Depression Treated with Acupuncture in Red Bank, NJ

Depression and anxiety remain two of the most common mental disorders worldwide. Acupuncture is becoming more recognized as treatment to help support these disorders. When factors like injury, stress, improper nutrition or a change in environment disrupt the natural flow of the body’s energy, health issues may arise. Acupuncture stimulates the release of oxytocin (the feel good hormone), a hormone that regulates the parasympathetic nervous system.

Acupuncture can also just start the body’s natural ability to heal itself or stimulate the part of the brain that controls emotions, including anxiety and depression. All of these can help people feel relaxed and more balanced.

Variations in mood are a normal, everyday part of life. Feelings of sadness or despair are typically temporary and should last no longer than a few days. Depression, on the other hand, is a serious mental illness that is diagnosed when this negative state of mind continues for two weeks or longer. Learn how Acupuncture in Red Bank, NJ can help treat your Depression.

Symptoms of depression may include the following:

  • Persistant feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritibility, or helplessness;
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities;
  • Changes in appetite, including both overeating and undereating;
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Lack of energy;
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions;
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts; and/or
  • Physical aches and pains

There are several types of depression recognized by the medical community. Major depressive disorder is a disabling form of the illness and hinders the patient from normal functioning. Dysthymic disorder is a long term, low grade depression while psychotic depression is accompanied by psychosis. Other types of depression are postpartum depression, which affects new mothers, and seasonal affective disorder.*

How Antidepressants Work

The usual treatment for depression is a two-part program that includes some form of talk therapy (which can be extremely helpful to patients) as well as the use of antidepressants. Antidepressants work by normalizing naturally occurring brain chemicals (particularly the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine). Scientists understand that these chemicals are in some way responsible for regulating mood, but they are still unsure of the exact mechanism that makes this work.

This fact bears repeating: antidepressants were developed to alter chemicals in the brain; yet, researchers are still unclear as to the mechanism of these chemicals, or why and how antidepressant drugs work. Even worse, the long-term effects of the most popular classes of antidepressants are unknown.

There are several classes of antidepressants; the newest and most widely used of these are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), which include Prozac and Paxil. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) such as Effexor are also regularly prescribed.

The most common side effects of these drugs are headache, nausea, insomnia, agitation, and sexual problems. Even worse, the Food and Drug Administration has required that patients taking antidepressants must be warned of an increased tendency toward suicidal thoughts and behaviors, particularly in children and adolescents.


Chinese Medicine and Depression

Chinese medicine contends that the body functions on several levels—the spiritual, physical, and emotional. It is important to address each of these parts and unite the mind, body, and spirit to achieve harmony and wellness.

Energy (Qi) flows through the body on channels known as meridians. Emotional or mental problems are attributed to an imbalance or blockage in the internal organs and the meridians that pertain to them. In the case of depression, Chinese medicine believes that liver qi stagnation, spleen qi deficiency, or lung and heart meridian disorders may be at the root of the problem.

Typically, people begin by experiencing an imbalance in one organ or meridian which, left untreated, spreads to involve other organs and meridians. Chinese medical doctors recommend early diagnosis and treatment of such imbalances, and often include the use of acupuncture.

Acupuncture at Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation

Acupuncture can be a safe, effective, and drug free method of dealing with depression. This modality has been used in China for thousands of years, but has only recently become mainstream in the United States as more western people experience the technique’s effectiveness.

From a western perspective, acupuncture works by stimulating the nerves that transmit impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary system at the base of the brain. The glands located there are responsible for releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins (natural pain-killing hormones). The chemicals released not only relax the whole body, but they may also regulate serotonin in the brain.

The New Jersey Certified Acupuncturists at Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation are trained in and practice the Chinese tradition. Contact our facility to learn more about how depression symptoms can be alleviated with acupuncture

*According to the National Institute of Mental Health