Complementary and Alternative Treatment for Depression

Complementary and Alternative Treatment Depression 9Complementaryand Alternative Treatment for Depression

ComplementaryandAlternative Treatment Depression

Depressionis a commondisorderthat is closelylinkedto thephysicalhealth.Andrews (2010) describedepressionas thepredominantpsychiatric syndromeof aging,with significanteffectson health-related quality.Depressionhas nogender,lifestyle backgroundpredilection,orage,andcan potentiallyoccurin allpersons.Forthisreason,itis highlyprevalentin a largepopulation,affectingapproximately121 million peopleworldwide.Accordingto Andrews, depressionis rankedas thesecondmajorcauseof disabilityin termsof disabilityadjustedlifeyearsbetween ages15 to 44 yearsforbothgenderscombined.Thus,depressionis viewedas a commondiseasesaffectingat leastonepersonout of fivein theirlifetime.

Theyhavebeenreportsthatdepressionis oftenunder-diagnosed in medically illpatients,especiallyamong olderadults.Since depressionrarelyhas a singlecause,itrequiresa holistic approachto itsunderstandingandtreatment.However,expertsin thefieldsof ComplementaryandAlternative Medicine(CAM)continueto presenta comprehensiveandholistic visionin thetreatmentof depression.Mostadultswith severedepressionare turningto complementaryandalternative medicinefortreatmentas itis alsoconsideredpartof theconventionalmedicine.

Individualswhoseillnessis not responsiveto cure,palliative approacheswithin thedomainof complementaryalternative medicineincludeexpressiveartstherapies,acupuncture, relaxationtechnique,massage, spiritual/religiousstimulation, transcranial magneticstimulation, herbalmedicines,mind-body techniques,musictherapyandnutritional anddietary supplementsamong others.Nonetheless,patientswishingto takethisholistic approachof alternative treatmentrequireappropriatemedicaladvicefrom a medicalexpert.

Benefitsof CAMs

Mindandbodytechniques

Thecommonmind-body techniquesthatusedby alternativeandcomplementarymedicinepractitioners in thetreatmentof depressionincluderelaxation,supportgroup,grouptherapy,guidedimagery,visualization, andmeditationamong others. Meditationpracticeshavebeenestablishedas a treatmentthat is helpfulin addressinganxietyanddepression,as wellas, reducingstresseffects.Althoughseeminglyrathermysterious,themostcommonformsof meditationincludesfocusingon an imagein themind’seye,listeningto repetitive sound,focusingon theof one’sownbreathing, andconcentratingon an idea,phrase,orpleasantthoughtamong others.Theideabehind thispracticeis to focusattentionanddispelthethoughtsthat are normallyclouding themind.

Overthepastyears,mindfulness meditationprogramsbased on stressreductionhaveprovenbeneficialin decreasingmooddisturbanceandresultingto a stateof pleasantrelationwith mentalcalmness.Manymeditationpractitioners havedocumented an improvedqualityof life,as themaingoal,which is to calmandstabilizethemindisachievedthrough thispractice.Arecentpreliminarystudyinvestigatingtheeffectiveness of meditationreportedthatparticipationin theprogramcultivates andmaturesan altered,nonjudgmental attitudeto cognitionsandemotionalstates(Kotsirilos andVitetta, 2010). KotsirilosandVitetta addsthatmedicationhas alsobeenfoundeffectivein enhancingqualityof life,decreasingstress,increasingpositiveattitude,as wellas, reducingsymptomsof bloodpressure,cardiovascular diseases,chronic pains,andthestressof cancerpatients.Besides, meditationis funandthosewhopracticeitreportimprovedmobilityandpleasantrelaxation.

Supportgroupshaveprovento be extremelyhelpfulto patientswith a varietyof sicknessesincludingdepression.Variousstudiesindicatesthatone of a patient’smajorconcernis thatof dyingalonewithout havingreceivingsupportfrom familyandfriends.Thesestudieshavealsoestablishedthatsimplesupportgroupsare extremelyhelpfulbecausetheyhelpimprovethequalityof lifein a patient’shealingprocess.Patientsreceivingsupportfrom thegroupsare betterableto cope with pain,experiencelesspsychologicaldistress,increasephysicalactivityandhavereducedanxietyanddepression.

