Depression is the thief of joy. It can make formerly happy people feel like nothing is good in their world and they have no energy to do anything about that. I have had patients tell me they are too depressed to cry, that they just feel empty. If you feel this way you are far from alone.
In 2014 15.7 million adults in the US had at least one major depressive episode (1). The good news is that acupuncture can relieve depression. In fact several studies have showed that acupuncture was as effective as anti-depressant medication (2).
Depression is something I commonly treat in my clinic. With a background in clinical social work it is a ‘language’ that I speak and understand. Some people want to get off of anti-depressants because of the side-effects, some don’t want to go on medication, and some just want to feel better while taking the medication. The bottom line is they all want to feel better: more joyful, lighter and happier.
Sometimes depression is not even the reason why people come in for acupuncture. They may come in for physical pain not knowing that acupuncture can relieve their feelings of hopelessness and grief stemming from the chronic pain.
In Chinese Medicine there is not one “kind” of depression. One person may be experiencing a lack of drive and enthusiasm in life. In essence they have lost their joie de vivre, or joy of life, and they just don’t have the momentum to make lasting changes. Another person may present with a lack of ideas, life dreams, hopes, inspiration or direction. And another person is filled with angst, despair and an overwhelming sadness. And still another broods and get stuck in their thinking…of the same thing over and over. Lastly, some people who have a lot of anger or frustration have an underlying depression. In psychiatry these would all be treated as depression with one anti-depressant drug or another. While there can certainly be overlap I find that many people fall into one pattern or another. Chinese Medicine treats each person’s unique presentation to resolve the root cause of depression, not just put a band-aid on the symptoms.
If someone you know is experiencing depression and longing to return to joy please share this post with them. If YOU are experiencing depression book an appointment today and rediscover your lightness of being.
1. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2015). Behavioral health trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 15-4927, NSDUH Series H-50). Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/
2. Wei Bo, Xu Yi, Clinical observations on acupuncture treatment for depression, Journal of Jinan University (Natural Science & Medicine Edition), 2013, 34(6).