This is Our Blog
Forget dangerous anti depressants: Use acupuncture
Originally Posted on Nature News
By David Gutierrez
A growing body of research suggests that acupuncture may be a safe alternative to psychiatric drugs for those suffering from depression and anxiety.
“The functional MRI studies are showing that acupuncture has an influence over brain chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin,” said Jamie Starkey, an acupuncturist at the Cleveland Clinic‘s Center for Integrative Medicine. “And those are the chemicals that make you feel good. Those are the happy chemicals.”
Dangerous antidepressants are widely used
Antidepressants are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States. According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Columbia and University of Pennsylvania and published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, their use doubled between the years of 1996 and 2005.
But side effects are common and can be severe. Indeed, many antidepressants can actually worsen depressive symptoms and even increase a person’s risk of suicide. In addition, recent studies have called the overall effectiveness of these drugs into question. For example, a meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010 concluded that both older (tricyclic) and newer (SSRI) antidepressants are no more effective than a placebo, and are significantly less effective than talk therapy. Notably, antidepressant drugs are least effective in patients with less severe depression, the very population in which acupuncture is most helpful.
“What we’re finding is that for these patients that are suffering from mild to moderate depression, acupuncture is just as effective as these antidepressants,” Starkey said.
Science supports acupuncture
In recent years, scientists have increasingly turned their attention to the traditional Chinese medical therapy of acupuncture, in which long, thin needles are inserted into designated locations (“meridians”) in the body, determined by the patient’s medical needs.