Depression is more common than you might think. In fact, mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety attacks, likely hit close to home for most people. Depression is a serious medical condition that can even run in the family—it sure does in mine.
Seven years ago, my mother was diagnosed with manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder. For so many years she was undiagnosed.
My brother would constantly fall into depressive ruts where he would trap himself in his room for days—he was never diagnosed.
Even I have experienced depression. In high school and throughout college, I was depressed, but I never said a word. I mean, who would understand, right? At least that’s what I thought.
Many people have a problem acknowledging depression. They feel like they are admitting defeat, or declaring that something is wrong with them. It couldn’t be further from the truth. One of the keys to overcoming depression is being open about it—yet many people suffer in silence for years. From personal experience, just having someone who is non-judgmental to open up to makes a huge difference.Ad
Depression Affects Many Americans
It would be advantageous if more people had life coaches, councilors, or psychotherapists that they could turn to. Just think about it. Telling someone that you are depressed is the first step toward recovery. That way, necessary changes can be made to shift your life into a brighter direction.
As it stands now, approximately one in five people will go through depression at some point in their lifetime. Every year, about 10% of Americans experience an episode of depression. In the U.S., major depression is considered to be one of the most common mental disorders. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in a given year there are an estimated 16 million American adults, 18 years of age or older, with at least one major episode of depression. About 20 million Americans are diagnosed as clinically depressed every year—that number doesn’t include the people who suffer in silence.
Also Read: Signs and Symptoms of Male Depression
Why Use Homeopathic Remedies for Depression?
A friend might tell you that depression is all in your head, or you may be too scared to open up to a psychiatrist. You may also fear the thought of taking antidepressants—the conventional treatment for depression (over 30 million Americans take antidepressants to help relieve depressive symptoms). Luckily, there are natural, homeopathic remedies for depression, which we will go over shortly. First, let’s take a look at the numerous adverse effects of antidepressants.
Dangers of Conventional Medical Treatment for Depression
A few of the top medical journals question the effectiveness of antidepressants in patients with mild or moderate depression. A 2002 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggested that a placebo had a greater effect than the antidepressants venlafaxine and fluoxetine.
The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial observed 51 major depression patients during a nine-week period. A quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG) device was used to evaluate brain function differences between the placebo and the antidepressant groups. Also consider the 2008 meta-analysis published in the renowned peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE.
The meta-analysis reviewed antidepressant trials that were submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for six of the most common antidepressants: citalopram, sertraline, paroxetine, nefazodone, venlafaxine, and fluoxetine.
The researchers found there was a very small difference between the antidepressant and placebo groups in major depression patients and that many unpublished studies submitted to the FDA showed different results. According to the researchers’ analysis, when the unpublished data was included, the antidepressant criteria would fall below clinical significance.
It is also important to note that drug companies only need to provide the FDA with two positive antidepressant studies to gain approval for a particular drug, even though they may also submit several more negative trials.
Not to mention, there are also numerous adverse effects associated with antidepressants. The list includes anxiety, dry mouth, blurry vision, insomnia, headaches, nausea, weight gain, agitation, and digestive issues such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, or constipation. A person on antidepressants may also experience a decreased desire for sex and have issues achieving an orgasm. Men may also have a problem attaining an erection.
Does Homeopathy for Depression Really Work?
Many people wonder if homeopathy for depression is a reputable treatment. Some people believe that homeopathy is nothing but a “placebo effect.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. Homeopathy treats babies, young children, and animals—and they are not vulnerable to the “placebo effect.” Even if homeopathy was only a “placebo effect,” that may not be so terrible in depression, especially when placebo treatment is just as good, if not better, than antidepressants.
But, again, the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies for depression should not be attributed to the “placebo effect.” It is a medical system that is over 200 years old, and it uses highly diluted and very potent, naturally active substances from animals, plants, and minerals. In mental health conditions, such as depression, a homeopathic or holistic practitioner must interview the patient and retrieve all relevant information about all of their emotional, mental, and/or physical symptoms. They would then match the individual with the best energetically aligned homeopathic remedy.
Why should you use homeopathy for depression? Clinical trials are known to support the efficacy of homeopathic remedies for depression. According to an eight-week, double-blind, randomized, controlled study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, custom-prescribed homeopathic remedies have an equal effect to the antidepressant drug fluoxetine.
