Depression has been a growing problem in the United States for the past few decades. It is complicated in that the term carries a simplistic definition in the minds of the general public, when in reality there are many different kinds of depression with a variety of underlying causes. I will shed light on some of these here as well as discuss some of the approaches that effectively treat depression, one of them being a safe, effective and growing choice, acupuncture.
Depression is a natural condition, on one hand. It is only in a sustained state and/or severe one that it becomes something to be addressed or treated. We all suffer at times. It is a part of life. It is our response to stress or negative situations that dictate much of how we move through versus get stuck in difficult times. The depression that comes from difficulties is called situational depression. It may come from a break-up, death of a loved one or loss of a job.
People seem to have less coping skills, these days, and are thus not moving through tough times as they once did. As a result, more situational depression is leading those suffering to remain mired in it instead of moving through it. There are many theories as to why, but I will say that from what I’ve seen, it is poor mindset, lifestyle choices and poor diet that are most often causing people to be stuck.
There is another form of depression called energetic or functional depression. It is often from any impairment to organ/gland processes and/or communication, be it neurological or hormonal. When there is a lag in function, our feelings tend to follow. In other words, as the body goes, the mind goes…and vice versa. Further, this also means that on-going depression often leads to physical ailments/disease.
Spinning off from these kinds of depression are a variety of feelings; hopelessness, emptiness, loneliness, disconnectedness, self-loathing, embarrassment, guilt, shame, fear, and so on. It is not just mind and body that are affected.
Over time, our spirit; what some would say our will to live or, what I would say is more accurate, our fire to strive or live with purpose, is diminished. If our spirit becomes so weakened, thoughts of suicide are common. In severe cases, medication, albeit demonized for causing more problems than good, is called for, at least to get someone through severe depression and/or suicidal thoughts.
Many Doctors are not equipped to deal with the problem beyond medication and thus, many Patients are left on Meds that are meant to be short-term, for far too long. If this is the route you have been sent down, it is imperative that you work with a specialist who knows other strategies and emphasizes a drug-free existence as the goal.
In all other cases, there are many effective strategies; Acupuncture, Diet/Supplements, Counseling/Psychotherapy, EFT, and many other Mind-Body Techniques. For those who have the proper care-givers, there is no reason to remain stuck in depression (or most other chronic health problems).
Acupuncture is the use of one-time use, sterile stainless steel, hair-thin needles that are used to stimulate areas of lower electrical resistance called acupuncture points. Acupuncture sparks function, opens up areas of congestion or stuck energy and fluids and also, due to the micro- injuries, the body’s natural pain-killers called endorphins, are often released causing a relaxing and often sedating effect. There are specific points that are used, not for a disease label (remember that there are many kinds of depression) but for that particular person and their specific imbalances. We treat the person, not the disease.
As Acupuncturists, we are trained to look at many variables to determine where there is excess and where there is deficiency. We have a number of tools in our “toolbox” to address these imbalances and thus, restore the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
As powerful as Acupuncture can be, it is part of a person’s treatment plan. To treat depression properly, it is important to address the root causes. As I say so often, it will be a combination of things a person is doing that they shouldn’t be doing and things they aren’t doing that they should be doing. As mentioned above, oftentimes this involves addressing diet, and many times, this involves taking quality supplements (not found at box stores, but with companies that strictly work with licensed healthcare practitioners and who have R&D departments and who do assays on their products to make sure they have what they say they have in them).
Meridian Autonomic Testing (MAT) is just one technique I use to discover nutritional needs in the body and I have seen many people respond extraordinarily well, to the point they won’t miss follow-up checks that are done every 1-3 months. But make these necessary additions and subtractions, along with uplifting energy and function through the use of Acupuncture and almost everyone who comes through our doors moves beyond their diagnosis back into a life of balance and well-being.
If you or a loved one suffers from depression, please call Paul Gerst L.Ac. of The Balanced Path Wellness Center in Medway, MA for Acupuncture and Natural Healthcare at 774-283- 2726, or Cindy Meeske LICSW for Psychotherapy or Reiki at 774-573-1644.