Depression is a mood disorder characterized by both physical and psychological symptoms that can be detrimental to one’s normal daily functioning. Depressed individuals often suffer from poor sleeping habits, crying spells, anxiety, worry, poor memory, inability to concentrate, body aches, stomach disturbances and a lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed. In extreme cases, individuals become helpless and hopeless about their lives.
In Canada and the United States, the DSM-IV, a diagnostic tool for appropriately categorizing psychological disorders, is widely used in the diagnosis and treatment for depression. Modern medicine typically treats depression with a form of psychotherapy and/or anti-depressant drugs.
Based on a holistic approach, acupuncture consists of fine needles inserted along various points in the body, with the purpose of stimulating the body’s flow of energy and functionality, known as Qi.
Psychologist John Allen, from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and Acupuncturist Rosa Schnyer, conducted a controlled study on treating depression symptoms with acupuncture in the Western scientific world. In a double blind randomized study, 34 depressed female patients who met the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria were assigned to one of three treatment groups for eight weeks.
The first group received acupuncture treatment specifically tailored to their depression symptoms. The second group received a general acupuncture treatment not specific to depression, and the third group was placed on a waiting list for acupuncture treatment, but received no treatment. The study found that those in the tailored acupuncture treatment experienced a significant reduction in symptoms, compared to those in the non-specific treatment. Moreover, over 50% of the participants no longer met the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for depression after the study.
The study findings suggest that using acupuncture alone could be as effective as other types of treatments for relieving depression symptoms typically used in Western medicine, such as psychotherapy and drugs.
Article by: Indira Samayoa-Bettner