Summary: Unfortunately, the sad reality is that many people within this world are stressed to the point of clinical depression. It is suggested to these victims that they should take prescription medication to alleviate this stress. This can build a dependence and addiction. Acupuncture is a natural practice that has been shown to be just as effective as prescription medication and helps promote physical well being as well as mental.
It has been estimated that approximately one in five people will suffer from depression in their lifetime. Of course, we have all felt down at some point in our lives. However, clinical depression refers to the long lasting state of sadness that affects the person physically as well as mentally. There are various symptoms associated with depression such as fatigue, irritability, and hopelessness. Unfortunately, these symptoms can lead to more problems such as unhealthy sleep patterns and a consistent cycle of negative thoughts.
According to traditional Chinese Medical beliefs, depression is caused by an interference with circulating Qi. The liver is recognized as the main organ responsible for regulating the circulation of Qi. The heart and the spleen also play supporting roles. Acupuncture and supplementation of Chinese herbs have been proven to be effective treatments for depression. A study was published in the fall of 2013 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine that found electroacupuncture (http://atlanticwholistic.com/index.php/information-a-articles/18-electro-acupuncture-) was just as effective as Prozac in reducing symptoms of depression. After seeing this report, some people may still choose to take the prescription medications. However, the relapse rate is very high amongst patients with depression who decide to intervene with pharmacology.
Although the exact mechanism behind acupuncture is unknown, researchers have stated that the reason acupuncture has been so effective in the treatment of depression is through a release of endorphins. It has also been suggested that acupuncture can induce the release of norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter, which means it helps transfer nerve impulses throughout the nervous system, that has many positive benefits to the body when released including an increase amount of oxygen delivered to the brain to allow for an individual to think faster and clearer. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with the pleasure system of the brain. A release of dopamine can result in a feeling of enjoyment and motivation to complete a certain task. Serotonin is another neurotransmitter associated with the emotional well being of a person. Researchers believe that a leading cause of depression can be a result of a decreased production in serotonin. If there is a significant shortage of any of these chemicals, it is possible for the person to develop obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, panic, and excessive amounts of anger as well as depression.