Depression Treated Naturally in Washington, D.C.
I am Linda Khanzetian, Doctor of natural Health, with the Washington Institute of Natural Medicine, located in Washington, D.C.
Everyone gets the blues, feels sad or “down in the dumps” occasionally, but it will generally go away in a few days. Depression is when those feelings are present for a long time without any clear reason and it interferes with your normal daily life. It may not be easy to figure out why you are depressed. Depression doesn’t always have a single cause. It can be due to a mixture of things - genes, events in your past, your current circumstances, and other risk factors.
It is still not clear exactly what happens in the brain when people become depressed. However, studies have shown that certain parts of the brain don't seem to be working normally. Depression might also be affected by changes in the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, called neurotransmitters.
Researchers know that if depression runs in your family, you have a higher chance of becoming depressed – but it is not necessarily a given that you will become depressed. Depression can show up in families where there is no history of the illness.
No one's sure why but studies show that women are about twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. It could possibly be due to the hormonal changes women go through at different times of their lives.
Elderly people are also at higher risk of depression, which can be worsened by factors such as living alone and having a lack of social support.
People with a history of low self-esteem, who worry too much, who are overcome with negative thoughts, are prone to developing depression.
Medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, thyroid problems, chronic pain, and many others may increase your risk of becoming depressed.
Trauma, such as violence or physical or emotional abuse – whether it's early in life or more recent – can trigger depression. So can grief after the death of a close friend or loved one.
It's not surprising that people might become depressed during stressful times – such as going through a divorce, caring for a sick relative or financial problems. But even positive changes such as getting married or starting a new job can sometimes trigger depression.
Many prescription drugs can cause symptoms of depression. Alcohol or substance abuse is also common in depressed people. It can be a way of coping with the stress in their lives, but it often makes their condition worse.
At the Washington Institute we offer a variety of treatments that can help alleviate many of the symptoms of depression. According to Chinese medicine, depression can occur when you repress certain emotions such as anger or guilt. Using holistic treatments and remedies can help release this blocked energy. When it is freed and rises to the surface, you can examine these feelings and deal with them.
Some people will experience unexplained pain in muscles and joints, headaches, insomnia, sadness, and just generally “not feel well”. Many people find that the medication they are taking to treat their depression doesn’t alleviate the physical manifestations.
While we do not advise abandonment of your medical treatment, we do feel natural therapies can help release blocked energy and emotions, help with generalized aches and pains, headaches, sleep disturbances, and promote feelings of well-being.
Acupressure and acupuncture can be useful in alleviating many of the physical symptoms as well as the sluggishness of mild depression. Stimulation of points balances the flow of chi and blood throughout the body and helps resolve the underlying energetic imbalance contributing to your depression. Stimulating acupuncture points releases endorphins and enkephalins. Acupressure or acupuncture treatments can have a calming, mood-elevating effect and can also alleviate physical symptoms that accompany depression such as headaches, stomachaches, backaches, and muscle aches.
Aromatherapy can help in mild forms of depression. It may ease mental fatigue and help with sleep. However, if you, or someone you know, are severely depressed, additional support and therapies may be necessary. Aromatherapy is more effective when used as a complementary therapy, assisting other therapies.
Essential oils that can be used for depression are basil, bergamot, cedarwood, clary sage, frankincense, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, jasmine, myrrh, neroli, rose, sandalwood, spruce, orange, and ylang-ylang. Prior to using these oils, it is important to consult with your natural health care practitioner for safety guidelines and proper administration.
Diet is a very important part of treating depression. Depressive symptoms can be worsened by the frequent over-consumption of caffeine, sugar, and alcohol; by deficiencies of essential nutrients such as: biotin, folic acid, vitamin B, vitamin C, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, or potassium; by imbalances in amino acids; and by food allergies. By using Kinesiology we can check the need for vitamin B, phenylanaline, vitamins C and B5, and other supplements that can offer support for all body systems, where necessary.
Homeopathic remedies can be useful if you are experiencing an episode of depression. Homeopathics are useful in alleviating the blues. Remedies are selected based on the similarity of their characteristics to the symptoms that you are experiencing. Treatment will be selected by the symptom picture and then a single or combination remedy will be recommended. Also a constitutional remedy may be selected. In addition there might be dietary advice and recommendations for cleansing, as well as changes in lifestyle.
Guided Imagery or visualization can also be useful if you're depressed. Doing a guided meditation for relaxation and stress reduction can alleviate the tight, stressed feeling and tight muscles associated with depression. It can also help by adjusting your outlook on life and instilling feelings of well-being.
Hypnosis can be used to change physiology, language and thought patterns, as well as belief systems and personal history.
Body work such as massage is very soothing and invigorating. It incorporates the therapeutic effects of touch. If you are feeling down and blue, start your day with some exercise followed by a massage. Therapies such as healing touch or Reiki are hands-on techniques that are also helpful in treating both depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety are frequently more amenable to physical touch than verbal therapies. These therapies are particularly important for people with a history of physical and sexual abuse or poor body image.
Reflexology works the acupuncture points on the feet, hands or ears that correspond to every organ and gland in the body including the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, and parathyroid. Since all of these glands are associated with emotional stability and mental health, applying pressure to them or massaging them can help to relieve your depressive symptoms.
If you think you might be suffering from depression, see your physician for a medical diagnosis. If the symptoms are not too severe you may be able to handle them by utilizing one or more of the therapies I just outlined. If conventional medication is needed, then natural therapies can be selected to complement the conventional care.
Further information can be obtained by contacting the Washington Institute of Natural Medicine at (202) 237-7681.
Washington Institute of Natural Medicine
Dr. Linda Khanzetian, NHD
5101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20016
5101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20016
About the Author:
Dr. Linda Khanzetian, NHD a Doctor of Natural Health and body work practitioner has been caring for the sick for over 10 years. Through her studies she became certified in: Holistic Health, Reiki, acupressure, and guided imagery. She is currently working as a Doctor of Natural Health and teacher at the Washington Institute of Natural Medicine. The Institute is located at 5101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016. The phone number is (202) 686-8202. The web site is: http://www.naturalhealthdc.com/