KotsirilosandVitetta (2010) emphasizesthata socialconnectionis an importantfordepressedpatients,comparedto socialisolationexperiencedby manypatients.In fact,themajorreasonwhymassive a number of people go to complementarymedicinepractitioners is becausethephysiciansspenda considerableamountof timewith theirpatientsthan domostphysicians.Thesemedicalpractitioners gettheirpatientsenrolled andengagedin supportgroups,which adda lotto theirrelationshipwith patients.Eventually,thesupportgroupsbeginteachingthepatienton coping skills,self-pain management,andvariousproblem-solving techniquesto helpthem dealwith therootproblemof theirillness.Patientswholearnanddevelopthesecoping skillsbecomemoreconfidentandcomfortablewith theirillness,as wellas, moreat easewith theirhealthcareproviders. Clearly,supportgroupsare beneficialandhavemorevalueas theyimprovethequalityof life,abilityto cope andinteract,anddecreasepainanddepression.

Othermind-body techniquesof treatingdepressionthat includevisualization, massage, musictherapy,andrelaxationresponsesare knownto stimulatetheflowof bloodin thebody,as wellas, relievetensionin themuscles.Forinstance,relaxationresponsesencouragestheessenceof sittingquietlywith closedeyes,thenbreathingslowlyanddeeplywith thediaphragm andsilentlycounting,orsayinga wordwith eachexhalation.Thispracticeis easyto doandhas beenbeneficialin reducingbloodpressureanddepression.Ontheotherhand,visualization focuseson creatingguidedimageryin themind,wherethepatientsimaginethemselvesas freeof certainhabits,freeof diseasesandhealthy.Thisconceptascertainsthatifa personrepetitively embedsa desirestateinto theirsubconsciousmind,themindconnectionswill worktoward thatstatein an ongoingfashion.Lastly,musictherapyis an acceptedpracticeof treatmentbecausetheyhelpin moodimprovement.Additionally, theseformsof therapypromoteself-worth, performanceandfeelingsof controlover a person’smood.HerbalMedicine

Herbshavebeenusedin preventionandtreatmentof variousdiseasesto promotetheoverall healthfrom ancienttimes.Althoughmanypeopleare inherentlysuspiciousof theherbalmedicine,thetruthis, until recently,mostof themedicationscamefrom plants.Theuseof herbs orplantsformedicinalpurposesis advantageousbecauseitensuresthatthecompoundsare purebecausetheyare nature.Reportsindicatethatamong thecommonherbalmedicineusedin thetreatmentof mentalhealth,St. John’s Wort andSAMe. St. John’s Wort andSAMe are over-the-counter herbalmedicine,commonlyusedformooddisorderandprimarilyunipolar majordepression.

St.John’s Wort isassociatedwith a numberof positiveresultsfortreatmentandalleviation of depression,becauseithas fewerside-effects than standardantidepressants. Yuan andBeiber (2013) pointsout thatthisherbalmedicineis effectivebecauseof its lowsideeffects,greattolerability, andhighcompliance.Yuan andBieber addsthatan observational studycarriedout by a multi-centre illustratedSt. John Wort’s efficiencyandlowsideeffectswith both600mg and1200mg takendailyformildandmoderatedepression.However,anyone whointendsto trySt. John’s Wort oranyotherherbalmedicinemeantto reducedepressionshould ensurethathe/sheis under medicalsupervision.Self-treatment of depressionis potentiallydangerous.Acupuncture

Thepracticeof acupuncture goesbackmorethan 200 yearsagoandwascommonin thetraditionalChinese medicine.Acupuncture is a Latin wordthat comesfrom thewords‘acus’for“needles”andpuncture’for“prickling” (Kotsirilos andVitetta, 2010). Thetwo wordsgivea crystalcleardescription,which is prickling needles.ThisancientChinese practiceinvolvedinsertingthinneedlesthrough theskin,thenapplyingheatstimulation to specificpointson thebody.Thiswasdonewith theattemptto alleviatepainoranyotherformof mentalillness.Ifone decidesto useacupuncture in thetreatmentof depression,theacupuncturist will havetofirstinterviewthepersonto gainunderstandingto thecomplaint.Theacupuncturist will theninsertneedlesat certainpointsof thebodyby creatingaspecificpattern.Thepointselecteddepends upon thenatureof theailment.

Acupuncturecontinuesto beutilizedastreatmentformentalandsomatichealthdisordersforover 1000 years.TheChinese believethatthismodelof treatmentfordepressionworksby allowingenergyto flowalong specificpathways throughout thebody.Thispracticealsobringstheyin andyang forcesin thebodyinto balance,by allowingnormalflowof energyto restorehealth.Themodernresearchby theNational Center forcomplementaryandAlternative Medicine suggeststhattheneedlesactupon thecentralnervoussystem,which thenrespondsby releasingendorphins (the“feelgood”bodyhormones). In return,thispromoteshealing andreducesdepressive symptoms.

