Chinese Medicine Times : Keeping You Informed

Chinese Medicine Times : Keeping You Informed

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Teenage Depression

Teenage Depression

Teenage is a time of turbulence and strong emotions, slamming doors, weeping. With all this drama it might be thought that all teenage problems were due to stagnation of liver qi or even liver fire. This is certainly true for some aspects of antisocial behaviour such as vandalism and criminal behaviour.

However it has been my experience that depression is nearly always due to weakness in the wood element rather than excess. It is this weakness which makes it difficult for children to make the necessary separation from their parents, and to stand up for their own opinions. In some children, the weakness originates in the sheen, and they need to be coaxed out of their depression. For these children acupuncture is not the therapy of choice.
However, for the majority the weakness is related to an energetic imbalance, and as such it responds well to acupuncture.

We can identify three main patterns:

  1. Liver and Kidney Weak
  2. Spleen and kidney qi xu
  3. Lingering pathogenic factor

The first of these patterns runs through all teenage depression, for teenage is the time when both liver and kidney are under stress. The second and third are additional factors which complicate the issue. Often these factors have their origin much earlier in life.

For example the spleen and kidney qi xu adolescents usually have history of qi xu which goes back to the first years of life. Entering puberty in a state of exhaustion, they are not in a position to take full advantage of the potential for change.

Likewise, lingering pathogenic factors often have their origin in either immunisations or chronic illnesses treated with antibiotics in the first 2 or 3 years of life.

This talk will describe these commonly seen patterns in detail, what can be done, and what problems one is likely to meet on the way.


Julian Scott


In both English and German.

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