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GD_Kimble's avatar

Acupuncture and depression?

Asked by GD_Kimble (2265 points ) January 26th, 2008

About ten years ago, I was diagnosed with depression, and I’ve struggled with it over the years with the standard meds/therapy combo. Therapy has stopped being effective (I’ve talked all my issues into the ground), and the meds either don’t work or turn me into a robot. A friend recently suggested acupuncture, but I’d never heard of used for mental health issues. Any experiences or advice with this?

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4 Answers

phoenyx's avatar

My aunt had acupuncture an it worked really well for her (but all friend-of-a-friend anecdotal evidence should be taken with a grain of salt). It help her with pain management/stress, which may not be related to the cause of your depression. There seems to be some information about it online.

Have you tried exercise? meditation? There are lots of options besides meds/therapy. Depression is pretty common in my family, so I know what a struggle it can be.

Good Luck.

zina's avatar

as above, there are other alternative (or ‘traditional’, depending on how you look at it) therapies that have worked for depression. so if you’re into acupuncture, give it a try, or check these out (off the top of my head, in no particular order):

- biofeedback or other relaxation-based techniques (addressing stress/anxiety/focus/etc and the physical manifestations of that)
– perhaps a different school of therapy or counseling (there are MANY)
– meditation
– acupressure (working with similar energy flows, but using hands instead of needles)
– exercise (be it through sports, dance, outdoor activities (hiking, swimming, biking), a gym, yoga, traveling around the world…..)
– dietary changes (discovering allergies, cutting meat/dairy/soy/etc (for hormone levels, lactose intolerance, or other reasons), increasing or exclusively eating raw or living foods, just plain eating more healthfully by cutting junk and eating more veggies and fruits, cutting caffeine or alcohol, cutting sugars, taking specific minerals, herbs, or vitamins such as St John’s Wort or Vitamin B12…...)
– investigating sources of fatigue such as sleep disorders (more common than you might realize)
– major lifestyle changes or overhauling certain aspects of one’s life – type of work, relationships (romantic, friendship, family, communities), material conditions or items, hobbies, religious/spiritual beliefs, cultural setting, urban/rural, time spent outdoors…....
– chiropractics (and perhaps other work based on alignment, nervous system, etc)
– reiki, other energy work, work based on chakras

emilyrose's avatar

I think you should try taking omega 3. I suffered with mild to sometimes pretty severe depression until i read this awesome book. its called Instinct to Heal I think. At least that’s the website. Check out this doctor’s website http://www.instincttoheal.org/ and then get the book at your library or buy it. It includes many studies about natural cures for depression, even people diagnosed with bi-polar or who were suicidal. It also has a list of omega 3 products. You can’t just take any omega 3, it has to have a very high EPA which is one of the acids. The book explains it. I bought the OM3 from Isodis natura or something like that. You can find it and order online. I also just got some from whole foods called omega 3 mood by country life. They were on sale and they seem pretty good. Anyway, the book has a lot of info, but seriously the omega 3s and having a very regular exercise routine will help a lot. I don’t know your situation, but it also helps to have relationships, pets, etc. It doesn’t mean you have to have a romatic partner, but if you tend to be more solo, try volunteering and getting involved with something. It makes a big difference! Good luck! Also I know it’s really corny, but positive reinforcement, like writing yourself notes every day, “my depression is going away” will also help.

nerfmissile's avatar

I ran across this in my research recently ( late 2007 ). Acupuncture is clinically effective for a surprising range of health conditions—particularly pain management of various kinds—but it’s not consistently effective for depression. However, a couple of complementary and alternative medicine ( CAM ) techniques have been found to be broadly applicable. You can verify these studies and read them yourself by looking them up at www.pubmed.gov :

Stern, W.M., et al. (2007). Antidepressant effects of high and low frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 19(2), 179–86. Retrieved July 29, 2007 from Entrez PubMed.

Streeter, C.C., et al. (2007). Yoga Asana sessions increase brain GABA levels: a pilot study. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 13(4), 419–26. Retrieved July 29, 2007 from Entrez PubMed.

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