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Recognizing different etiologies for depression explains why various treatment regimes are effective for different individuals, and why some individuals may develop bipolar tendencies. Fire element depression tends to fall into this category (Hammer, 1990). Fire, as metaphor for this pattern of imbalance, is fitting since fire itself is perpetually changing from subdued to flickering brightly. Associations between different elemental imbalances and western psychiatric classifications (Hammer, 1990) have been identified as well as between elemental relationship status and severity of symptoms.

The Chinese term yuzheng (depression) refers to stagnation on both a physical and mental plane and is usually addressed with the same diagnostic and therapeutic methods as diseases that a westerner would consider as of entirely physical origin.

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