Depression and anxiety are finally becoming socially accepted as medical conditions worth diagnosing and treating. We are still in a gray area or purgatory where many sufferers acknowledge their symptoms, but fear the treatment. Maybe part of it lies in some shame of needing medicine, but in many cases the stories of the meds’ side effects are too discouraging. I believe side effects wouldn’t end so many patients’ journeys if meds weren’t carelessly prescribed in acute situational issues.
I have been studying the CHRONIC cases of mood disorders that affect quality of life LONG-TERM. Treatment can and should be custom-fit to a patient’s symptoms and tolerance of pharmaceuticals.
When my patients ask me what Chinese medicine can do for their mood disorder, it’s often because they believe they should avoid modern medicine at all costs. My field has a great variety of solutions, addressing quite specific / individualized symptoms: Heart palpitations, cycling thoughts, apathy, heat rushing to the face, cold hands when stressed, etc.
But Chronic Depression is too difficult to treat our way. If someone is genetically deficient in serotonin &/or norepinephrine , supplementation is the best way to achieve balance. Psychiatrists are specifically educated in how the deficiencies manifest, and when one medication is more appropriate than another. (Including dosing and which ones are too harsh to start with). Also, they can tell a patient which side effects to expect short-term, while they work their way to the next Class 2 med.
Their goal is to end up with a med that covers the symptoms with NO side-effects. It’s not often the first Class 1 med, but the steps are kinder to the body. In the meantime, the role of an acupuncturist can be to soften the side-effects of the pharmaceutical. This is one reason Chinese medicine is called “Complementary Medicine”. Even if you want to try all the herbal routes first, remember this is a valid option.