Mood disorders include Depression, Bi-polar I and Bi-polar II disorders. Think of these as disorders of mood – which is to say that the individual suffering with these feels their mood overtakes them rather than the other way around. These are frequently treated with anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and mood stabilizing psychiatric medicines.
Sometimes, for various reasons, the individual finds that he is behind the curve and a switch in mood is overtaking him. When this happens one option is to change or adjust medication. The best thing to do is to avoid the need to increase and decrease dose in a cyclical way to deal with the mood swings.
Using acupuncture, homeopaths, herbs, yoga, and biofeedback can be essential in getting out of this cyclical med-adjustment patterning.
Here are some steps to shift into a more integrative strategy.
First, identify specific triggers for mood changes – these may be emotional, physical or nutritional.
Second, it is helpful to identify cues that a shift is occurring. Here is where tongue and pulse can be utilized. Cues may be emotional or feeling related: a sense of fatigue, feeling uncomfortable or irritable.
These first two steps assist the individual to get a head of the curve and stave off a shift into Mania or Depression.
Tongue and Pulse keys to CUES: Typically the tongue change that may indicate a person is shifting into the swing uP may be a red or dark purple – peeled, and dry tongue – black, dark brown, dry tongues are indicative of internal heat and this is the interior of an upward manic swing. Pulse changes here might be fuller, ropy, and bigger. The feeling might be irritable, unable to sit, or lay down, a feeling of restlessness. Remember that hypomania is below (hypo) mania (but above a relaxed normal mood) so irritability, rapid speech, restlessness, and liver yang rising signs and symptoms (red eyes, increased anger, frustration) are present in this state.
Helpful treatments to return to balance for an UP swing: Biofeedback, acupuncture points that clear heat and calm shen are useful as well as ghost points that feel tight and stagnant on palpation and points that help to anchor the yang and Du 20/kidney 1. Using exercise and Yoga are very helpful to move the Qi and help to anchor the person.
The tongue change involved in a shift into the swing dOWn may be pale, pale purple, puffy, thick white coat – may be dry or damp with scalloping – the thick white coating and pale color signify a downward swing – this indicates a lack of transporting and transforming and Qi deficiency which are the interior components of a downward depressive swing. Pulse changes may be weaker, slower, and spinny heart pulses. The feeling might be lack of energy, fatigue, discouragement and a desire for sleep without rest. Depressive thinking is a sure sign of a depressive swing downward.
With depressive thinking: thinkings and feelings are skewed to the negative, with little to know recollection when things felt better or positive. Even memories of being successful or things working well are not accessible. When addressing important aspects of depressive thinking, look for ways to argue with the negative thinking. Read this short blog for specific ways to work through depressive thinking, Applying Mindfulness to depression, www.instinctivehealthmedicine.com.
Biofeedback, acupuncture to tonify and strengthen – especially the use of moxa – as well as calm shen with a focus on building the middles and stomach/spleen points, and the yuan points are most useful. Again ghost points can be of service, especially if they are puffy and deficient when evaluated. Using exercise especially swimming, walking, and Yoga are helpful in rebalancing the person.