Depressive disorders have been around right from the the beginning of recorded history. Hippocrates referred to depression as melancholia, which literally means black bile. Black bile, along with blood, phlegm, and yellow bile were the four humors (fluids) that accounted for the basic medical physiology of that time. Depression has been portrayed in literature and the arts for hundreds of years. In the 19th century, depression was seen as an inherited weakness of temperamen.
- Depressive disorders come in different forms, just like heart disease and diabetes. The three most common types of depressive disorders are discussed below. However, within each of these types, there are variations in the number, severity, and persistence of the symptoms.
- Major Depression Major depression is characterized by a combination of symptoms, including low moods(see symptom list) that interfere with the ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. Disabling episodes of depression can occur once, twice, or several times in a lifetime.
Dysthymia is a less severe type of depression. It involves long-term (chronic) symptoms that do not disable, prevent the affected person from functioning on ‘full steam’ or feeling good. Sometimes, people with dysthymia also experience episodes of major depression. This combination of the two types of depression is referred to as double-depression. Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)
Another type of depression is bipolar disorder, which was formerly called manic-depressive illness or manic depression. This condition shows a particular pattern of inheritance. Not nearly as common as the other types of depressive disorders, bipolar disorder involves cycles of depression and mania, or elation. Bipolar disorder is often a chronic, recurring condition. Sometimes, the mood switches are dramatic and rapid, but most often they are gradual.
When in the depressed cycle, the person can experience any or all of the symptoms of a depressive disorder. When in the manic cycle, any or all of the symptoms listed under mania may be experienced. Mania often affects thinking, judgment, and social behavior in ways that cause serious problems and embarrassment. For example, unwise business or financial decisions may be made when an individual is in a manic phase.
Adults: You may be said to have clinical depression if you have a depressed mood for at least 2 weeks and have at least 5 of the following symptoms:
- Feeling sad or blue
- Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
- Inability to sleep or excessive sleeping
- Agitation or irritability
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Children: Children with depression also experience these classic symptoms, but may exhibit other symptoms as well, including the following:
- Poor school performance
- Persistent boredom
- Argentum nitricum [Arg Nit]
- Frequent complaints of physical problems such as headaches and stomachaches
- Some of the classic “adult” symptoms of depression may also be more obvious in children, such as change in eating or sleeping patterns. (Has the child lost or gained weight in the recent weeks or months? Does he or she seem more tired than usual?)
- Parents of children with depression report noticing the following behavior changes. If you notice any of these, discuss this with your health care provide
- The child cries more often or more easily 8. The child spends more time alone, away from friends and family
- The child actually becomes more “clingy” and may become more dependent on certain relationships. This is not as common as withdrawal
- The child expresses thoughts about hurting him or herself, or exhibits harmful behavior. The child seems to be overly pessimistic or exhibits excessive guilt or worthlessness
- Elderly: While any of the classic symptoms of depression may occur in elderly people, other symptoms also may be noted
- Silicea (also called Silica)
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate
- Silicea (also called Silica)
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate
- Unexplained physical complaints (for example, abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits or muscle aches)
- Memory impairment (in about 10% with severe depression)
Some of the commonly indicated medicines are Anacardium, Arsenic-alb, Aurum-met, Ignatia, acid-phos, Pulsatilla, Natrum-mur, sepia, Antim-crud, Naja, Nux Vom, Stann, Psorinum etc. The selection of medicine varies from case to case.
Ignatia is often prescribed for depression caused by grief, with wildly fluctuating moods and inappropriate behavior such as bursting into tears or laughing for no reason. Also used for emotional causes, cramps, trembling, spasms, oversensitivity to all stimuli, and pain in small areas. It is commonly used to treat acute emotional problems or grief. Also treats ailments with contradictory symptoms,headaches, and coughs. Symptoms are worse in the morning and better while eating. This remedy may be required by those who frequently sigh, sob uncontrollably, are moody, and high-strung.
Puls is recommended for depression caused by hormonal changes. The person bursts into tears at the slightest provocation, wanting a lot of reassurance and attention. Symptoms are better from motion and worse from heat.
Sepia is useful if you feel depressed and irritable, dragged down by responsibilities and worries. Used for slowness, dullness, pale skin, exhaustion, hair loss, morning sickness, post-partum depression, and vaginal infection and other gynecological complaints. Symptoms are worse before noon and better after exercise. Arsenicum if the person is restless, chilly, exhausted, obsessively neat and tidy.
Aurum metallicum [Aur met]
Aurum is indicated in patients who have feeling of self-condemnation and utter worthlessness. Profound despondency, with thorough disgust of life, and thoughts of suicide. Talks of committing suicide. Great fear of death. Peevish and vehement at least contradiction. Anthropophobia. Mental derangements. Constant rapid questioning without waiting for reply. Cannot do things fast enough. Oversensitiveness to noise, excitement, confusion.
Kali phosphoricum [Kali phos]
Kali phos helps in nervous depression from grief and worry. It is the principal tissue salt for the nerves and should be used alternately with other remedies. Used for exhaustion, nervousness, and oversensitivity caused by immense stress or overexertion. It is often needed by students who over study and break down. They become weak, irritable, and angry. Symptoms are better after eating and worse from worry or touch.
Natrum muriaticum [Nat mur]
Nat mur is indicated for depressed spirits and feelings of hopelessness. This sadness is typically accompanied by headaches and constipation. Used for acute emotional problems and grief. Dry mucous membranes, water retention, weakness, watery discharges, eye strain, menstrual headaches, cold sores, gingivitis, bad breath, anemia, constipation, backache, and indigestion. In women, this remedy is used for absent menstruation as a result of shock or grief, irregular menstruation, vaginal discharges, and vaginismus. Symptoms are better from sweating, fresh air, and fasting. People who require this remedy may be depressed or irritable
Natrum sulphuricum [Nat sulph]
Nat sulph relieves depression following an injury to the head. Symptoms are better with fresh and dry air, and worse in the morning and late evening.
Calcarea phosphoricum [Calc phos]
Calc phos helps with wandering thoughts and poor concentration. Symptoms are generally better in the summer in warm, dry weather. It is commonly used for people who demonstrate fretful whining, always wanting to go somewhere
Oak personality is driven by a strong sense of duty and responsibility but then don?t know when to stop even when exhausted. These people will get really sick or have a debilitating accident or symptom that literally stops them.
Ambra Grisea [Ambra G]
Ambra is mainly useful in people who dread of people, and desire to be alone. Cannot do anything in presence of others. Intensely shy, blushes easily. Music causes weeping. Despair, loathing of life. Fantastic illusions. Bashful. Loss of love of life. Restless, excited, very loquacious. Time passes slowly. Thinking, difficult in the morning with old people. Dwells upon unpleasant things. Important key note is history of repeated deaths in family