Depression is insidious, creeping into your thought processes and reactions, and even robbing the pleasure from your favorite activities and interactions with loved ones. It can leave you feeling empty, hollowed out, and unable to care about much of anything.
To make matters worse, finding an appropriate treatment can be difficult, for a multitude of reasons.
Neil Spiegel, DO, and Jennifer Gularson, PA-C, at Osteopathic Center for Healing believe that good health encompasses your physical and mental health. We seek to help you reach optimal wellness through a personalized treatment plan, and for patients with depression, that plan may include acupuncture.
You may have some misconceptions about acupuncture; many people do. Here are some pertinent facts:
- Acupuncture has been in practice for more than 2,000 years
- It doesn’t always, or even usually, hurt
- Many research studies have been conducted about whether acupuncture is effective
- Acupuncture is most often used as a method of pain relief
- It’s common to report a feeling of euphoria following a session
Acupuncture can be a stand-alone therapy or part of an overall treatment plan to treat depression, along with a variety of other issues.
Major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, with around 21 million adults having at least one major depressive episode in 2021.
Finding the right treatment can be difficult, too. In some instances, it’s a matter of trial and error, which means you end up trying various medications until you find one that works. The problem is that some of those medications have unpleasant side effects.
In other instances, it’s not advisable to try different medications for depression because you take other medicines with which they could interact. Some people simply prefer to not take a pharmacological approach to treating depression.
How acupuncture can help
Acupuncture stimulates your body to release certain chemicals, and one of the main goals of the modality is to help you reach a state of balance. Dopamine and serotonin are often lacking in people who have depression. Reaching a better chemical balance may help.
Pain and depression are often closely intertwined. Pain can cause depression, and depression seems to heighten your sensitivity to pain, leading to a vicious cycle. Acupuncture can help relieve pain, short-circuiting the cycle.
Research into acupuncture and depression
Research has focused on several different elements of using acupuncture to treat depression. For example, some have focused on whether acupuncture is effective as a stand-alone treatment. Others have looked at whether it enhances other treatments such as antidepressants.
Some have considered it as a complement to other types of therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
Because the studies have varied so much in their focus and structures, it’s difficult to say definitively in which situations and how much acupuncture is most effective in treating depression.
But acupuncture has been shown to reduce symptoms in some people, and it’s extremely safe, particularly when administered by a highly trained medical professional like Dr. Spiegel.
In short, you have very little to lose and plenty to gain by trying acupuncture as an all-natural approach to treating depression. Schedule an appointment in our Rockville, Maryland, office today to learn more.