Acupuncture for Anxiety / Depression

By April 10, 2018Acupuncture

                              ANXIETY / DEPRESSION

Anxiety disorders include generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder  and post traumatic stress disorder

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Treatments recognised as useful for anxiety and depression include psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy , and medication such as  antidepressants and benzodiazepines . All  drug treatments have side effects, and many may cause withdrawal or discontinuation symptoms

How Does Acupuncture Help:

In general, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being.

Research has shown that acupuncture treatment may specifically benefit anxiety disorders and symptoms of  depression by:

  • Acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the ‘analytical’ brain, which is responsible for  worry .
  • Regulating levels of neurotransmitters and hormones such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA, neuropeptide Y and ACTH. Thus altering the brain’s mood chemistry to help to combat negative affective states .
  • Stimulating production of endogenous opioids that affect the autonomic nervous system. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system.  Acupuncture can activate the opposing parasympathetic nervous system, which initiates the relaxation response.
  • Reversing pathological changes in levels of inflammatory cytokines that are associated with anxiety and depression.

Acupuncture can be safely combined with conventional treatments such as medication or psycho-educational therapy, possibly enhancing their beneficial effects and reducing unwanted side-effects.

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