How Can Acupuncture Help Depression?
In this country, we tend to think of acupuncture as something we do for pain, or headaches. However, the beauty of acupuncture is that it takes in the whole body. Thus there is an enormous emotional component to acupuncture. Once we realize that, then it is a short step to understand how can acupuncture help depression. First we need to understand depression a little better.
Symptoms of Depression
Fighting an Uphill Battle
Depression can feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle with no sign of victory or relief in sight. It makes you feel like you are waking up every day to the same monotonous day, stripped of joys, things that excite you, or motivation to do anything other than just weathering the storm. It’s like you’ve found yourself in your own version of Groundhog Day, but instead of learning how to play the piano like Bill Murray, you just learn to better numb your feelings to the world and more effectively play the role of seeming “okay.”
Depression causes you to feel like you’re exhausted when you’ve already slept 10 hours that day. Suddenly, in a world where nothing feels good or even remotely interesting anymore, sleep seems like the only reprieve you can get from the melancholy.
Difficulty Connecting with People
Depression makes you feel too run down to connect with the people you love. In fact, with enough time, depression will make you feel like your friends and family don’t even want to be around you anymore. It makes you believe that you aren’t good enough for them to be interested in spending time with you.
Depression saps you of your motivation to pursue your dreams, causing you to believe that you will never be good enough to reach those goals and that those goals were unattainable to begin with.
Creates Physical Pain
Over time, depression will start to make your body ache. Your joints and muscles start to feel like you’ve taken a physical beating, and you almost start to feel as if you are actually carrying a physical load on your shoulders.
Depression isn’t about –
Thinking Happy Thoughts
Living with depression can be exhausting and painful. It can feel as if you will never be rid of the affliction. Or, you can feel you will never experience what it means to truly be happy again. Friends with good intentions offer a variety of suggestions. “It’s just mind over matter!” “Just think happy thoughts and smile!” Or words like, “Just get over it, what you’re sad about isn’t even that big of a deal.”
“not trying hard enough”
However, it is important to understand that being depressed is not a matter of not trying hard enough. Don’t allow negative and toxic people make you believe that you should feel ashamed about your struggle with depression. What they, and maybe even you, don’t understand is that depression is not just a matter of thinking happy thoughts. Depression is a matter of chemicals and neurotransmitters in the brain, and sometimes, no matter how much effort you are putting into forcing yourself to feel happier, you just can’t change the natural chemical wiring and physiology of your brain.
Positive thinking and challenging negative thinking are helpful. They can help to make you feel better and keep you from spiraling even further into depression. Certain healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercising and making sure you are taking in enough Vitamin D, can also help to alleviate some symptoms of depression and make you feel more normal. And though you might be feeling put off about the idea of getting dressed and going out with friends, socializing can really help to make you feel better, if at least for a little while.
Though it might sound overplayed on TV ads these days, depression is an illness, and sometimes the only way you can truly combat your feelings of depression is through treatment. Talking to a counselor or taking antidepressants can help significantly, but are not a cure-all, and you may find that you still occasionally struggle with bad days where things might feel hopeless. But seeking out treatment can help you develop methods to help combat negative thinking and help you brainstorm tips and activities you can do to help lift the depression. If it is found that you have a chemical deficiency, then you can have a prescription written for an antidepressant.
Alternative Treatment options
Along with western forms of treating your depression, you can complement your therapy with acupuncture as a way to better alleviate some of the symptoms. Treatments can help you feel more calm and relaxed, removing some of the stress that exacerbates your symptoms. Acupuncture will also help your body move and balance some of the hormones within, helping to stimulate the production and flow of hormones that affect feelings of happiness and pleasure. As well as helping with some of the mental symptoms of depression, acupuncture can also help alleviate the pain and aches that can settle into joints and muscles during a severe depression episode.
Treating depression as a serious ailment is an important step toward understanding just how hard it is to treat and endure. If you are struggling with depression, then don’t be afraid to seek out the help you need. You many never “beat” the condition in such a way that you never have to worry about it coming back again, but you can at least find ways to not let it destroy your ability to have a normal life. Mental health treatment with the addition of acupuncture is a chance to feel just a little bit better; and don’t we all deserve to feel just that?
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