The researchers randomly divided 91 patients with moderate to severe depression into a homeopathy group and a fluoxetine group. The two groups showed equal improvement after four- and eight-week cycles. The important takeaway here is the homeopathy group reported far less side effects than the antidepressant group. Homeopathic remedies for depression are not known to have any side effects. In another study, Duke University researchers found that homeopathic remedies for depression, panic disorder, or social phobia responded well in nearly 60% of the patients.
Causes and Symptoms of Depression
Homeopathy for depression is not easy to access. First off, the person must show four to five of the symptoms associated with depression. These telltale signs include
- Physical inactivity or hyperactivity
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Poor or an increased appetite
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Decreased interest in pleasurable activities, like sex
- Decreased energy and fatigue
- Feelings of guilt
- Worthlessness, pessimism, and hopelessness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts or attempts of suicide
- Persistent sadness
The individual is likely depressed when he or she displays at least four symptoms. The individual will show at least five signs for a clinical depression diagnosis with symptoms lasting for about a month.
Overall, there are various reasons a person may be clinically depressed. Brain structure changes may lead to mood disorders. For instance, low serotonin levels are associated with anxiety, irritability, impulsiveness, aggressiveness, and depression. The symptoms also seem to get worse as serotonin levels drop further.
It is also vital to address other possible underlying causes and associated conditions, including nutrient deficiencies, excessive alcohol consumption, hypoglycemia, diabetes, lowed thyroid function, low adrenal dysfunction, food allergies, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lung disease, heart disease, chronic pain or inflammation, liver disease, multiple sclerosis, seasonal affective disorder, and cancer.
Prescription drugs linked with depression include sedatives and tranquilizers, corticosteroids, antihistamines, blood pressure-lowering drugs, anti-inflammatory agents, and birth control pills. Heavy metals, solvents, pesticides, and herbicides are also known to lead to depression and other neurological and psychological conditions. A stressful life situation may also trigger depression, such as a divorce, death of a loved one, or loss of a job.
List of Homeopathic Remedies for Depression
There are several homeopathic remedies for depression that can complement a natural treatment. Some of the top remedies for depression include arsenicum album, aurum metallicum, calcarea carbonica (calcium carbonicum), ignatia amara, kali phosphoricum, cimicifuga, lachesis muta, natrum carbonicum, natrum muraticum, pulsatilla nigricans, sepia, staphysagria, phosphoric acid, and causticum.
Some other remedies that may be prescribed include china, graphites, lycopodium, platina, sulfur, thuja, and cadmium sulphuricum.
Details of Homeopathic Remedies Used in the Treatment of Depression
As you can see, there are many homeopathic remedies for depression. The challenge is to find the homeopathic remedy that best fits the personality and symptoms of the person. You will find that this can be fairly difficult, especially when some of the person’s symptoms overlap. Here are some further details about the top homeopathic remedies for depression.
1. Arsenicum album: It is the best remedy for excessive worriers, especially for those that obsess about health and can be classified as a perfectionist. They often are depressed when they fail to reach personal lofty standards. The person’s symptoms are usually worse in colder weather, and they are also very sensitive to pain.
2. Aurum metallicum: Aurum metallicum is the best remedy for the workaholic with a tendency toward worthlessness, despair, and suicidal thoughts after a failure at work or in their personal life. Symptoms often get worse at night or during the colder months, but these individuals may find relief from calming music.
3. Calcarea carbonica: Calcarea carbonica is often used for the dependable and industrious types that become overwhelmed from physical illness, work, or worry. The person may also develop fatigue, anxiety, self-pity, discouragement, and confusion. This remedy is also best for people who sweat easily and who suffer from insomnia and periods of sluggishness.
4. Causticum: Causticum is the necessary homeopathic remedy when the person is depressed after a loss or when grieving. Other indications for this remedy include forgetfulness, frequent crying, and mental dullness. The person is often also very sympathetic toward others, and they can have an angry and discouraged world outlook.
5. Cimicifuga: This is the recommended remedy for someone who is energetic and talkative during the good times; however, they feel gloomy and upset during episodes of depression. Other symptoms include neck pain, headaches, and painful menstrual periods.
