Depression is inextricably linked to neurotransmitter and hormonal imbalances in the body. Acupuncture works directly at the biological source of depression in order to provide drug-free relief from the life-altering consequences of depression.
Most people experience feelings of sadness every now and then. These negative emotions usually last for a short period of time and resolve without outside help. Clinical Depression, however, is a condition in which these feelings—which may interfere with everyday life—last for a longer period of time and do not subside. Patients who are clinically depression often feel sad, angry, and hopeless.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, five or more of the following symptoms must be present in order to make a diagnosis of depression:
- Feeling hopeless or helpless
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep disturbances
- Suicidal ideation or thoughts of death
- Changes in appetite
- Withdrawing from usual activity
- Irritability and restlessness
Based on thousands of years of ancient Chinese theory, acupuncture works to restore the body’s natural balance and harmony and return the body to health. A major component to depression is imbalanced levels of key neurotransmitters. More specifically, depression is associated with the body’s levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for mood, desire, sleep, memory and learning, appetite, motivation, and even temperature regulation.
The Problem with Antidepressants
The most popular anti-depressants today are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), while even newer classes of drugs work to affect both serotonin as well as norepinephrine and dopamine. The issue that many patients have with these drugs is that researchers have no idea how these drugs work. Because the mechanism of action is unknown, and because the majority of these drugs have only been on the market for a short time, the long-term effects on the brain remain unknown.
The most commonly prescribed antidepressants are also not suitable for treating short-term bouts of depression (since the majority of these drugs take time to work), and may also cause serious side effects, including fatigue, headache, anxiety, nausea, tremor, digestive issues, decreased sex drive and impotence, sweating, and an increased risk of suicide.
Like any other type of pain, depression is a sign that something is wrong within the body. Acupuncture gets at the heart of the problem by addressing the imbalances that cause depression—without drugs.