TranscranialMagnetic Simulation (TMS)

TMSis a formof treatmentthat usesan electromagnetic coilto stimulatethecerebral cortex, whenplacedagainst thepatient’sscalp near theforehead.Thiswell-tolerated procedureinvolvesthe useof rapidpulsesof magneticfieldsthat stimulatesbraincellsin theareawherethebrainis saidto affectthemood.Currently, theFood andDrug Administration has consentedto theuseTMS devicein treatingindividualswith depression,especiallyin situationswhereantidepressant treatmentdoesnot work.StudiesindicatethatpatientsundergoingTSM haveshownsignificantimprovementin theirdepressionscores,as wellas, longtermhealtheffects.

Thisprocedureis a moreappealing formof treatmentbecauseitis noninvasive thatnosurgeryisrequired(Andrews, 2010). Moreso,thedirectstimulation of thebrainwith theuseof an electronicdevicehas becomea newfrontier,which is lesslikelyto causeto causewhole-body effects.Thefactthattheuseof TSM doesnot circulateround thewholebodymakesitessentialforindividualswith severewhocannot tolerateantidepressants.

Sideeffectsof Alternative Treatment

Researchershavefoundsome smallimprovementon theuseof TSM treatmentfordepression.Theyholdthattheresultsof TSM are temporaryandmay lastor daysorweeks.Thismethodmay be lesseffectiveforpeople,especiallyolderadults,with verylonglastingdepression,andthosewith coexisting anxietydisorder.Moreso,itisstillunclear whetherTMS can becontinuedonce depressionis liftedorwhetherperiodicboostertreatmentscan keepthesymptomsfrom returning.On theotherhand,a commonsideeffectassociatedwith TSM is scalp discomforton thesiteof stimulation. Thescalp discomfortisalsolinkedwith possibleeffectsof headache,tingling,lightheadedness andtwitchingof facial musclesamong others.

Althoughherbalmedicines,suchSt. John’s Wort andSAMe, are effectiveantidepressant, theyare may haveothereffectsbothgoodandbad.Accordingto Schimpff (2012), themostreportedsideeffectsincludedizziness andgastrointestinal upset.Anothermajorissueresultingfrom thenegativeeffectsis thattheherbs containotherco-active orinactivecompoundsthat may affecta depressedpatientnegatively. St. John’s Wort has beenfoundto lesseffectiveintreatmentof majordepressionproblems.Althoughthiscompoundhas beenusedextensivelyformanyyears,itis not usefulforallpatientsespeciallythosewith depression.

Althoughserioussideeffectsof acupuncture arereported,theyare usuallyveryrare.Averycommonsideeffectof acupuncture is dizziness after thetreatment.Althoughthismay not be harmfulin itself,itis oftenundesirable.Theinvasive procedureis alsoknownto includerisksof introducingmicroorganisms into thepatient’sbodyand,therefore,may leadto bacterial infection.Theriskof theseinfectionsexists,especiallyforpatientswith reducedimmunedefenses.Lastly,bruisesin theneedlesitecausebruisesthan may resultto feelingof soreness.

Conclusion

Theuseof CAMs is commonamong patientswith depressionandotherpsychiatric disorders.Approximatelyone-third of adultsin theU.S useCAM, with womenmorelikelyto usethisformof treatmentthan men.Althoughall theCAMs examinedin thisresearchpaperhas shownsomepromisingin reducingsymptomsof depression,mind-body techniquesandacupuncture havegatheredmoreempiricalresearchsupportto date.Fewstudieshaveevaluatedtheadverseeffectsassociatedwith theuseof mind-body therapies.Ofprimaryimportanceis determininghowto safelyandeffectivelyusethesetreatmentswith minimaleffects.Thus,futureresearchon CAM efficiencyandsafetyshould helpto minimizemostof thecommonsideeffects.Futureresearchshould alsoincludemanualized interventionandestablishedadequatecontrolconditions.

References

Andrews,L. (2010). Encyclopediaof depression.Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood Press

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Kotsirilos,V., &amp Vitetta, L. (2010). AGuide to Evidence-Based Integrative and Complementary Medicine.Sydney, N.S.W.: Elsevier Churchill LivingstoneBottomof Form

Yuan,C. &amp Bierber, E. J.(2013). Textbookof Complementary and Alternative Medicine.Boca Raton: CRC Press.Topof Form

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Schimpff,S. (2012). TheFuture of Medicine: Megatrends in Health Care That Will Improve YourQuality of Life.Washington, D.C.: Thomson Nelson.