Microsoft word - why is chinese medicine so effective for depression.docx
Why is Chinese Medicine so Effective for Depression? Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin…these names have become familiar to most of us. Why? Because depression has become so prevalent in our society. We are constantly pressured to do more and get more done, while struggling with the pressures of our personal and professional lives, the economy, and national and world events. Sometimes, depression is an appropriate response to a situation. For example, you SHOULD feel sad if your pet dies. But when our feelings overwhelm us, interfere with our day-to-day activities, or simply hang on too long, it’s time to ask for help. But why are there so many different antidepressants, and why don’t they all work for everyone? Perhaps you know someone who has taken an antidepressant, and has had to change prescriptions one or more times to find something that worked. Perhaps you’ve experienced this yourself. Why is that? Western Medicine looks at depression as a disease, and tries to treat it with a pill. But even Western Medicine acknowledges that there may be a variety of biological and chemical factors that contribute to depression. So, how can one pill be right for everyone? And how do you prescribe accurately if you haven’t determined which factors are out of balance? This is really the key question. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), on the other hand, views depression as a symptom, rather than as a disease. Think about that. TCM begins with the idea that there are many factors that may contribute to your emotional state. Determining which factors are out of balance will lead us to a correct diagnosis of the underlying problem. Once the underlying problem is identified, it can be treated, leading to a cessation of the symptom – in this case, depression.
For example, according to TCM theory, what we call depression may be caused by Liver Qi Stagnation, Spleen Qi and Heart Blood Deficiency, Lung Qi Deficiency, Heart Qi Deficiency, Heart and Lung Yin deficiency, or a combination of any of these. By reviewing your medical history, examining you, and listening to your description of your symptoms, your Acupuncture Physician can differentiate which of these patterns is leading to your feelings of depression, sadness, or grief. This is how we arrive at a “differential diagnosis.” That diagnosis will allow your Acupuncture Physician to determine a treatment plan that is tailored specifically to you and your patterns. The person with Lung Qi Deficiency will not receive the same treatment in herbs or Acupuncture points as the person with a Spleen Qi and Heart Blood Deficiency. Since the practitioner tailors the treatment to the individual patient and treats the root cause of the symptoms, the treatments tend to be much more effective than a “one size fits all” approach. And to top it all off, although herbs and Acupuncture can be very powerful, they are much less likely to cause unpleasant side effects than most conventional Western antidepressants. When depression becomes so severe that it interferes with your daily life, some form of counseling may also be very helpful for many people. Whether this takes the form of talking with friends, pastoral counseling, or psychotherapy, talking about your feelings may really help you resolve them. But before jumping into prescription antidepressants, consider the alternative of Traditional Chinese Medicine. -Tom Elman, AP, LMT President Jade Tree Wellness Center, Inc. www.JadeTreeWellness.com
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