Dr. Pizzorno's naturopathic approach to treating depression identifies five
primary determinants of mood: physical factors; social factors (family and
social patterns), mental factors (a person's thinking patterns), emotional
factors and spiritual factors. For example, on the physical level we may
need to eliminate toxins, normalize endocrine function and neurotransmitter
metabolism, increase exercise and light exposure, and utilize natural mood
elevators. On the mental and emotional levels we may need to deal with
family of origin issues, employ psychodynamic approaches when necessary, or
even follow a prescription for having fun if we are in need of lightening
up our lives.
Dr. Pizzorno offers a fascinating case study to illustrate naturopathic
medicine's comprehensive and effective approach to dealing with depression
that first provides the necessary and immediate symptomatic relief while
treating the primary causes.
Women's Depression: An Integrative Approach -- Hyla Cass,
Psychiatrist and author Hyla Cass, an expert in integrating leading-edge
natural medicine with innovative psychotherapy, and Assistant Clinical
Professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, encounters many women in her
private practice with typical psychiatric complaints: depression,
addiction, impaired concentration, eating disorders, weight gain, insomnia,
anxiety, fatigue, and sexual dysfunction. Rather than approaching her
patients from a standard psychiatric, drug-prescribing perspective, Dr.
Cass examines other possible underlying causes for their depression and
related symptoms: genetic predisposition, hormonal imbalances, food and
chemical sensitivities, chronic fatigue syndrome, candidiasis, toxic
reactions, and nutritional deficiencies.
Her integrative approach to treating depression and mood disorders in women
utilizes a wide range of therapies depending upon the specific history and
biochemistry of the patient as determined by laboratory tests. These
therapies include dietary therapy and nutritional medicine, amino acid
therapy, herbal medicine, and natural hormone therapy, as well as mind/body
therapies, leading-edge forms of psychotherapy including Voice Dialogue,
and when necessary, conventional antidepressant medications. Dr. Cass'
integrative approach to treating depression and its underlying metabolic
causes is also relevant to men, with the exception of the specific hormonal
A Comprehensive Approach to Depression: Nutritional Medicine and
Biofeedback -- Melvyn Werbach, M.D.
Psychiatrist Melvyn Werbach presents a "new" model for looking at
depression based on the natural and holistic principles of Hippocrates, the
ancient Greek physician/healer recognized as the father of Western
medicine. Depression can be viewed in three different ways according to
Dr. Werbach: as a failure of a body system, a psychological defense, and a
physical or psychological warning of the imbalance between mind and body.
Optimal treatment involves a holistic approach which integrates the best of
psychiatry, nutritional medicine and mind/body therapies.
Dr. Werbach, an internationally recognized authority in nutritional
medicine, an early pioneer in biofeedback research at UCLA, and Assistant
Clinical Professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, provides a clear and
in-depth explanation of the nutritional treatment of depression through
diet and nutritional supplementation, based on solid scientific research.
Dietary factors and common foods associated with depression are examined
such as caffeine, sugar and alcohol, as well as specific nutrient
deficiencies including vitamin B-Complex, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin
B12, and vitamin C, as is neurotransmitter precursor therapy to raise
serotonin levels. A case study emphasizes the importance of integrating
therapies such as biofeedback and relaxation response training into a more
comprehensive model of treating depression.
The Natural Pharmacy: Herbal Medicine and Depression -- Janet Zand,
Depression is an enigmatic and complex phenomenon according to Dr. Janet
Zand, a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, author, and a nationally known expert
in herbal medicine. In fact, many of the numerous symptoms of
depression--chronic fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, headaches,
backaches, bowel disorders, and feelings of worthlessness and
inadequacy--can, in other circumstances, be the cause of depression. Herbal
medicine has a long and respected history, and holds a valuable place in
the treatment of mental/emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression
as well as the vast majority of health problems. The proper use of herbs
not only helps to alleviate symptoms, but also helps to treat the
underlying problem and strengthen the overall functioning of a particular
organ or body system.
Dr. Zand profiles the Western and Chinese herbs herbs that have proven
effective in treating depression, anxiety and mood disorders, including St.
John's wort, kava, Siberian ginseng, Ginkgo biloba, astragalus, Dong quai,
bupleurum, milk thistle, ginger root, and valerian. She also provides a
list of essential oils that are helpful in alleviating depression as well
as a useful herbal chart for quick reference. This chart lists the herbs
and the corresponding symptoms of depression that it addresses, along with
how the herb is taken, plus any possible side effects.
Homeopathy and Depression -- Jacquelyn Wilson, M.D.
Homeopathic remedies use minute doses of a medicinal agent that stimulate
the body's own natural powers of recovery to restore balance and health
rather than to simply suppress symptoms. Dr. Wilson, a nationally
recognized authority in homeopathy and past President of the American
Institute of Homeopathy, has found this system of natural medicine to be
consistently effective in treating mental and emotional problems, as a
method of individual self-care, and in more serious cases, when
administered under the care of a health professional. In classical
homeopathy, however, there are numerous forms of depression, as depression
is not considered to be a single disease but a specific symptom-picture.
