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Depressive Disorders

What is depression?

We all feel sad or moody from time to time but depression is more than just a low mood. When these feelings are experienced intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) or appear without any reason, it is called depression. Depression is a serious condition that affects mental as well as physical health. Different types of depression include; Dysthymia, Seasonal Affective Disorders, Pre and Post Natal Depression,
Major Depression.

Here at Natural Solutions Acupuncture, we use acupuncture to help with depression. Please reach out if we can help yourself or a loved one. But always remember, we’re not against medical interventions and acupuncture can be used in conjunction to medication or counselling.

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Who gets depression?

Depression can affect anyone, of any age. It is more common in women than in men and most commonly appears between 15 and 45 years of age. On average 1 in 6 women and 1 in 8 men will experience some level of depression. In any one year, around 1 million Australian adults have depression. It is the leading cause of disability worldwide. In Australia, it’s estimated that 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.

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depression feel like

What Does Depression Feel Like?

Depression feels different for everyone. Common symptoms are:

  • sadness or hopelessness
  • restless and/or irritable
  • loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • thoughts of self-harm or suicide
  • fatigue

A lot of people also struggle with sleep, either sleeping too much or too little. Thinking and concentration problems, weight loss or gain and physical problems such as aches and pains are often reported as well.

What Are The Types Of Depression?

There are many different types of depression, some of the more common ones are:

Major depression (also called major depressive disorder, clinical depression, unipolar depression or simply ‘depression’)

It involves low mood and/or loss of interest and pleasure in usual activities, as well as other symptoms as listed above. The symptoms are experienced most days and last for at least two weeks. Symptoms of depression interfere with all areas of a person’s life, including work and social relationships.

Dysthymic disorder

The symptoms of dysthymia are similar to those of major depression but are less severe. However, in the case of dysthymia, symptoms last longer. A person has to have this milder depression for more than two years to be diagnosed with dysthymia.

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

is a mood disorder that has a seasonal pattern. It’s characterised by mood disturbances that begin and end in a particular season. Depression which starts in winter and subsides when the season ends is the most common. It’s usually diagnosed after the person has had the same symptoms during winter for a couple of years.

Antenatal and Postnatal Depression

Women are at an increased risk of depression during pregnancy (known as the antenatal or prenatal period) and in the year following childbirth (known as the postnatal period). Almost 10 per cent of women will experience depression during pregnancy. This increases to 16 per cent in the first three months after having a baby.

How Does Chinese Medicine View Depression?

Chinese medicine practitioners believe that physical health issues are connected to a person’s emotional state and vice versa. Emotions are viewed as an integrated aspect of organ functions, and are sometimes the root cause of disease. Depression can have multiple causes from a Chinese medicine perspective. We make sure we take sufficient time to determine what organ system or element is dysfunctional so that we can work on the root of the problem. We do this by asking specific questions about your health and wellbeing, we feel your pulse and we take a look at your tongue. By inserting fine needles into various points on the body, such as the fingers, hands, wrists, ankles, and feet, we rebalance the body and mind, in order to improve the symptoms.

Depression is traditionally treated with medication and/or psychological intervention. Sometimes this works great and symptoms disappear, in other cases life remains a struggle. If you are one of those people for whom traditional treatments do not work as well as they should or if you prefer alternative treatments, acupuncture is a great way of managing your symptoms. Remember we’re not against medical intervention and acupuncture can be used in conjunction to medication or counselling.

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Acupuncture And Anxiety
What Is The Current Research Status On Acupuncture and Depression?

In 2017 the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA) funded The Acupuncture Evidence Project*: a comparative literature review of the effectiveness of acupuncture in 122 common conditions. Acupuncture for depression was assessed as having a ‘potential positive effect’.

* McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (Revised edition). © Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd, 2017.

What is involved in an acupuncture session?

Every session starts with discussing your current symptoms and overall health. To get further information we will then feel your pulse and have a look at your tongue. We decide on the points that we will be using that session and insert fine needles into those points. The needles will stay in place for 20-30 minutes during which you can rest and relax. After the needles have been removed you can get up again and continue your day.

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What Can I Expect After My Acupuncture Session?

Most people rest deeply whilst having acupuncture and feel very relaxed after the session. There is nothing in particular that you need to do or not do afterwards, just do what feels good to you. In the days after the treatment you will start to notice the positive effects the session has on your health and wellbeing. The effects are accumulative, that means that after more sessions the effects tend to last longer. We will discuss during your first session what is to be expected in your particular case and how many sessions will be needed.

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Can I claim my acupuncture session on insurance?

Most Private Health Funds cover acupuncture however it is important to check your level of cover with your health fund prior to your treatment. We do have HICAPS facilities so if you’re covered you will only have to pay the gap.