Getting to the point of mood disorders

Today, modern psychiatrists like to talk about the semi-imaginary, chemical “imbalances” that cause mood disorders. They say they can correct the “imbalance” simply by adjusting the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin. Trouble is, they don’t have any clue about the effects on all the other brain chemicals involved.

Plus, that approach assumes treating mood disorders is like doing an experiment with the Gibson chemistry set you used in middle school. Of course, as I report in this month’s issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, according to all the latest research, this approach has been a disaster for mental health, public health, and even public safety.

The truth is — mental disorders are far more complex than most modern psychiatrists will admit.

Depressed men and women lived “normal lives” without drugs

In my view, we had a better understanding of the complexity of mental illness in the 19th century, when doctors considered the spiritual dimensions. And because they lacked modern drugs, doctors “prescribed” what they called “moral therapy” for patients with mental disorders such as depression.

Instead of locking away depressed patients — or numbing them with drugs — doctors allowed those struggling with mental disorders to live with others who were “normal.” The mentally ill patients could then observe the ways other people reacted to and processed “reality.” It helped the patients build a fund of positive experiences in their mental bank that they could draw from when they needed emotional reserves.

This approach isn’t so different in principle from 20th century’s behavioral therapy and today’s cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBI). Studies show these techniques are very effective, particularly in conjunction with other mind-body techniques like mindfulness meditation. You can learn more about these mind-body techniques to support mental health in my book with Don McCown, New World Mindfulness.

Spirit and consciousness are inherent to human existence…and certainly to our perception of it. But modern-day reductionists seem to think molecular models explain everything about our existence.

Fundamental physicists, who study the most basic aspects of reality itself, know better. They know life is far more complex than we currently comprehend.

In fact, just last month, astrophysicists made an observation that finally proved the final part of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity that he put forth a century ago.

And many experts believe ancient Ayurveda and Chinese medicine probably understood some of these “cosmic” effects thousands of years before Einstein.

Chinese medicine offers deeper insights to depression

Practitioners of Chinese medicine have a deep understanding of the human existence as well. They too consider mood problems as spiritual problems. And they began using the acupuncture needle 2,000 years ago as a potent tool to tap into the essence or spirit, by bypassing the more material manifestations. In fact, an ancient description described acupuncture as the “spiritual pivot.”

Now — let’s scroll forward 2,000 years…

New research shows that acupuncture alleviates depression with insomnia. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, they call depression associated with insomnia “depressive insomnia.” People with this condition have difficulty falling asleep. And they experience a disruption of sleep by dreams, generalized insomnia, and emotional volatility.

Western medical science is even beginning to understand the connection between these two disorders. In fact, in a recent study, researchers compared acupuncture to mirtazapine, an older antidepressant drug, in patients who suffer from depression with insomnia.

The researchers divided the participants into two groups. The first group received acupuncture. The second group received mirtazapine drug therapy. The drug caused drowsiness (not to be confused with healthful sleep), dizziness, and vision problems, as well weight gain associated with increased appetite and constipation. By comparison, acupuncture was effective in 90 percent of cases to improve duration and quality of sleep for patients with depression. And it caused no notable side effects.

The successful treatment protocol involved acupuncture sessions every other day. By comparison, the drug group took a pill daily.

Of course, some would argue taking daily pills is more “convenient.” I suppose it is more convenient as long as you find going through the day in a drowsy stupor, with dizziness and visual disturbances to be convenient. And you can’t mind gaining weight while struggling with increased appetite and constipation (enough to be depressed, right there).

In my view, anyone who still prescribes antidepressant drugs — when there are other safe and effective methods — simply misses the point.

To learn more about other natural approaches to treating depression, see the March issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. If you’re a newsletter subscriber, you can download and view this issue by clicking on the “Subscriber Sign-In” link above and logging in with your username and password. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started to get instant access to this important report.


“Therapeutic Observation of Acupuncture for Depressive Insomnia,” Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion 2014; 6: 539-541

“Acupuncture Rivals Antidepressants For Insomnia And Depression,” Health CMI ( 2/13/2016