Acupuncture, Herbs, Nutrition
Dasha Trebichavska, L.Ac.,RN, M.S., Arizona
"I have been helping
people overcome a variety of health issues using a combination of holistic
treatments over the last 15 years. As a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist,
A broad spectrum of safe, natural, effective treatment modalities available.
Free phone consultation, no long
A practitioner you can trust--in practice for more than 15 years.
Outside medical referrals provided
Treating Depression With Traditional Chinese Medicine and Nutrition
Depression is projected to become the second leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020 (Lancet, 1997; 349:1498-1504). In America alone, for example, more than 28 million people take antidepressants and anti-anxiety agents.
Depression is a mood disorder characterized by feelings of sadness, despair, apathy, frustration, tiredness, anxiousness, lack of appetite, and so on. Traditional Chinese doctors have treated the symptoms of depression effectively for many centuries by going to the root of the problem. Chinese Medicine can help to manage the symptoms with acupuncture and herbs without causing side effects.
Depression has both psychological and biological origins. Western medicine treats depression with drugs, many of which have unfavorable side effects. These include drowsiness, blurred vision, constipation, upset stomach, headache, low libido, and anxiety. Studies have shown that 80 percent of all people on antidepressants have a recurrence within three years after stopping medication. In addition, long-term use of antidepressants and other drugs alters brain chemistry. (Christiane Northrup, M.D., The Wisdom of Menopause, p.309-311). Psychotherapy is often prescribed to help with the psycho-spiritual causes of depression.
According to Chinese medical theory, depression is a sign of specific organ energy being blocked and/or deficient. If qi becomes depressed or deficient it can consume and damage the heart energy, which is the basis of the spirit. This can also damage and consume heart blood and spleen (digestive) energy or can even damage kidney yang and/or consume kidney yin (meaning various functions of kidneys). Though lack of free flow of the emotions may be the primary cause of depression, poor diet and insufficient exercise also play very important roles. For instance, eating too much of sugary, fatty, spicy, or frozen foods slows down the function of the liver and spleen, which can lead to depression.
In Chinese Medicine, there are different causes and mechanisms for depression in different people. An acupuncturist typically finds imbalances that are unique to the patient and tailors an acupuncture and herbal treatment that help correct these imbalances. (Rosa N. Schnyer, B. Flaws, Curing Depression Naturally, p.43-45)
The patient is kept on western pharmaceuticals as long as necessary while the various organ systems are balanced with acupuncture/herbs. Going off medication is not advised without doctor's approval.
Nutrition and Depression
The main triggers for depression are: stress, chemical imbalances in the brain, thyroid disorders, nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, sugar imbalances (hypoglycemia), lack of exercise, and others. One of the most common causes of depression is food allergies (look into BioSET for help).
Foods greatly influence the brain's behavior. A poor diet, especially one with a lot of junk foods (high in simple sugars and fats), is a common cause of depression. The levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which are closely linked to our mood and regulate our behavior, are controlled to some extent by what we eat. The neurotransmitters most commonly associated with mood are dopamine and norepinephrine (improves alertness and thinking, and serotonin (eases tension, regulates sleep and appetite). The amino acid L-triptophan is a building block for serotonin and is present in complex carbohydrates (not simple sugars). High-protein foods, on the other hand, promote the production of dopamine and norepinephrine.
Some of the nutrients that have been found to be deficient in patients with depression include: calcium, vitamins B6, B12, magnesium, amino acids-L-Tyrosine, L-Tryptophan (5 HTP), GABA, inositol, fatty acids, zinc and copper, vitamin C, and iron, omega-3 fatty acids
Other health factors found in people with depression are unstable blood sugar level (from poor diets) and heavy metal toxicity (aluminum, lead).
It is important in treating depression, therefore, to test for the possible causes of this condition. The following tests should be considered: saliva hormone test, allergy test for food and chemical sensitivities and analysis of a digestive function, plus other additional laboratory tests. In addition, an acupuncturist will assess qi (energy), blood and other organ imbalances that need to be corrected with acupuncture and herbs.
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