Classical homeopathic prescribing matches a single remedy with a patient's
detailed symptom profile. The keyto the homeopathic approach to treating
depression, therefore, is to find the medicine that corresponds or is
similar to the depressed person's mind and body traits, and complaints.
The most important homeopathic remedies for depression are described in
this chapter, along with the appropriate Bach Flower remedies and cell
salts, including each remedy's matching symptom profile. Dr. Wilson also
distinguishes between the advantages and disadvantages of the two primary
forms of homeopathy--classical single remedy prescribing, and complex
homeopathy which uses combination remedies. She provides a fascinating
account of a serious depressed woman who did not respond to
antidepresssants and conventional medicine, but significantly benefited
from a specific homeopathic remedy.
Qigong, Chinese Medicine and Depression: Roger Hirsh, O.M.D.
Chinese medicine as well as the many Chinese healing arts and martial arts
are based on the concept of Qi or vital force. Chinese philosophy
believes that the free and unobstructed flow of qi throughout the organ
meridian system of the body brings radiant health, whereas its blockage or
stagnation results in reduced energy that can lead to health problems.
There is a strong recognition in Chinese Medicine of the role of the
emotions in health and illness. When the body and mind move in harmony,
positive emotions prevail. Depression, however, is due to a stagnation of
emotional Qi within an individual's internal organs, especially the liver,
kidneys and lungs. If the Qi is deeply stagnated for a period of time it
can affect every organ meridian system and cause severe depression.
Dr. Hirsh, a respected doctor of Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, and
a longtime teacher of Qigong and taiji (tai chi), leads the reader in a
journey into the secrets of Qigong, an ancient Chinese art of energy
training and rejuvenation. Qigong is increasingly utilized in health care
settings worldwide, and is used in both the prevention and treatment of
depression. For those experiencing either acute or deep-seated depression,
Hirsh provides some simple Qigong exercises which involves breathing,
visualization and movement to stimulate and energize. The first set of
Qigong exercises are warm-ups that can be performed either individually or
as a group to help deal with mild to moderate depression. The second group,
"The Eight Silken Brocades" is a set of ancient exercises that help to
stimulate and tonify the whole biomechanical system of the body in order to
relieve stress, maintain youthfulness, and promote general well-being.
Ayurveda for Depression and Mental Health -- Shri Kant Mishra, M.D.,
M.S., Doctor of Ayurveda
Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine in India practiced
continuously for over 5,000 years, literally means the "Science of Life."
The principal goal of Ayurveda is the preservation and promotion of health
with special emphasis on preventing illness. The secondary goal of this
form of medicine is the treatment of physical, mental and spiritual
illness, according to Dr. Shri Kant Mishra, an internationally renowned
neurologist, and the only western-trained M.D. working in the U.S. with a
formal degree in Ayurveda from Benares University in India. In addressing
one's overall heath, Ayurveda embraces a holistic perspective, integrating
all aspects of life--nutrition, hygiene, sleep, seasonal changes,
lifestyle, and physical, mental and sexual activities. Diagnosis and
treatment in Ayurvedic medicine revolves around determining the
individual's constitutional profile, which is based upon the unique
combination of the three doshas or humors (vata, pitta and kapha). Illness
and depression results when there is a dosha imbalance.
This ancient system of natural medicine has a long history in the areas of
mental health, rejuvenation, and longevity through the use of diet and
lifestyle practices, herbs, massage, yoga, and meditation. Dr. Mishra
explores the Ayurvedic approach to attaining a balanced state of mental
health and focuses on specific approaches to treating vata, pitta and kapha
forms of depression. He also provides yogic practices such as pranayama
(breathing practices) and meditation to help promote optimal health and
mental clarity and balance.
The Spiritual Dimension of Depression -- Carlos Warter, M.D.,
The great spiritual traditions of the world tell us that pain and suffering
are rooted in the forgetfulness of our true divine nature-- our separation
from the universal source. Psychiatrist Carlos Warter, M.D., Ph.D., a
pioneer in spiritual psychology and psychospiritual integration, shows us
how depression can manifest through ignoring or forgetting our true
identity as spiritual beings. In treating hundreds of individuals with
symptoms of depression, Dr. Warter recognizes the validity of each
treatment modality, and the importance of looking at the physical,
biochemical, mental and emotional causes of depression. To be really
effective, however, he has discovered that one must cross into the realm of
the spiritual to create a truly comprehensive treatment approach. "In the
majority of depression cases that I have treated," says Warter, "the
essential problem is that the individual's identity is firmly established
in the smaller story of the personality and their larger, divine identity
has been 'forgotten.' "
The solution, according to Warter, is to help the individual to move from
the small, contracted story where depression is able to develop, to the
awareness of a larger dimension of one's being, the large or big story of
human life. This elevation in awareness entails a fundamental shift in the
very notion of who one is, thereby undercutting very basis of the
existing depression. In this final chapter, Dr. Warter charts out the
spiritual terrain of healing, by combining both eastern and western
spiritual traditions, and providing many practical tools and exercises to
help us reclaim our wholeness and spiritual birthright.