Q: A friend is struggling with depression. I wanted to know if this disorder can be managed with homeopathy.

A: Depression is a chronic, long-lasting or recurring and treatable disorder, where the patient experiences sadness, worthlessness, loss of motivation, loss of interest and/or hopelessness. This results from complex and only partly understood biochemical changes in the brain, which are influenced by multiple causes including genetics, circumstantial and hormonal factors, and socio-personal reasons. Women are twice more likely to be affected than men.

Increased levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters are found to improve the state of depression. Not everyone who is depressed experiences all the symptoms listed below. The severity of symptoms varies with individuals and also varies over time.

• Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood and unexplained crying spells

• Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt

• Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities once enjoyed, and social withdrawal

• Loss of energy, and persistent lethargy

• Difficulty concentrating, remembering things or making decisions

• Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping

• Appetite/weight loss, and weight gain

• Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts

• Restlessness, irritability, anger, agitation

• Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain

Though the precise cause and nature of depression are not clearly understood, it is believed to be an illness involving an imbalance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Very often, a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors is involved at the onset of a depressive disorder.

Homeopathy offers an excellent treatment, especially in the early stages. However, extreme cases of depression or cases where the patients are on high doses of conventional medicines for a long time (drug dependency) may find little results using homeopathy. Homeopathic medicines get to the root of the problem and have the potential to counter genetic tendencies. Homeopathic medicines are free from side effects and can help prevent or reduce the relapse and recurrence of the condition.

The results achieved from homeopathy can be augmented with supportive measures like counseling and psychotherapy.

Riyaz Badami is a homoeopathic practitioner and medical director at Good Living Medical Centre. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.

Read more