Acupuncture for Depression
Depression is a common mental health condition which may affect as many as 1 in 10 people at some point during their lives. While it is normal for everybody to feel down once in a while, if these feelings last for weeks or months, it could be time to get help.
Antidepressants can be useful, but may cause unpleasant side effects. This is why many people prefer to use natural ways to help depression such as making lifestyle changes and therapies such as counseling, CBT and acupuncture.
What Causes Depression?
Depression can be triggered by a stressful life event such as a relationship breakdown, bereavement or losing your job, but sometimes there is no obvious cause.
Different aspects of your mood and emotions are controlled by chemicals called neurotransmitters. When these become imbalanced, this can lead to depression. From this point of view, depression has a real, physiological cause and is not something people can ???snap out of???.
It is unclear why these neurotransmitters become imbalanced, but it is thought that several factors may play a part:
- Genetic ??? you are more likely to become depressed if you have a close family member who suffers from depression.
- Hormonal ??? depression can be triggered by hormonal changes, for example post-natal depression.
- Addiction ??? people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol often also suffer from depression.
- Chronic illness ??? people with long-standing illnesses such as underactive thyroid, heart disease or fibromyalgia can often become depressed.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression affects everybody differently. There are a wide range of emotional and physical symptoms which reach far beyond simple feelings of unhappiness. Some of the most common symptoms of depression are:
- Low mood
- Loss of interest in socializing or hobbies
- Low self-esteem or self-confidence
- Feeling tearful or anxious
- Lack of energy
- Changes in appetite
- Low sex drive
- Aches and pains
In severe cases, people with depression may even feel hopeless and like they have nothing to live for. This is why it is important that depression is diagnosed and treated as early as possible. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can start to get better!
Natural Ways to Help Depression
If you have been prescribed antidepressants, it is important not to stop taking them without talking to your physician first. However, there are plenty of natural ways to help depression which are safe to use alongside your medication or alone.
Improving your general health and well-being can help to alleviate the symptoms of depression. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and get plenty of exercise. Being active for around 30 minutes, five times a week is recommended, but you don't need to overdo it. Even a brisk walk can be enough to boost your mood significantly.
Make sure you get enough daylight, especially in the winter months. If you work indoors, take time to go outside during your break and keep your blinds open. If you find you get more depressed during the winter, you might also want to consider investing in a light box.
Build a good support network by talking to friends and family. Therapies such as counselling and CBT are also a good way to explore your feelings and develop coping strategies. Think about joining a support group to meet people who are going through the same thing as you. It is important to know you are not alone!
Many people find meditation and mindfulness helpful ways to relax and cope with the symptoms of depression.Acupuncture is another therapy that is well worth a try. This ancient system of medicine can help to relieve both the emotional and physical symptoms of depression.
Acupuncture for Depression
Acupuncture originated in China over 2000 years ago. It works on the principal that the body and the mind are closely connected, meaning that emotional imbalances can result in physical symptoms and vice versa. This makes it particularly suitable for treating conditions like depression.
It is thought that acupuncture for depression works by regulating the levels of certain neurotransmitters, essentially rebalancing your brain chemistry. It also acts on the central nervous system to bring about feelings of relaxation and well-being while also relieving pain.
When you go for acupuncture for the first time, your acupuncturist will talk to you in detail about your past and present health. An individual treatment plan will then be developed based on your individual symptoms.
The main difference between acupuncture and other therapies is that it is completely holistic. It treats the body and mind as a whole and focuses on each patient's unique needs. This makes it an ideal choice for treating complex conditions such as depression.