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Mood disorders are characterized by pervasive, prolonged and disabling exaggerations of mood.


The major mood syndromes

  • Major depressive disorder (unipolar disorder)
  • Bipolar disorder (manic depressive illness or bipolar depression)
  • Dysthymic disorder


Diagnostic criteria for major depressive episode

  • Depressed mood, indicated either by subjective account or observation by others
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in activities most, or all of the day
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain, or decrease or increase of appetite
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Agitation or retardation
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.


Diagnostic criteria for manic episode

  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Decreased need for sleep, e.g. feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep
  • More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
  • Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
  • Distractibility, i.e., attention to easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli
  • Increase in goal-directed activity, or psychomotor agitation
  • Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences, e.g., the person engages in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments.


Diagnostic criteria for dysthmia

Depressed mood for most of the day for at least two years, indicated either by subjective account or observation by others.

  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
  • Feelings of hopelessness


Etiology of Depression

Genetic factors: Inherited constitutional vulnerability with continual environmental stress and life events may contribute significantly to depression.

  • Neurotransmitter dysregulation: Deficiency or excess of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine at important synaptic sites in the brain attribute to depression.
  • Environmental factors: Environmental events do exert consistent and powerful influences on brain function. Early childhood losses, death, parental separation, assault, abuse, job loss and insecurity may predispose a vulnerable individual to depression.


The Homeopathic Approach to Depression

Homeopaths are able to treat depression effectively in many cases by bringing the individual into balance. Homeopaths treat people with depression and not the depression itself. For a homeopath, what needs to be treated is the specific pattern of symptoms which an individual presents. Only the one homeopathic remedy that specifically matches the unique symptoms of the individual will bring the balance.


Why choose homeopathic remedies over conventional Medications?

  • With the emergence of new evidence indicating that depression is a chronic lifelong disease, there has been increasing emphasis on maintenance treatment to keep the person free of symptoms. This means one will be taking medications for their whole life to stay symptom free as conventional medications only control the symptoms of depression. What this means is the symptoms come right back when person stops taking the medication. One dose of the correct homeopathic remedy lasts at least one to four months. As your vital force gets stimulated and starts working for you, you may no longer need to continue taking the remedy.
  • The reason for choosing homeopathic treatment is because it is safe, harmless, non-toxic and effective.
  • Homeopathic remedies are very inexpensive. The only significant cost of homeopathic treatment is office visits. Once the person has responded well to the homeopathic remedy, appointments are infrequent.
  • Homeopathy treats the whole person. Not only do the depression symptoms improve, so do most or all of the other physical, mental and emotional complaints of the person. Conventional medications control the depression symptoms. The pros of homeopathy to effectively deal with Depression
  • Treats the whole person at the root of the problem
  • Considered safe, without the side effects of conventional medications
  • Uses natural, non-toxic medicines
  • Treats each person as an individual
  • Heals physical as well as mental and emotional symptoms
  • Lasts for months or years rather than hours
  • Is inexpensive
  • Is cost- effective


The concept of ‘VITAL FORCE’ in Homeopathy


  • The coordinating and defending principle in our body is the force or property of life itself.
  • This is the force that coordinates our System.
  • The force that keeps the balance between us and our surroundings.
  • The power that defends us from invading agents.
  • The energy that fights to get well when we are sick.
  • The energy that repairs our damaged tissues that makes us grow and develop.
  • The power that enables us to respond adaptively to an immense diversity of challenges.


What Makes Us Sick?

The deranged, disturbed disharmonious flow of Vital Force energy makes us sick.

  • Disease is not tonsillitis or headache or bacteria. These are all effects or end products of disease.
  • The real sickness is the disturbance in the normal functioning of vitality. Homeopathic Remedy corrects the disturbance and restores the normal health.

Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), a brilliant German physician, chemist and medical translator was a harsh critic of the methods of his day and strove to find a rational alternative that followed the healing principles of nature. Fluent in at least seven languages, Hahnemann extensively studied the ancient and current medical literature in order to discover what he believed to be the true principles of healing.  Hahnemann's two principal discoveries were the ‘Law of Similars’ and the ‘Idea of using microdoses’, extremely tiny doses of medicine, to stimulate the body's ability to heal itself.


The Law of Similars

The law of Similars states that a substance from nature that has the ability to cause a set of symptoms in a healthy person, can help those same symptoms in a sick person. The substance that produces the most similar symptoms will heal most effectively.

Hahnemann first discovered the Law of Similars during his experiment to discover why quinine (the active substance in today's antimalarial drugs), extracted from Peruvian Cinchona bark, cured malaria. Hahnemann took repeated doses of the extract himself to see what would happen. He developed periodic chills and fever, common symptoms of malaria.  Based on his cinchona bark experiment along with other substances, he proposed that the reason cinchona bark can effectively treat malaria in sick individuals is because of its ability to produce malaria-like symptoms in healthy individuals.  He went on to test over 100 substances on himself and his students to discover what symptoms they would produce. He found that this new form of medicine successfully treated a significant number of patients with acute and chronic diseases which up to that time had been considered incurable.  Homeopathy spread rapidly in the early nineteenth century and became renowned for its effectiveness in treating epidemic diseases such as cholera, malaria, typhoid, yellow fever, and scarlet fever.


