1. The Homeopathic Materia Medica
Homeopathy has been treating people suffering from depression now for over 200 years. In the Homeopathy Materia Medica the term ‘depression’ is not used. It is a highly medicalised word. Instead, it is the word ‘sadness’ that is used. Large numbers of homeopathic remedies have large, and quite intricate symptom pictures dealing with all kinds of emotions - including sadness (or depression).
In his book, "Homeopathic Psychology: Personality Profiles of the Major Constitutional Remedies", Philip Bailey, MD., lists 35 remedies as being the most useful in coping with sadness, and provides detailed psychological descriptions of each remedy. Here are some of them, with brief descriptions.
Powerful depression: despair, anger, anxiety. often contemplates suicide; alternates with contained state. Withdraws into self (Nat Mur, Aurum). PMT; post natal depression. Confusion with sudden bouts of rage or violent impulses
Endoginous / organic depression; in the pit of despair, with self-loathing; self-recrimination, isolation. Silent, flat emotional expression. Does not weep. Thinks fondly of death
The chief remedy for grief (with Nat Mur). Both feel unloved during childhood, trauma of losing love. Nat Mur is more controlled, silent grief. Ignatia will sob hysterically at first, shock reaction, followed by weeks of emotional volatility. Loss of control; hysterical. Also tends to isolate herself (epilepsy, cramps, numbness, etc); can be deep /prolonged; uncontrolled weeping, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite; hysteria
Not really a depressive type; but withdraws; sits/broods; has little self-respect; worse when waking, improves as day goes on.
More prone to depression than any other group; arises from suppressed sadness, inability to cry; many abused women; sudden onset; triggered by loss of love (bereavement, separation); series of traumas, starting with difficult birth; lack confidence and self-esteem; a silent depression; apathy; sleeps/eats a lot; better for company; but withdrawn, and consolation makes her worse; related to hormones in female cycle; manic depressives (depression alternating with euphoria).
Depression and mania. Pressure of thoughts, dwells on past. Thoughts crowd in, obsessive. Many regrets. Unrealistic romantic desire. A gentle melancholy, but resists suicide because of strong family ties. Very sensitive, emotional person, strong sense of values. Claustrophobia, stoicism, self-reproach in more depressive cases.
Profound grief, ailments from grief; separation from partner, emotions shut down. They can remember a time when they were happy, and that their feelings are not normal. Being in a state of limbo. Long term grief. Very passive.
Sensitive to withdrawal of affection; insecure, weeps, runs to bedroom when unhappy, or shouts and cries; irritable. When happy, excitable or mild and co-operative; fun loving, sociable; flirtatious; interested in personal side of relationships.
When true nature suppressed, loses spirit, deadens appetite for life; sluggish mentally and physically, loses enthusiasm; emotions blunted, she becomes indifferent (to family), just feels irritable, impatient; unsociable. Loses enjoyment of being sociable, indifferent to pleasure. Drained of energy and motivation. Feels panicky, weepy, anxious; restless; fears develop; fear of insanity; depression, agoraphobia, withdrawal.
Manic-depressive psychosis, with manic side more to the fore. Restless, aimlessly busy, cannot sit still. Depression - brooding despair; sits silently for hours thinking about how wretched he feels. Despairs of recovery.
2. Randomised Controlled Tests (RCTs)
Homeopathic individualized Q-potencies versus Fluoxetine for moderate to severe depression: double-blind, Randomized non-inferiority trial.
Adler, Paiva, Cesar, Adler, Molina, Padula, Calil. August 2009
eCAM 2009; Page 1 of 8; doi: 10.1093/ecam/nep114
“This study illustrates the feasibility of randomized controlled double-blind trials of homeopathy in depression and indicates the non-inferiority of individualised homeopathic Q-potencies as compared to fluoxetine in acute treatment of outpatients with moderate to severe depression”.
(In other, simpler words, the authors found that individualised homeopathic prescribing using Q (LM) potencies is as effective as fluoxetine in the treatment of patients suffering acute moderate to severe depression).
Homeopathy for depression: a systematic review of the research evidence.
Pilkington K, et al. (2008)
Homeopathy, 94, 153-163
3. Conventional Medical Treatment for Depression
According to the NHS Direct website, your doctor might refer you for counselling (talking therapy), and if he does this there are no drugs involved, and therefore no adverse consequences.
Otherwise, the doctor will prescribe Antidepressant drugs, of which there are evidently about 30 different kinds.
SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)
These are drugs based on Prosac, thought to be a ‘wonder’ drug when it was first introduced in the 1990’s. They are now known to have very serious adverse reactions, which include apathy, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, headache, tinnitus, dizziness, fatigue, urinary retention, insomnia, weight loss or gain, increased risk of bone fracture, unwanted changes in sexual behaviour, depression and anxiety, panic attacks, tremors, renal impairment, cardio-vascular problems, suicidal thoughts, photosensitivity, mania, hypomania, bipolar disorder, and much more.
The sexual side effects have been widely commented upon, such as sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, diminised libido.
But it is the increased risk of suicide in children and adolescents that have been most worrying, and this has led to a few of these drugs being withdrawn from the market, whilst the remaining SSRI drugs now have ‘black box’ warning about their ‘adverse reactions’!
TCAs (Tricyclic Antidepressants)
These drugs also have many adverse reactions, including minor side-effects like dry mouth, dry nose, blurry vision, to more serious conditions such as constipation, urinary retention, cognitive and memory impairment, and increased body temperature. They are also known to cause drowsiness, anxiety, apathy, confusion, restlessness, dizziness, hypersensitivity, changes in appetite and weight, sweating, sexual dysfunction, muscle weakness, nausea and vomiting, hypotension, tachycardia, and irregular heart rhythms. They can also cause hallucinations, delirium and coma by overdose.
MAOIs (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors)
This class of drugs also has serious adverse reactions. They include severe anxiety, confusion, seizures or convulsions, severe drowsiness or dizziness, cold clammy skin, rapid and irregular pulse, fever, hallucinations, severe headache, coma, tremors/spasms, excessively high or low blood pressure, muscle stiffness, difficulty breathing, extreme sleep difficulties, or abnormal irritability.
But above all, these drugs are known for the problems they cause when they interact with other drugs, and even with foods, so they have an effect on diet. They can also cause serious withdrawal symptoms.
SNRIs (Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors).
The most common adverse reactions include loss of appetite, weight, and sleep, but there is also drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea/vomiting, sexual dysfunction, and urinary retention. There are two common sexual side effects - diminished interest in sex (libido) and difficulty reaching climax, similar to the SSRIs.
Drug Withdrawal Symptoms
As NHS Direct says, antidepressants can be addictive, and when you stop taking them you may have some withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- upset stomach
- flu-like symptoms
- vivid dreams at night
- sensations in the body that feel like electric shocks
ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy)
If these drugs do not work, then you might be offered ECT, where you will be given an anaesthetic and drugs to ‘relax’ your muscles, and then receive electric shocks to your brain.
The information on this webpage represents the views and opinion of the author, based on his clinical experience. This material is provided for information only, and should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Always consult with a suitably qualified healthcare practitioner for advice about the treatment of serious or life threatening conditions