Depression, Anxiety &Stress Symptoms

Depression

 

A growing number of people are seeking alternatives to antidepressant medications, and new research suggests that acupuncture is a promising option. One new study found that Traditional Chinese Medicine to be as effective as antidepressants, and a different study found that acupuncture may help treat the medications' side effects.

 

In acupuncture, a practitioner inserts needles into the skin at points of the body thought to correspond with specific organs (right). Western research suggests the needles may activate natural painkillers in the brain; in traditional Chinese medicine, the process is believed to improve functioning by correcting energy blocks or imbalances in the organs.

 

A study published last fall in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that electroacupuncture—in which a mild electric current is transmitted through the needles—was just as effective as fluoxetine (the generic name of Prozac) in reducing symptoms of depression. For six weeks, patients underwent either electroacupuncture five times weekly or a standard daily dose of fluoxetine. The researchers, the majority of whom specialize in Traditional Chinese Medicine, assessed participants' symptoms every two weeks and tracked their levels of glial cell line–derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), a neuroprotective protein. Previous studies have found lower amounts of GDNF among patients with major depressive disorder, and in other research levels of the protein rose after treatment with antidepressant medication.

 

After six weeks, both groups showed a similar improvement in symptoms, and both treatments restored GDNF to a normal concentration. But the acupuncture began to work faster, reducing symptoms more dramatically at weeks two and four than the drug did. Among the patients who got better, a higher percentage of the acupuncture recipients showed “great improvement.”

 

Call for a free 20 minute consultation and we can discuss whether acupuncture is right for you.

 

Anxiety

 

In my practice, anxiety and stress are a common reason for patients seeking treatment.  Whether they are on medication for their condition or would like to lessen or discontinue their medication due to adverse side-effects, many patients transition and will lessen or discontinue their anti-anxiety medication.

 

Acupuncture addresses the anxiety itself, as well as other common symptoms associated with the condition such as insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and obsessive thinking.

 

In a comprehensive literature review appearing in a recent edition of CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics, it was proved that acupuncture is comparable to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which psychologists commonly use to treat anxiety (Errington-Evans, 2011). Another study published in the Journal of Endocrinology in March 2013 discovered stress hormones were lower in rats after receiving electric acupuncture (Eshkevari, Permaul and Mulroney, 2013).

 

Depending on which of these symptoms are suffered, different anxiety disorders may be diagnosed. These include:

 

  • generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • panic disorder
  • social anxiety disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

 

Call for a free 20 minute consultation and we can discuss whether acupuncture is right for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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