Anxiety and depression are two common mental health disorders. Anxiety, in particular, is common to feel from time to time with no real concern. If you have a big presentation coming up, you may feel anxious about it.
Anxiety is characterized as a feeling of dread, fear, and uneasiness. Sometimes a direct cause of these feelings can be determined, like the presentation, but other people may experience these feelings for no known reason. Some symptoms of anxiety include feeling restless and tense, sweating, and having a rapid heartbeat.
Depression is a disorder that affects how we feel, think, and act. It causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. Depression can affect each person differently. For example, one person may have trouble sleeping while another person sleeps for too long. In addition, more severe cases of depression may lead to thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression can significantly affect someone’s ability to perform daily tasks, and as such, account for 15% of all disabilities in the population. Anxiety is more prevalent than depression, with 30 million people in the United States affected by anxiety at some point. However, depression is still the leading cause of disability in the United States for individuals aged 15 to 44.
How Does Acupuncture Help with Anxiety and Depression?
The most common treatment method for these mental health conditions is medication. However, this comes with trial and error in finding the correct medicine and dosing, and a wide array of potential side effects. Thankfully, there is a more natural approach, and that is acupuncture and plant-based herbal medicines.
One group that especially benefits from acupuncture is pregnant women. It is not safe for pregnant women to take medication for depression due to the potential adverse events that may impact the growing fetus and cause growth defects. However, a study found that acupuncture could reduce depression symptoms in pregnant women comparably to medication. This provides an option for pregnant women who want to avoid medication throughout their pregnancy.
While pregnant women are one group that especially benefits from acupuncture, this practice can help anyone suffering from depression that had no success with medicine for controlling symptoms, or simply wants to avoid that route altogether. Other studies found that acupuncture successfully treated depression in both the general population and menopausal women in particular. For the general population, the study focused on those with major depressive disorder, which is a severe and debilitating form of depression.
There are many different types of anxiety, and acupuncture has proven to be the most helpful for individuals with generalized anxiety disorder. One study found that acupuncture was able to help reduce anxiety symptoms in people who did not respond to other treatments, which included medication and psychotherapy. Those in the study experienced a significant reduction in their anxiety over their 12 weeks in the study, providing a different treatment option for those that found no success in other treatments.
Anxiety and depression are both debilitating mental health disorders. If you are interested in learning more about how acupuncture can help treat the symptoms of these disorders, reach out to us. Your initial consultation is free! Come with your questions 🙂