Anxiety, Stress, Depression

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The never-ending demands of our frenzied culture have resulted in very high levels of physical and emotional stress. Individuals struggling to keep up find themselves depleted of inner resources. Every day, more prescriptions are written for the symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress. Newer pharmaceuticals such as Zoloft, Cymbalta, and Xanax are easily administered, and frequently prescribed. The idea of “a pill to fix-it” is very appealing. For many people pharmaceuticals are helpful, and at times, life saving. But for many, they are not the full answer. It seems logical that if not enough serotonin is present in the body, then adding more will solve the problem. But as many people now know, these drugs sometimes fail to address the complex chain of physical, emotional and mental interactions.

Western treatment of these issues usually relies on pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. The pharmacotherpy relies on drugs to treat the biological aspect. The side effects, while they may seem worth the risk if they happen to someone else, can be quite debilitating when they occur.

Psychotherapy usually includes three main approaches: psychodynamic, humanistic-existential, and the cognitive-behavioral. Each of these approaches emphasizes a different theory of the causes. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is currently considered one of the more effective approaches, and it can be combined with pharmaceuticals. These approaches help many of the people who complete the treatment, but even combined, they often fail to provide lasting relief for many people.

Drugs with botanical extracts such as St. Johnswort for depression have been widely tested in Europe. Using this natural approach has a clear advantage for some people because of the decreased probability of side effects. But for others it fails also, because it fails to treat the person as a whole and still approaches the symptoms as a disease separate from the person. It does not take the entire person, the entire body into consideration.

Eastern medicine offers an alternative and complementary approach to the understanding and treatment of these problems. The goal of treatment is to integrate and balance the body and the mind. It is a natural approach, which allows the individual to participate in their own recovery.

Eastern medicine offers safe, effective, low cost treatment alternatives, which have been used not just for hundreds, but for thousands of years. It has a good record of success, and it has no side effect when it is correctly administered. It is preventative, and it addresses both the both the body and the mind. This ancient healing medicine does not separate the body from the mind. And it empowers the patient to made changes in their lives and participate in their health recovery and maintenance. 

Eastern medicine has distinct views on the causes of emotional imbalance. For example, depression can be caused by and result in the emotions not flowing smoothly. In particular, there is a lack in the fulfillment of desires. The Qi (energy, the substance everything is made of) becomes depressed and bound up, resulting in disharmony of the Qi and organs, which leads to further imbalances. 

There are different causes and mechanisms for emotional imbalance in different people. Some of the cases have to do with mental-emotional causes and reactions. Some have to do with too much or too little exercise and activity. Some have to do with other disease in the body. Some are related to age and body type. Others may be the result of faulty diet. Because the imbalance has different causes, no one treatment is good for everyone. When the pattern is identified, the patient can be guided in the right direction in terms of diet, activity, acupuncture and herbs. When the right treatment is given to the right individual, there is healing without side effects or “unintended consequences.”