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DEPRESSION AND ACUPUNCTURE

According to the World Health Organization, after back pain, depression is the next biggest cause of disability across the world. Depression is different from everyday mood fluctuations. For people who are clinically depressed, feelings of severe sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, and worthlessness can last for months and years. It affects more than 350 million people worldwide and about one in six people will have an episode of depression during their lifetime.

ALTERNATIVES FOR POORLY WORKING ANTIDEPRESSANTS

Unfortunately, antidepressants don’t work for over half of treated patients, which is a strong motivation to discover alternate non-pharmacological treatments for those suffering from depression.

One familiar alternative is “talk therapy”, which encompasses psychotherapy as well as other types of counseling therapy, a treatment that aims to provide patients with a safe, non-judgmental place to express feelings and emotions, with the aim of supporting them through difficult change. A recent study adds another treatment to the mix: Acupuncture.

ACUPUNCTURE IS A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE FOR TREATING DEPRESSION

In this randomized controlled trial, the researchers investigated the clinical effectiveness of Acupuncture or counseling for patients with recurrent depression, compared to usual care in the primary care setting in northern England. The researchers recruited 755 patients who had consulted their primary health care provider about depression within the past 5 years.

The study findings convincingly suggest that when compared to the usual regimen of either 1. Pharmacology alone, or,  2. Pharmacology + Counseling, Acupuncture treatment (with or without  traditional pharmacological care) were similarly helpful at 3 months for this patient population.  In other words, both Counseling and Acupuncture showed significant reduction in symptoms of depression in the short to medium term.

More good news from this study: among those treated with Acupuncture, pharmacological treatment was safely reduced over the study period. A winning solution on all fronts.   

For the full trial descriptions and results view here.
Photo credit: Minna Kulmala


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gabrielle Applebaum, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac. Gabrielle trained in Chinese Medicine at the Won Institute of Graduate Studies in Glenside, PA. She is also a graduate of the University of Chicago and Harvard Divinity School.

She will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that incorporates acupuncture and the related practices of moxabustion, gua-sha and cupping, to assist your body in healing itself.

Gabrielle was just recently awarded the Best Acupuncturist of 2013 by Philadelphia Magazine’s BeWell Philly.



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