Mozart’s Medical Cabinet – Alternative Mental Health




Alternative_Medicine.jpgChinese Medicine includes two major symptom patterns that are associated with depressed mood changes. One pattern, “liver qi depression,” is similar to “agitated depression” in Western psychiatry. The other pattern, “qi vacuity,” is similar to “vegetative depressed mood.” The Chinese medical system of classification includes many disorders characterized by depressive mood changes.

Several days ago, I was lucky enough to see a production of Don Giovanni, a Mozart opera that is widely regarded as one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed. Funny thing though, Mozart had composed much of the piece during a particularly stressful period in life. In 1787, a year that brought financial difficulty, the deaths of two close friends, his father, and his pet starling, Mozart produced what the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard called the “the greatest work of art in the history of mankind”? Further, under conditions that would induce a general anxiety disorder or major depression in some, Mozart composed the legendary Don Giovanni, three string quartets, four songs and a sonata. In fact, without the use of modern-day antidepressants, antianxiolitics, beta-blockers or selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, Mozart in a span of 25 years produced over 600 pieces of art by the time he died at 35 years of age. Many sources assert that he was in fact clinically depressed. If so, how did he manage his medical health? Once option was certainly what we refer to today as Alternative Medicine. For instance, AlternativeMentalHealth.com states:

Chinese Medicine includes two major symptom patterns that are associated with depressed mood changes. One pattern, “liver qi depression,” is similar to “agitated depression” in Western psychiatry. The other pattern, “qi vacuity,” is similar to “vegetative depressed mood.” The Chinese medical system of classification includes many disorders characterized by depressive mood changes. These include, principally, “Frequent Sorrow,” and “Withdrawal and Mania.” These diagnostic categories in Chinese medicine are similar though not equivalent to Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder, respectively.

The question on the floor tonight is: Can Mood Disorders Be Treated With Alternative Medical Treatments?

Tony Brown, BA, EMT

Tony Brown, BA, EMT, graduated cum laude from Harvard University. He served as an EMT in the US Army stationed in Germany.
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