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Homeopathy for Depression

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Overview of homeopathy as an alternative treatment for depression and whether homeopathy works in treating depression.

What is Homeopathy Therapy?

Homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine which involves treatment with very diluted substances. People who practice this type of medicine are called 'homeopaths'.

How does Homeopathy Therapy work?

Homeopathy tries to help the body restore itself to health. Rather than seeing a person's symptoms as something to be removed, it sees them as a sign of how the body is helping itself. Homeopaths use substances that produce the same symptoms to further stimulate the body's healing. These substances are diluted in alcohol many times over, until there is little or none of the substance left in the alcohol. The resulting tincture is taken as a medicine. Homeopathic treatments are selected to fit each individual, so that different people with depression may not receive the same treatment.

Is Homeopathy Therapy effective?

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Only one study has been carried out in which homeopathy has been compared to placebo (dummy medicine) treatment for depression. This study found that homeopathy was effective, but the study was of poor scientific quality.

Are there any disadvantages?

None known.

Where do you get it?

Homeopaths are listed in the Yellow Pages of the phone book.

Recommendation

Given the lack of good scientific evidence, homeopathy cannot currently be recommended for depression.

Key references

Kleijnen J, Knipschild P, ter Riet G. Clinical trials of homeopathy. British Medical Journal 1991; 302: 316-323.

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