6. Ignatia amara: Ignatia amara is often best for sensitive people that tend to suppress disappointment or grief. They also do not want to appear too vulnerable, defensive, moody, or guarded in the eyes of others. On occasion, they may burst into tears or laughter for no particular reason. Other symptoms may include abdominal cramps, headaches, or insomnia.
7. Kali phosphoricum: The person that requires kali phosphoricum will likely feel depressed after prolonged periods of emotional stress or excitement. They may also experience nervousness, exhaustion, lack of concentration, headaches, insomnia, anemia, sensitivity to the cold, and indigestion.
8. Lachesis muta: Lachesis muta is the appropriate remedy when depression is caused by suspicion, jealously, or repressed feelings. It is also prescribed for people who dislike commitment or confinement. The person may be worrisome, very talkative, and experience menopausal depression.
9. Natrum carbonicum: Natrum carbonicum is considered the best remedy for people who are selfless, gentle, and mild by nature. The person tends to avoid conflict and usually becomes depressed after a disappointment of some kind. When they feel lonely, they will become isolated, withdrawn, and listen to sad music. Other symptoms will include nervousness and sensitivities to weather changes, sun, and certain foods.
10. Natrum muraticum: The person that requires natrum muraticum will often hide strong inner feelings such as anger, fear of misfortune, grief, or romantic attachment. They are also responsible, reserved, guarded, and they seek solitude. Although they also seek sympathy, they can become angry if someone attempts to console them. Other symptoms include migraines, insomnia, back pain, anxiety, and hopelessness.
11. Phosphoric acid: Phosphoric acid is the best remedy for the person who is dull, indifferent, and apathetic. Other symptoms include loss of appetite and often feeling overwhelmed from overwork, grief, studying, or heartbreak. They also desire juices, often speak in short phrases, and experience night sweats. Depressive episodes often are worse from sleeping.
12. Pulsatilla nigricans: Pulsatilla nigricans is often used for people who become tearful and sad when depressed, and they desire lots of comfort and attention. They are also very moody, jealous, and whiny. The person’s mood will improve with fresh air, crying, and light exercise. Pulsatilla nigricans is the best remedy when depression occurs in conjunction with menopause, menstrual periods, or puberty.
13. Sepia: Sepia is the best remedy when a person is overwhelmed from loved ones and family members. They will also often want to be alone and they may become angry when bothered. They may feel better after crying and they prefer not to be consoled. Other related symptoms include digestion problems and menstrual issues.
14. Staphysagria: Staphysagria is the best homeopathic remedy for a person who is sensitive, quiet, and emotional. The person may be addicted to work and have a problem standing up to others. The depression can be caused by shame, resentment, suppressed emotions, and hurt feelings. When under too much pressure, they may experience fits of rage. They may also have a high sex drive and experience insomnia, headaches, toothaches, stomachaches, and stress-related bladder infections.
It is always best to consult with a homeopathic or holistic practitioner for the best remedy and dosage instructions. It is best to stop taking homeopathic remedies for depression after symptoms improve. If there is no improvement from the remedy after 10 days, seek further advice from a homeopath for a more appropriate remedy.
Other Natural Home Remedies for Depression
Homeopathy for depression and anxiety is considered very effective; however, it is always best to consult a homeopath or holistic practitioner for the correct homeopathic remedies.
It is also wise to add other complementary natural home remedies for depression. It is helpful to address common depression-related nutrient deficiencies such as omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, zinc, chromium, vitamin C, vitamin D, and B vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, biotin, folic acid, and B12. S-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe), 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, and lavender oil are other common supplements used for depression.
Be sure to also avoid consumption of stimulants such as caffeine or alcohol. Meditation, yoga, walking, qigong, and tai chi are simple and peaceful exercises that can also help relieve stress and depression.
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Stengler, M.A., “Yes, Homeopathy Can Help Depression,” Bottom Line Health web site, December 1, 2011; http://bottomlinehealth.com/yes-homeopathy-can-help-depression/.
“Side Effects of Antidepressants,” Clinical-Depression.co.uk web site; http://www.clinical-depression.co.uk/dlp/treating-depression/side-effects-of-antidepressants/, last accessed April 23, 2015.