern allopathic medicine has made great strides in the treatment of depression. Modern drugs often can effectively and rapidly elevate mood. As an experienced homeopath, however, to my mind something is lacking in this form of treatment. For one thing, the drug(s) must be continually administered; discontinuation usually leads to relapse. Such treatment is therefore not curative, only palliative; it has induced no lasting adjustment of the organism to a state of health. Secondly, these drugs address only the mood disorder. If other health problems, physical ones, coexist in the patient, additional drugs must be prescribed. Surely the best possible treatment would address multiple health problems in the individual simultaneously and provide lasting relief — a re-establishment of functional equilibrium. Such is the goal of homeopathic medicine. The correct prescription, sometimes given as but a single dose, can lastingly cure depression plus a number of other health-related problems in the same patient. Such is the realization of homeopathic medicine when successfully applied. Below is the case history of a patient I treated fairly recently.

Scarlett, a thirty year-old woman, paid me a visit for treatment of long-standing depression. She recalled having felt depressed since the age of ten, with frequent thoughts of wanting to die. Those thoughts had stayed with her throughout her life. While thoughts of suicide factored prominently in her mind, she did not seem a significant suicide risk as she found herself easily distracted from such thoughts and stated that her sense of maternal responsibility was far too strong for her to ever consider killing herself. She had one child.

Her depression was much worse prior to her menstrual period. Associated with her depression was great anger — anger in general and at herself. She reproached herself for her moods and “violent” tendencies — she wanted to throw things when angry. She was very depressed for nine months after her pregnancy.

Her thoughts of suicide had always been associated with self criticism. She felt herself to be a terrible mother. Her changing moods caused her to at times fear for her sanity.

Scarlett was an open person, sympathetic, and appreciative of comforting. She was a very conscientious and orderly person.

She had been subjected to much abuse in her life. Her mother was emotionally and physically abusive. Rather than submitting, she fought back. Her husband, whom she was divorcing, had also been emotionally abusive and very critical. She strove to avoid confrontations with him during their marriage.

She was worse cold, wet weather, and she craved sweets and chocolate. She also salivated in her sleep. She complained of episodes of a heart irregularity which were worse when she lay upon her left side. Lastly, a few months previously she had been diagnosed with cervical dysplasia.

On analysis of Scarlett’s symptoms the striking characteristics of her case, and those which suggested a particular remedy, were her prominent suicidal thoughts, her exaggerated tendency to self criticism and guilt, her conscientiousness, and her fear of insanity. These characteristics, coupled with the aggravation from cold, wet weather, salivation during sleep, heart palpitations while lying on her left side, and cervical dysplasia all suggested the homeopathic remedy Thuja occidentalis (North American white cedar or Arbor vitae). Accordingly, one dose of Thuja 200C was administered.

With her first menstrual period after the remedy, Scarlett felt worse; her depression was more profound, though not dangerously so. This reaction can be consistent with the temporary aggravation of symptoms often seen after the correct homeopathic remedy has been given. By her second menses, however, she was feeling considerably better. She was only mildly depressed, was not angry, and her suicidal thoughts were dramatically reduced. At this point the remedy was repeated. Subsequently, she was much improved. Her moods were much lighter, with no suggestion of depression or suicidal thoughts. Her heart irregularity disappeared, as did her nocturnal salivation. She is awaiting a return visit to her gynecologist for evaluation of the cervical dysplasia. My expectation is that this will be improved as well, Thuja having frequently been demonstrated to alleviate this condition in the past.