Almost everyone has experienced depression at some point in their lives. It is an appropriate response when life has become too burdensome and those burdens feel overwhelming. Likewise most of us have been anxious. We’ve felt fear around a new situation or second-guessed our ability to meet a challenge. It is normal to have transient feelings like this but when we are healthy we bounce back quickly.
Some of us don’t bounce back however, and instead sink into a deeper cycle of anxiety, depression and in some cases substance abuse as we struggle to cope with feelings that are overwhelming. Like many of you I am so saddened by the news that Robin Williams became so desperate that he felt his only recourse was to take his own life. How sad that someone who brought so much joy to so many people, was unable to find peace.
Here at the Yinova Center we don’t necessarily advocate treating major depression with Chinese medicine alone, but we have seen the remarkable effect Chinese medicine can have when used to treat anxiety and depression.
A completely holistic system, Chinese medicine is able to address the complex interaction between body chemistry and emotions very effectively. It’s been used for hundreds of years to affect mood. In fact a 1998 study at the University of Arizona looked at using acupuncture to treat major depression (1), using a double-blind, randomized, control trial. When measured against a control group who received a placebo treatment, the acupuncture group did remarkably well. In fact at the end of the study, 64% of the participants were judged to be in full remission of their symptoms.
I like to use acupuncture in combination with herbs and anti-depressants if appropriate, combined with talk therapy to help my patients manage depression in a comprehensive way. Please don’t suffer alone. There is much help to be found and in turn much hope.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, please reach out. You can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and you will be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.
(1) Allen J.J.B., Schuyer R.N., and Hitt S.K. (1998), The efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of women with major depression. Psychological Science 9 (5): 397—401.