When fifty-six-year-old Swati, a college lecturer, visited our clinic, she reported of her long-standing association with depression. She said she was on conventional antidepressants — which did nothing to cheer her up. She would always look out of her window sill — for hours at end, as her friend who accompanied her informed us — waiting for her husband and son, who were working overseas, to return. When we spoke to her, we found Swati more than a bit ‘remote.’ We were again told that she was keeping a distance from her close relatives, who she, in point of fact, loved. We prescribed her the homeopathic remedy, Sepia Officinalis, based on her indifference towards her loved folks. After eight months of homeopathic treatment, she was relaxed and self-assured.

Depression, the ‘common cold’ of psychiatric illness, is clearly on the rise in the elderly age-group — the ‘trigger’ being post-retirement blues, or spouse being away from home, or nuclear families, with grown-up children living independently. While surveys suggest that depression is widespread (although several cases never come to the attention of doctors), studies indicate that antidepressants, the mainstay of conventional treatment, provide no more than modest benefit, not to mention unpleasant side-effects. Besides, 40-60 per cent of depressed patients experience recurrences after conventional treatment. This exemplifies why there is a need for effective, natural alternatives, such as homeopathy. Homeopathy analyses and diagnoses the type of depression a person has; it does not just look at the apparent symptoms in seclusion. It analyses each person (mind-body) as a completely unique individual, including their distinctive personality, temperament, sensitivities and sensibilities.

Depression is one of the most frequently treated disorders by professional homeopaths, worldwide. In a six-year study, published in the peer-reviewed The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 6,544 patients with depression were treated with homeopathy. 71 per cent reported good improvement without side-effects. In another randomised, double-blind study of a group of patients, suffering from moderate-to-severe depression, homeopathy was found to be as effective as conventional antidepressant drugs. There was also, as the study researchers reported, no evidence of side-effects, following homeopathic treatment.