Treating Depression and Anxiety With Acupuncture

Anyone who has experienced bouts of depression or anxiety knows how debilitating it can be. Even a mild or short encounter can negatively affect a person's relationships at home and work, and may lead to physical pain, and an inability to think clearly and complete daily tasks.

Antidepressants are among the most widely prescribed pharmaceutical drugs in the world. There are, however, natural ways to effectively treat and eliminate both depression and anxiety. Acupuncture and nutritional support supplies the body with the building blocks needed for healthy brain function and mood support. Acupuncture works by stimulating tiny energy pathways in the body called 'meridians'. A change in the energy flow in the meridians, produces a wide spread chemical reaction throughout the body. "Feel good" chemicals called neurotransmitters and endorphins are released, which work to re-balance or repopulate the specific chemicals needed for optimal mental and physical health.

The purpose of acupuncture and Oriental medicine methods is to identify the underlying patterns of disharmony in the body and re-balance the body as a whole. Acupuncture treats both the symptom and the cause, which makes it very effective at treating a wide variety of diseases. Many times, depression and anxiety is due to an insufficiency or imbalance of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, in the brain. Acupuncture increases and balances the serotonin levels, and disengages and redirects the 'stress pathway' in the body. Stress, both emotional and environmental, can deplete the serotonin levels in the body, as well as the nutrients necessary to create serotonin. By reducing the stress response, the body is able to maintain healthy nutrient and neurotransmitter levels.

Typically, a series of acupuncture treatments over the span of a few months is necessary for optimal results. Treatment duration will vary with the complexity of the underlying patterns of imbalance, as well as the length of time a person has been experiencing the symptoms. Supplementing with nutrients and herbs that nourish and balance the endocrine system will shorten the duration of treatment as well. Maintenance treatments of once a month, and good nutritional and lifestyle habits can eliminate depression and anxiety for the long term. A licensed acupuncture physician will determine the best treatment plan for each person's individual needs.

Kathy Veon, AP, DOM is an Acupuncture Physician and Doctor of Oriental Medicine. She practices acupuncture and nutritional healing methods at Central Florida Preventive Medicine in Orlando, Florida.