There are two types of depression, unipolar and bipolar depression. Patients with unipolar depression experience sadness, despair and grief. Some symptoms of unipolar depression are – loss of energy, increase or decrease appetite, insomnia or over sleepiness, decrease sexual desire, restlessness, poor concentration and slow in thoughts. Chronic depression patients suffer from loss of interest in the world, low self esteem, guilt and pessimism.
Bipolar depression or manic depression is a disorder of moods that causes unusual swings in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. The symptoms of bipolar disorder are similar to that of unipolar depression but much more severe. They can lead to damaged relationships, poor work performance, and even suicide. Bipolar disorder typically develops in late adolescence or early adulthood.
Existing Depression Treatment Approaches
It has been reported that one fifth of the UK population have depression sometimes in their lives. At present, there are two main therapeutic approaches for the treatment of clinical depression:
- Antidepressant treatment
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT),
The response rate of clinically depressed patients to antidepressants is about 50% and usually last for a short time. It is observed that there are some 30% non-respondents to anti depressant treatment because of therapeutic blockages to healing. All antidepressants take at least 3 weeks to work.
For side effects of major classes of anti depressant please visit the British National Formulary.
It has been reported that micro haemorrhages of the ECT treatment made the patient forget the depression thus leading to a temporary improvement of the symptoms. These micro haemorrhages heal over a short time. This explains the short-lived nature of the ECT improvement.
Because of the drastic nature of the treatment and severe memory impediment, ECT is a less favoured treatment method used.
Advanced Auricular Therapy for Depression
It is well established that depression is caused by defects in the neurotransmission in the brain. The neurotransmitters involved are noradrenalin (or norepinephrine), dopamine and serotonin.
A normal persons limbic system is believed to be stimulated by noradrenalin, serotonin, and dopamine system to give a sense of well-being. In general, such individual experiences joy, happiness, a healthy appetite for food, normal sexual interest and satisfaction with life.
Auricular Therapy treatment is effective and free of any side effects. Advanced Auricular Therapy will endeavour to identify the auricular zones corresponding to the serotonin producing part of the brain in 3 phases. This is more effective than typical recipe symptom treatment. The active ear points that should be sought in the areas of the brain include: prefrontal cortex, thalamus, hypothalamus, epiphysis (Pineal Gland) and brain stem(see figure 4). It is common that the Psychoanalysis, or R point and anti anxiety point may be active and can be treated where appropriate.
Figure 4. Auricular Projections of Brain Structures in 3 Phases on the Ear (© Acupuncture Arts & Press, LLC, by Bryan L. Frank, MD and Nader E. Soliman, MD)
Depending on the stage of a disease process, the active ear point of a specific organ or tissue could be identified in one or more locations on the auricle.
The auricular (ear) zones are explored with the use of a sophisticated micro current detector and treated, if active. Only those points which are most active are treated. In some of the patients suffering from depression the ear zones may be tender on palpation.
Depending on the patient preference, needles, laser or ear pellets may be used. It has been found that acute mania and depressions are usually presented in Phase 1 & 3 and in chronic cases in Phase 2 & 3 of the above brain structures cited (prefrontal cortex, thalamus, hypothalamus, epiphysis and brain stem ).
It is advantageous to include body acupuncture points to enhance success rate.