Acupuncture and Depression
Depression can be more complicated than just sadness. It can look like fatigue, lack of energy and motivation or even body aches and pain. Sometimes it can show up as anger and mood swings and trouble sleeping or sleeping too much. Depression is commonly co-occurring with chronic pain, fibromyalgia or other chronic diseases. (P.S. Acupuncture is fantastic at treating chronic pain.) Sometimes people do not realize they’re depressed as sometimes their symptoms are not obvious to them or are not typical feelings of sadness. Sometimes it can be hard to describe what you’re feeling, you just know something is wrong. Stressful life changes can trigger depression, but other times there may not be an obvious reason for it. An official diagnosis from a doctor is not necessary to be treated for depression at the clinic.
What can you do at home?
Maintaining healthy habits such as regular exercise, eating well, getting the right amount of sleep and avoiding caffeine and alcohol are some things that can be done at home. Stimulants and other drugs can make depression worse, so it is best to avoid them. Limit or eliminate social media usage and consider trying meditation.
One common question at the clinic: how does acupuncture work if I’m taking antidepressants or other medication for my mental health? Sometimes medication takes the edge off but doesn’t address all the symptoms you may be having. Medications can also cause unwanted side effects. Acupuncture helps to fill in the medication gaps and can help manage the side effects. A note about weaning off of depression medication: acupuncture can help with discontinuing medication as long as your doctor is also on board. Talk to your acupuncturist about an appropriate treatment plan for you.
Meaghan Massella, M.Ac, L.Ac, Dipl. Ac (NCCAOM) is an acupuncturist, business owner and mother of 2.