Acupuncture can help reduce depression and anxiety
Depression affects people in many ways and can cause symptoms from psychological, physical to social symptoms.
The psychological symptoms of depression include persistent low mood or sadness, feeling anxious or worried, feeling irritable and intolerant of others, feeling hopeless and helpless, having low self-esteem, without motivation or interest in things, having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself.
The physical symptoms of depression include moving or speaking more slowly than usual, changes in appetite or weight, constipation, unexplained aches and pains, lack of energy, loss of libido, change of menstrual cycle, disturbed sleep.
The social symptoms of depression include not doing well at work, avoiding contact with friends and taking part in fewer social activities, neglecting, having difficulties with other people.
Current models of depression suggest that changes in the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, dysfunction among stress hormones, and imbalance in neurotransmitters, such as noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine, may be key factors in the onset and maintenance of major depressive disorder. Results from animal experiments suggest a multitarget antidepressant effect of acupuncture, which may be related to amino acid metabolism and inflammatory pathways, especially the Toll-like receptor signaling pathway, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) signaling pathway, and nuclear factor kappa light chain enhancer of activated B cells (NF-kappa B) signaling pathway. In addition, similar to antidepressant medications, acupuncture is capable of affecting the neurotransmitter levels of serotonin and noradrenaline, along with the adenylate cyclase cyclic adenosine monophosphate-protein kinase A (AC-cAMPPKA) cascade within the central nervous system.
Depression is commonly treated with anti-depressant medication and/or psychological interventions. Patients with depression are common users of complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, either as a replacement for, or adjunct to, their conventional treatments.
Research has shown that acupuncture can help depression. For example,
There was a study with 120 female patients with depression treated with acupuncture and music. Acupuncture points used include Baihui (GV 20), Shenting (GV 24), Neiguan (PC 6), Shenmen (HT 7), Sanyinjiao (SP 6) and Taichong (LR 3). Result has shown that combined acupuncture and the music, ot acupuncture alone can help reduces the severity of depression and anxiety.
There is another study about acupuncture on personality traits in depression from China. 48 patients completed the study. The Minnesota Multiple Personality Inventory (MMPI) was used for evaluation. Self-rating depression scale (SDS), self-rating anxiety scale (SAS) and Montgomery asberg depression rating scale (MADRS) were used to assess the psychological state. Assessments were done before and after the treatment. These patients were received acupuncture treatments for 24 weeks in acupuncture group. After treatment, patients psychological state improved significantly in acupuncture group and control group. In treatment group severity of depression had significantly decreased after 24 weeks of treatment compared with that before the treatment. MADRS, SDS and MMPI scores decreased significantly. In control group these scores also decreased. The decrease of these scores was greater in treatment group compared with control group.
A recent review and meta-analysis examined the effectiveness of acupuncture in major depressive disorder. This review analysed 29 studies with 2268 participants and found that acupuncture showed clinically significant reductions in the severity of depression compared to usual care. There is a link between numbers of acupuncture treatments and the reduction of depression: more treatments, the more reduction in the severity of depression.
Acupuncture is cost-effective compared with counselling or usual care alone in treating depression
A study from the University of York UK has shown that acupuncture is also cost effective for treating depression. They compared the cost of acupuncture, counselling or usual care for depression based the price of the interventions. They measured quality adjusted life years (QALYs) in analysis. They found that acupuncture and counselling have higher mean QALYs and costs than usual care. They have shown that acupuncture has an increased cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of £4,560 per additional QALY and is cost-effective with a probability of 0.62 at a cost-effectiveness threshold of £20,000 per QALY. Counselling compared with acupuncture is more effective and more costly with an ICER of £71,757 and a probability of being cost-effective of 0.36. Acupuncture is cost-effective compared with counselling or usual care alone.
Acupuncture is the best option for depression with pain problems
Up to about 70% patients with depression also have pain problems. Depression may make the pain problem worse and more pain may make depression worse as well. The existing research data has shown that acupuncture is an effective treatment option for several chronic pain conditions. Acupuncture is also suggested to treat depression, though this is not available option in NHS. Counselling for depression is widely available in primary care practices, however there is limited evidence for counselling compared to usual care as a treatment for patients with depression and a chronic physical health problem. Recently a report compared acupuncture or counselling with usual care alone for 755 patients with depression complicated with pain. They found that at 3 months, both acupuncture and counselling interventions were effective for depression compared to usual care alone whether there was pain or not. Patients in the pain group had greater reductions in both depression symptoms with acupuncture from baseline to 3 months than those who received counselling or usual care. All treatment options were effective in reducing pain between baseline and 3-month follow-up after controlling for baseline pain, however, acupuncture delivered a greater degree of pain relief than counselling or usual care in the short-to-medium term. Reductions in both depression and pain were most marked in the acupuncture group, followed by the counselling group and then the usual care group.
Depression and anxiety are most commonly treated with acupuncture after lower back pain in the US.
Acupuncture has been a popular alternative medicine in the United States for several decades. It becomes common knowledge that acupuncture can release pain. People with chronic pain often seek acupuncture treatments and it is currently emerging as a unique non-pharmaceutical choice for pain against opioid crisis in the US. For what other conditions do people seek acupuncture treatment in the US? There was a survey studied the conditions that the most commonly treated acupuncture conditions. 419 acupuncturists across the US participated the study. Top 10 conditions that people go for acupuncture are lower back pain, depression, anxiety, headache, arthritis, allergies, general pain, female infertility, insomnia, neck pain and frozen shoulder. Top 99 conditions were grouped into a few categories: pain represents the largest category; and mental health management, especially for mood disorders, is in greatest demand. Immune system dysfunctions, gastrointestinal diseases, gynecology and neurology have also had high ranks. As you can see that depression and anxiety are most commonly treated with acupuncture after lower back pain. Depression and Anxiety are two different medical conditions, their symptoms, causes, and treatments can often overlap. References
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