The Treatment of Depression

A doctor will usually ask an individual several questions about their feelings and how they find life from day to day. Depression is hard to diagnose as there are no physical tests and it is not always clear to see. Doctors may often take blood tests to rule out any other medical conditions that may be bringing along these symptoms. Anti-depressant tablets are often prescribed in order to balance the chemicals in the human brain. However, it is important to recognize that tablets can work to help the condition in some people.

Whereas in others the medication can work against the brain causing further issues.

Meditation is a complementary therapy that is often used alongside orthodox medicines in order to treat symptoms of depression. A study carried out by The Journal of Neuroscience revealed depressed people’s “left amygdala” to be in nonstop, hyper-mode. Known as the anxiety, stress, and fear center of the brain. An amygdala that works too hard can create a range of problems, including the initiation of a “fight or flight” response.

Meditation will work by focusing the mind allowing an individual to concentrate solely on relaxation.

Hypnosis is another type of therapy that is used with those who have depression. Hypnosis works by targeting the root cause of the depression, focusing on the subconscious mind and the thoughts that the individual has. According to hypnotherapy.org, the aim of therapy is to improve the individual’s self-esteem and independence. NHS Choices believe that there is not enough evidence of hypnotherapy working for it to be recommended within clinical practices.

Aromatherapy is often used to help relieve the symptom of stress in depression. Aromatherapy may be given through massage, the oils can also be used in a bath, as a scent, or through other techniques. The therapy is said to work by stimulating the area of the brain associated with mood, the amygdala. The therapy is believed by some people to bring calmness and elevate mood. However, although there are many advantages of using the therapy, one major disadvantage is that many people may be allergic to certain ingredients.

One major difference between orthodox and complementary treatments is scientific proof. For orthodox treatment to be used it will have to be trialed and professionals will have to prove that it has improved the health of a person. Also, those who practice orthodox medicine will have gone through extensive training to perform their jobs. E.g. Doctors go through years of training before they can do their jobs. However, some complementary therapies’ professionals do not have to be regulated.

An individual suffering from skin cancer would receive a range of different orthodox treatments from the NHS or their private practice. The doctor and patient will discuss treatment types and select a suitable plan of action. Orthodox treatment for skin cancer may be radiotherapy. This treatment is often used alone, however, it can also be used with chemotherapy, to try and cure cancers. Radiotherapy can be given internally or externally. External radiotherapy involves using a machine called a linear accelerator, which focuses on high-energy radiation beams onto the area that needs treatment. External beam radiotherapy is painless. External beam radiotherapy involves several daily treatments over many days or weeks. Internal radiotherapy can involve placing a small piece of radioactive material temporarily inside the body near the cancerous cells, or the use of a radioactive liquid that’s swallowed or injected. The radiation given out by internal radiotherapy is painless, but the procedure to insert the source can cause discomfort. The high-energy radiation used in radiotherapy permanently damages the DNA of cancer cells, causing them to die. Healthy tissues also suffer temporary cell damage from the radiation, but these cells are usually able to repair the DNA damage and continue growing as normal.

Side effects of radiation often include; sore skin, tiredness, and hair loss. The side effects tend to get better over a period. Alongside radiotherapy, many other treatments can be given. For example, complementary therapies such as aromatherapy can be used in order to relieve symptoms of stress that the condition may have brought on. Aromatherapy can be given in a variety of ways, through scents, massage, or through supplements and teas. Aromatherapy is a natural treatment and its role is to support the orthodox treatments to make the individual more comfortable as often orthodox treatments do not provide comfort or relaxation. There has been some research that indicates aromatherapy may have properties that stimulate the amygdala in the brain. Image of the brain above. Doctors will sometimes advise their patients not to use aromatherapy for a few weeks before and after orthodox treatment such as chemotherapy.

Cancer research in 2015 says that many cancer patients tend to go and receive homeopathic therapies. To treat an illness a homeopathic therapist would use tiny doses of a substance that in large doses would cause the symptoms of the illness. The remedies are usually made from plants, minerals, and animal substances. They are diluted in water and shaken many times until there is little of the original substance left. The water is used to make homeopathic liquid, pills, or creams. Homeopaths would say that the remedy will start the healing mechanisms within the body.

The treatments are used to help the individual relax and control the symptoms of stress that may have come as a result of cancer. Homeopathic remedies are also said to help with pain, sickness, and tiredness.

In many ways aromatherapy and homeopathy are similar. Both complementary therapies work alongside orthodox treatments in order to help the individual experience relaxation and peace. According to Cancer research 2015, cancer patients are using complementary therapies more often, aromatherapy and homeopathy are just two examples of what they may receive. The therapies are also similar as they both have some placebo effect; this means that the person will have to believe in the use of the therapy for it to work. Another similarity is that homeopathy should not be used for many weeks before and after orthodox treatments such as chemotherapy. The differences between the therapies are the ways in which they are given. For example, with homeopathy, the patient can take a tablet. However, aromatherapy involves other techniques such as smelling scents, massages, and drinking teas.

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