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DEPRESSION. Robert Lopes Takane Miyashita Kathryn Claitor Binjie Huang. Causes of Depression. Genetic: risk increases with heredity Biochemical: Too little or too much of a brain chemical affecting mood and sleep.

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Robert Lopes

Takane Miyashita

Kathryn Claitor

Binjie Huang

causes of depression
Causes of Depression
  • Genetic: risk increases with heredity
  • Biochemical: Too little or too much of a brain chemical affecting mood and sleep.
  • Environmental: Significant loss, difficult relationships, financial problems, drugs, or a major change in a life pattern.
  • Psychosocial: Persons with certain traits. Pessimistic thinking, low self-esteem, a sense of having little control over life.
diagnosing depression
Diagnosing Depression
  • You are depressed sad, blue, tearful
  • Lost interest in things you previously liked
  • Appetite increases or decreases; significant weight gain or loss
  • Trouble sleeping or too much sleeping
  • People notice your agitated, restless, or have slowed down
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Trouble concentrating, thinking clearly, or making decisions
  • You feel you would be better off dead or have thoughts about killing yourself.
  • American Psychiatric Association
  • Major Depressive Disorder
One in ten adults suffer depression each year

Treatment can alleviate the symptoms in 80%

Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder

Women experience depression at twice the rate of men

Elderly white males are highest at risk

74% of people seeking help go to their primary doctor and 50% are misdiagnosed of those cases

  • “There is a distinct difference between feeling “depressed” and having a depressive illness. If you have low spirits for a while, don’t be concerned. However, if you feel you can’t lift yourself out of your misery, you should seek professional help.
  • All information gathered from
online depression screening test

Online Depression Screening Test

What causes depression?

At the most basic level, nobody really knows what causes depression. The dominant theory is that it is a result of low levels of certain neurotransmitters (messenger chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to the next) in the brain. This is called the 'monoamine theory' of depression — monoamines being the group of chemicals that these neurotransmitters belong to.

sleep apnea can cause depression

Sleep apnea can cause depression

on this web-site, you can take a sleep disorder quiz to see if…

“Obstructive sleep apnea is an illness characterized by snoring, partial or complete cessation of breathing during sleep, reductions in blood oxygen levels, severe sleep fragmentation, and excessive daytime sleepiness…

The syndrome strikes both sexes and all races, ages, socioeconomic strata, and ethnic groups, though it is less common in women prior to menopause, and may be more common in blacks than in whites." (NCSDR)

brain chemistry of depression

Brain Chemistry of Depression

Link Found Between Serotonin Transporter Gene And BPAD

(Bipolar affective disorder) is a complex genetic disorder


Depression in Chinese Medicine

--three types of depression: earth-, water-, and wood-type

As with all disease, we need an accurate diagnosis before we can begin treatment. Depression has many causes. Not all of them will be helped by antidepressants. If your self-esteem is intact, your mood does not vary during the day, and you are not impaired socially, your depression may have a physical cause.

Some physical/biomedical causes of depression are: chronic pain, chronic fatigue, normal grief, vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, folate deficiency anemia, viral disease, connective tissue/collagen disorders (arthritis), an organic brain disorder, drug side-effects, cancer, and endocrine abnormalities. Chinese Medicine can enhance the health of anyone with any of these conditions.

what depression can induce

What depression can induce?

How can you determine if an illness is causing depression or depression is causing an illness?

Illnesses that can lead to depression are usually major, chronic, and/or terminal. When an illness is causing depression, there is often long-term pain present or there is a sudden change in lifestyle.

Depression causes illness in a different way. Like psychological stress, it can weaken the immune system (cells involved in fighting disease and keeping you healthy) allowing a person to get more colds or the flu. There is often a notable presence of "aches and pains" with no particular cause. Having depression may also cause an illness to last longer and intensify its symptoms, but the true relationship of depression-induced illness, in terms of major disease, has not been thoroughly defined.

bipolar disorder what is it


Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic depression, an illness characterized by mood swings from depression to mania. The diagnostic criteria for bipolar depression is the same as for major depression, but bipolar patients tend to have atypical features.