Weaker is Stronger

In order to accomplish healing without significant side effects, Hahnemann realized that the substance dose must be very small. He created small doses by repeatedly diluting the original substance in a water and alcohol mixture to remove the toxicity and create a safe, effective medicine. He learned to retain the effectiveness of the medicine and to actually make it stronger by performing a process of shaking the medicine, called succussion. He called the combined process of serial dilution and succussion potentization.

Homeopaths commonly use medicines made with 30, 200, 1,000, or 10,000 dilutions, far exceeding the point at which molecules of the original substance should remain in the mixture. How is this possible? No one really knows how the information pattern in homeopathic medicines persists during dilution beyond the disappearance of the physical molecules of the original substance. Theories have been suggested that polarized molecules such as those found in alcohol or water are capable of forming liquid crystals that 'remember' the pattern of the original substance. A recently published book, Homeopathy: A Frontier in Medical Science, gives a good review of these controversial issues, as well as current research on homeopathic medicine.


What makes Homeopathy Unique?

Homeopathy uses only a single remedy because of the single principle that guides homeopathic practice, the law of Similars.

The challenge in homeopathy is to pick the one substance from nature that truly matches the client's symptoms. Rather than giving many different drugs to a client, a homeopath gives only one single natural remedy that is individualized according to the client's pattern of symptoms. The homeopath treats the person not the disease. This means that ten client's with depression may need ten different homeopathic remedies based on their individual differences. The homeopathic remedy must match the symptom pattern to be effective.  Although homeopathic remedies are made from substances which can cause symptoms if given too frequently or in too large a dose, in the microdoses used in treatment, the remedies are extremely safe.

The homeopath will carefully interview the person, basing the remedy on the unique characters of person rather than results of psychological testing.


Unique treatment for unique individuals

Homeopathy treats people, not diagnoses. There is a vast difference between behaviors, personalities, and characteristics of the many individuals that fall under the one diagnostic umbrella of depression. The homeopath seeks to understand the state of each individual. There are more than 2,000 homeopathic remedies; people will benefit most at any given time from the one specific remedy that best matches his symptoms. The homeopath conducts an extensive interview in which she delves into the specific behaviors, attitudes, beliefs and motivations of the individual. We ask about dreams, fears, physical symptoms, prenatal and birth history. Food preferences, sleep position, anything peculiar or striking for that individual is also discussed. This is in an attempt to perceive, to understand the uniqueness of that person. When deciding on the remedy, this uniqueness gets most importance, than the common symptoms, i.e., in depression, hopelessness, lack of motivation, lack of joy are not given importance, but, desire for grapefruits, artichokes and pickles instead of sweets/candy or strong fear of knives or tornadoes is given due importance.


The Sources of Remedies

Plants, minerals and animal products.



The secrets of the substances used in homeopathy are unlocked by experiments called 'provings'. In a proving, a substance unknown to participants or provers, is given in either a crude dose if it's toxicity is not too great, or in a homeopathic dilution until they begin to develop symptoms. Provers record whatever happens to them physically, mentally and emotionally during the experiment. These records are carefully analyzed to determine to determine the symptoms which that particular substance can produce and ultimately cure when made into a potentized homeopathic remedy.


Regulation and Availability of Homeopathic Remedies

Remedies are regulated by FDA as over the counter drugs. Homeopathic pharmacies follow rigid guidelines established by the homeopathic pharmacopoeia of the U.S.. They are available through health food stores.


What can I and my family expect from Homeopathy?

Homeopaths have high expectations for their clients. A remedy is not considered effective unless the person's symptoms are at least 50% (usually 70% or more) improved and this improvement lasts for 2 -12 months. This requires that the person stay with the homeopathic treatment for at least a year. The homeopath keeps a careful record of all the symptoms and characteristics that were elicited during each interview. As treatment progresses, these symptoms should get better and better. An improvement can usually be noticed within few months.

A person can expect his energy and overall sense of well-being to improve as well as an improvement in most or all of his mental, emotional and physical complaints. Not only does symptoms of depression improve, but headaches, growing pains, constipation, nail biting, and other symptoms improve after the homeopathic remedy has been prescribed.


Can homeopathic and conventional medicines be used together?

Yes. This is one of the most commonly asked questions. This is ultimately a decision between the person and the homeopath. In cases where the person sees no improvement from the medication that has already been prescribed, the medical doctor and patient generally agree to stop the medication and try homeopathy instead.

In other cases, the medication is working but the side effects are disturbing. With still other clients, the prescription medication is having a positive effect, but the patient or parent do not like the idea of staying on medication and seek a more natural alternative.

Another category of clients feels that their symptoms of depression are so severe that they dare not discontinue their medications until they have found another therapy that is effective. In these situations, the homeopath will start working with the homeopathic remedy in addition to the prescription drugs the person is already taking.  As the homeopathic remedy works and the client improves, the client can work with the physician to taper off the prescription medication.

Sujata Owens, RSHom(NA), CCH, HMC
Vital Force Consulting, Inc.
101 5th Street East
Northfield MN 55057



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