Find the Best Depression Cure for You
Homeopathy can offer you relief from mild to severe depression. The key to success is finding the remedy that matches your emotional and physical needs.
Homeopathic remedies can provide a fast, lasting cure for depression. Part of the reason these natural remedies are so effective is that they match your personality and individual symptoms. For example, the remedy Ignatia uplifts people who become depressed after the death of a loved one. (To see how Ignatia delivered relief to one woman who took part in our annual Reader Makeover, see Carol Meriano's story in “3 Readers, 3 Months, 3 Transformations,” page 62.)
Although prescription drugs can also ameliorate depression, they have some shortcomings. Antidepressants do not cure you. In many cases, you're expected to use them for life and risk side effects like insomnia, headaches, and reduced sex drive. And some people taking antidepressants develop dependency and experience withdrawal if they stop taking them.
Homeopathy has none of these problems. Instead of suppressing symptoms, the remedies deliver minuscule amounts of natural substances that are thought to boost your body's healing powers. A person undergoing a bout of depression commonly takes only one to four doses of a homeopathic remedy before experiencing relief. The scores of practitioners I work with as a homeopathic educator have told me repeatedly that administering the correct homeopathic remedy can lift depression within hours and provide lasting relief for their patients.
Most of the evidence supporting the effectiveness of homeopathy for depression is anecdotal. But one groundbreaking study on this subject was published in Alternative Therapies in 1997. Researchers at the Duke Medical Center in Durham, N.C., followed 12 patients with depression or a social phobia who were experiencing mild to severe symptoms. They received homeopathic treatment for seven to 80 weeks. By the end of the study, seven patients, or 58 percent, had responded favorably.
Homeopathic remedies treat all types of depression, but severe depression demands the help of a homeopathic or conventional practitioner. (To find a homeopath, call the National Center for Homeopathy at 877-624-0613 or visit www.homeopathic.org.) Severe depression symptoms include having thoughts of suicide or being unable to experience pleasure most of the day for two weeks straight.
If the depression is not severe, you can treat yourself or a family member with the following homeopathic medicines.
Read the symptom profiles for each of the eight remedies below and put a check mark next to the symptoms that most closely match yours. (The symptoms aren't always directly related to depression. One profile, for example, asks if you crave salt.) Choose the remedy with the most check marks. If you find that several depression types seem to fit, pick the type whose symptoms you feel most strongly. For dosage, see “What to Take, What to Expect,” at left.
Do You Sob Inconsolably? Try Natrum Muriaticum
If you can't be consoled when you feel depressed and you have many of the symptoms listed below, consider Natrum muriaticum.
• You try not to cry, but when you do, you sob. •You feel betrayed or disappointed by a person you trust. •You withdraw when you feel depressed. •You dwell on grievances or disagreeable situations from the past. •You have had inadequate bonding with your mother or father (or both) or feel a lack of nurturing from them. •You feel depressed prior to or during menstruation. •You crave salt. •You feel worse during hot weather.
Are You a Type A Personality? Try Aurum Metallicum
If you are an ambitious, competent person who becomes depressed when you begin to perform poorly, consider Aurum metallicum if you also have most of the symptoms listed below.
• You are serious, aloof, hard-driving, intimidating, and arrogant. •You have lost your creativity. •Everything in your life seems to be going downhill. •You feel worthless. •You've become despondent about everything. •You are easily offended and feel humiliated when criticized. •You are oversensitive to noise and light. •You have head pain that is worse at night. •You have high blood pressure and possible heart disease. •Your physical and emotional symptoms worsen at night. •In extreme cases, you think of suicide or have attempted it. (If this last symptom describes you, seek professional medical and mental health care immediately.)
Have You Been Humiliated? Try Staphysagria
If you became depressed because of an insult or loss of pride and have many of the symptoms listed below, consider Staphysagria.
• You try to maintain your dignity despite being beaten down by another (or others). •You try not to lose control of situations. •You are easily offended. •Your depression comes after a bout of anger. •You may tremble when you feel strong emotions. •You have strong sexual desires but try to keep them in control (which may lead you to think a lot about sex). •You pity yourself.
Do You Need to Be Hugged? Try Pulsatilla
If you crave being hugged when you're depressed (and people like to hug you), and you also have many of the symptoms below, consider Pulsatilla.