Increased energy, no energy at all

Restlessness or irritability

Extreme irritability


Little sleep needed

Thoughts of death or suicide

Denial that anything is wrong

Feelings of hopelessness

Spending sprees

Lasting periods of unusual behavior

Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol and sleeping medication

Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior

Chronic pain, fatigue

Symptoms of Bipolar DisorderEnormous, frequent mood swings, resulting in these symptoms during an episode of depression or mania
bipolar disorder
Bipolar Disorder
  • Bipolar disorder is a lifetime illness, ongoing treatment plans are necessary
  • Bipolar patients who rapid cycle can be up and down in a matter of minutes, and in mixed states, depression and mania are present at once.
  • There are a few types of Bi-Polar Disorder ranging from “mild” and “extreme” mood swings to acute schizophrenia
bipolar disorder1
  • Not just a mood swing depression
  • Patients also suffer from subtle cognitive deficits, between episodes which get worse over time
  • Many patients also suffer from at least one other mental illness, such as anxiety and panic, or alcohol and substance abuse
  • One major study found that 61% of bipolar patients had a lifetime substance dependence problem
treatment for bipolar disorder
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
  • Psychological treatment is necessary
  • A person with bipolar disorder should be under the care of both a psychologist and a psychiatrist
  • Medication is required to help balance the mood swings and obtain substantial stabilization
web sites with information regarding bipolar disorder
Web Sites with information regarding Bipolar Disorder

Depression in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is based on very different worldview than that Western medicine. In order to understand Chinese medical psychiatry, one must understand that no dualism between the mind and body exists in TCM. The body is the material basis for the mind, which is seen as the natural expression of the function of the body. Because of this non-duality between psyche and soma, physiological events within the body might result in mental-emotional sensations, experiences, and predispositions, while psychological events may have either a beneficial or deleterious effect on the body’s physiology. Therefore there is such a disease or simple category as “depression” in TCM. However there are certain “patterns” that are similar to what is called depression in western medicine.


Acupuncture As An Treatment For “Depression”

There have been a number of Chinese studies done showing that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for mental-emotional disorders. Hiener Fruehauf stats “(For the treatment of mental-emotional diseases), the therapeutic focus tends to be on the restoration of uninhibited qi flow, since unbalanced emotions first affect the qi before they influence the physical structure of the body” and what acupuncture does first and foremost is disinhibit the flow of qi. (According to Ted J. Kaptchuk, OMD in his book, The Web That Has No Weaver, Qi is, in clinical sense, “the particular dynamic of engendering, movement, tension, and activation. “) Therefore acupuncture can be a very effective treatment for many kinds of mental-emotional disorders. In particular, acupuncture is very effective for promoting relaxation in cases of heightened excitation and restlessness. One of the most common responses to acupuncture is for patients to fall asleep on the treatment table.


Relaxation As A Basis For Mental Health

TCM emphasizes on relaxation for the treatment of long-term psycho-emotional problems. It actually is more important than many people think. Relaxation results in freeing the flow of qi mechanism. For instance, liver depression qi stagnation sits squarely in the center of most of the disease mechanisms leading to mental-emotional disease. Therefore any therapy that has a disinhibiting and normalizing effect on the qi flow and, therefore, the qi mechanism will have a salutary effect on the mind and emotions. When one relaxes physically and mentally, whatever qi should be up borne is down borne. The psycho-physiological effects of simply letting go are immediate and automatic.



Qigong is a generic term covering a wide range of mental, movement, and respiratory regimes. This is very effective method for treating psycho-emotional problems.

- Still Qigong & Active Qigong

In general, there are two kinds of qigong, still qigong and active qigong. When qigong is advised to patients with mental-emotional diseases, it is mostly the still qigong. This consists of what West knows as progressive deep relaxation and certain kinds of biofeedback therapy. In this type of qigong, the patient uses their volition, imagination, and respiration to relax the entire body and mind.


An Importance Of Treatment Schedule

The other important thing in treating mental diseases with acupuncture is that treatment schedules have to be close enough together. Bob Flaws and James Lake, MD state in Chinese Medical Psychiatry that more serious psychological disease, more closely treatments should be scheduled. According to them, many of the failures some Western acupuncturists have experienced in treating these kinds of diseases may have been due to improperly spaced treatment regimes.


Web Sites

- Acupuncture Today

An article from a TCM journal “Acupuncture Today” on seasonal disorder

- American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine

<For general information regarding to TCM>


- Acupuncture Com.

Also the book, “The Web That Has No Weaver” by Ted, J. Kaptchuk is highly recommended.