“How can homeopathy help with depression?” is the transcript of an interview by Donna Smiley, a Brighton-based freelance journalist specialising in natural health.
Thierry Clerc practices in Cambridge (UK) as a clinical homeopath and a nutritionist. He is a regular contributor of several national and international health magazines.
How can homeopathy help with depression?
Homeopathy is a gentle form of therapeutic medicine practiced in many parts of the world. It is widely used by the medical profession in France, Germany, Switzerland and India.
If someone comes for depression, the homeopath will first take the client’s medical history and understand his lifestyle. The aim will be to understand if there was a major trigger to the depressed state, and also more minor issues that prevents the patient to feel happy.
The aim is not “to treat” but to strengthen the client’s ability to deal with emotional issues – by supporting the mind, the nervous system and other weakness in the patient.
Should it be used alongside or instead of anti-depressants?
Homeopathy can work alongside anti-depressants. It works also well alongside other therapies like psychotherapy.
In the UK, most homeopaths are not allowed to prescribe or remove anti-depressants. This is done by the client’s GP. In my experience, anti-depressants have their place if the depression has just started and is very severe. However, long-term healing should not rely on any external support: neither conventional medications, nor homeopathic remedies. It is the duty of any practitioners to support the client with a view to make them self-reliant on the long run.
How specific remedies are used to treat different aspects of depression? For example, is treatment different for S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) compared to a deep dark depressions?
Homeopathic remedies are selected to match the exact symptoms of the client. The main commanding factor is to find a remedy that fits what caused the depression (divorce, death of a close one, loss of job, bad diet, abuse, drug abuse).
Every client has a different way to “experience depression”. It is the practitioner’s role to get a good picture of his/her client’s depression: some people do not sleep at night, some people sleep all day or can’t get out of bed. Some people stop eating, some people binge, and so on….
When you get a good picture, you can then select the right remedy. Here are some good examples:
Aurum metallicum – a major one for depression, especially triggered by a loss of money, or a loss of a specific goal or sense of duty (job). This renders them prone to despair, feelings of worthlessness and suicidal thoughts following a perceived failure in their work or personal life. This can be a very self-destructive depression, with alcoholism or attempts to lose life.
Ignatia amara – this is a grief remedy, and people who have suffered a loss (death of a child or a closed one), will do well on it. The clients sometimes suppress their feelings of grief, despair or emotional upset at the expense of outbursts of hysteria or mood swings. They can be also a lot of respiratory issues, or colds. The remedy is often used after bereavement.
Kali phosphoricum – made from potassium phosphate, which is a major nutrient to the nervous system. For this reason, it is a good remedy for clients, who suffer from the effects of exhaustion from overwork, and are then over-sensitive. They seek their own company and flinch at sudden noises. Alongside the change in mood they often develop muscular weakness.
Natrium muraticum – another good remedy for loss, but usually more chronic. The grief is so deep that it is hidden below inner feelings of anger or fear of losing control. The manner in which they bottle up these feelings may lead to depression. They dislike consolation from others and appear stoical and controlled.
Pulsatilla nigricans – a great remedy when depression is linked to hormonal imbalances – the hormonal and nervous systems are closely linked. Emotions vary from moody and clingy to yielding and sensitive. When depressed, they cry readily and enjoy consolation and need the support of others.
Staphysagria – number one remedy for abuse, emotional or physical.
Thuya – number one remedy for the “dark days depression”. They seem happy but are disconnected to their own feelings.
It is important to note that for an issue as deep as depression, professional help should always be sought after. It is not a condition that can be self-prescribed easily. Also, the depression rubric in major homeopathy books covers more than 500 remedies, which shows how professional knowledge is required to find the right treatment.
How long is it before a client will start to feel the effects?
It can be instantaneous or can take one to 2 months. It depends on the ability of the practitioner to find the right remedy, and also of the patient’s ability to respond to treatment, what we call “vitality”. A weak vitality can be linked to poor diet for example.
How do you determine what remedies will help a client?
Whenever possible, find the major causes/triggers and get a list of symptoms of the depression, as this will lead to the right remedy. It is also important to see if the client will need support to change his or her nutrition/ lifestyle.
What happens at a consultation?
It can vary from homeopaths to homeopaths. My specialisation is in what is defined as “clinical homeopathy”. This is the type of homeopathy used by doctors in France and focuses very much on the cause of the depression and strengthening the weakened parts of the mind or the body. We first review the medical history and the current state of health of the customers. Beside discussing the depression, we also review physical symptoms like headache, periods, bowel movements or any other issues that may help us get some clues. For example, a poor digestive system may make someone more prone to depression, as the nervous system is the last one to get nourished in the body. We also review sleep patterns, diet, lifestyle.
I also have a bio-resonance machine, which helps me point energetic imbalance in the patient. This is non-intrusive and allow me to ask further questions. At the end, I am able to draw a support plan, made of homeopathic remedies, nutritional and lifestyle advice, and also herbs and supplements if this is required.
Thank you very much for your time Thierry, and we wish you all the best in your life-changing work.