• You are easily brought to tears. •You feel better with sympathy and consolation or after crying. •You become childlike and may want your mother's attention. •You are sensitive and experience mood swings. •Your personality is gentle, mild, and yielding. •You hate arguments and disagreements and avoid them. •You have great difficulty making decisions. •You worry about what others think and want to please them. •You feel self-pity. •Your symptoms worsen before or during menstruation. •You desire open air or experience relief outside; stuffy rooms aggravate your symptoms. •You have little thirst. •You crave rich, fatty foods.
Do You Feel Lethargic? Try Calcarea Carbonica
If you become lazy when depressed (except at work or when cleaning your house) and have many of the symptoms listed below, consider Calcarea carbonica.
• You don't like to try new things or take risks. •You handle depression by doing simple tasks or chores. •You are overwhelmed and burdened by trivial bad news. •You give priority to others' needs. •You seek protection and security. •You don't go out much, except to familiar places. •You are obstinate. •You have a fleshy body that lacks muscle tone. •You perspire profusely. •You feel more depressed from exertion. •You crave eggs and dairy products.
Do You Crave Movement? Try Sepia
If your depression improves only with exercise and you have many of the symptoms listed below, consider Sepia. •You're going through menopause or your depression occurs prior to and during menstruation. •You feel physically exhausted or fatigued much of the day. •You are unhappy with your body and think that you are unattractive (to the point of obsessing). •You feel tension between your love relationships and your job. •You work hard, in part to forget your emotional problems. •You have a sarcastic wit that comes out when you're irritable. •You have little sexual energy. •You weep when talking about yourself. •You feel depressed about your financial situation. •You feel depressed upon waking.
Are You Grieving? Try Ignatia
If you became depressed due to a traumatic event like the break-up of a relationship, the death of a loved one, or physical or mental abuse, and you also have most of the following traits, consider Ignatia.
• You sigh frequently. •You experience mood swings. •You consider yourself a romantic and idealistic person; in the past you may have felt disappointed because your high ideals were not met. •You want to be alone to cry or sob. •You express your emotions with passion. •You have a lump in your throat. •You may have bulimic tendencies.
Does Depression Fatigue You? Try Phosphoricum Acidum
When depression drains your emotional and physical energy and you experience many of the symptoms below, consider Phosphoricum acidum.
• You have no interest in activities or items that you previously counted as favorites. •Exercise increases your fatigue and depression. •You're emotionally numb or indifferent. •You feel empty inside. •You can't concentrate and you don't feel as intelligent as usual. •You're lost motivation at work and aren't interested in business matters. •You brood over past disappointments like lost love. •You are oversensitive to light, sound, and odors. •You feel physically weak, especially in the morning. •Your hair has turned gray or fallen out after an episode of severe depression or grief. •You are aggravated by exposure to the cold outdoors and to drafts.
What to Take, What to Expect
Once you've chosen a remedy, take one dose of the 30X or 30C potency every six to 12 hours, up to four doses for a bout of depression. Stop taking the remedy if your depression lifts. If you notice no difference after four doses, wait 72 hours, and if nothing has changed, choose another remedy or see a homeopath.
Homeopathic remedies sometimes initiate a healing process that leads to skin rashes, nasal discharge, coughing, early and profuse menstruation, and other symptoms. Practitioners consider these changes a normal part of the healing process. They should go away within a few hours to a few days. You'll know they signify healing if you also improved psychologically. If a homeopasthic medicine provides relief for no longer than two weeks, and you've tried it for three or more bouts of depression, consider seeking professional homeopathic or metal health care.
For More Information
To learn more about using homeopathy for depression, read Prozac-Free: Homeopathic Alternatives to Conventional Drug Therapies by Judyth Reichenberg Ullman, N.D. and Robert Ullman, N.D. (North Atlantic, 2002) and Homeopathic Psychology by Philip Bailey, M.D. (North Atlantic, 1995).
By Dana Ullman, M.P.H.
ILLUSTRATED BY Jonny Mendelsson
Dana Ullman, M.P.H., is a Berkeley, Calif.-based homeopathic educator and a member of Natural Health's advisory board. His most recent books are Essential Homeopathy (New World Library, 2002) and Homeopathy A–Z (Hay House, 1999).