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Clinical depression is more than feeling low. Depression can result in a wide variety of symptoms including a feeling of hopelessness, to losing interest in things you used to enjoy and feeling tearful. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety. It is also very common to have physical symptoms such as feeling tires all the time, sleeping badly, loss of appetite and sex drive and muscle aches and pains, all caused directly by depression. The severity of symptoms will vary widely from feeling low all the time to feeling that life is no longer worth living.
If you feel significantly depressed so that it is affecting your life then you should see your GP.
Counselling or CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and antidepressants are some of the most commonly offered treatments.
randomised controlled trial comparing acupuncture, counselling and usual care for adults with depression found that both acupuncture and counselling resulted in greater improvement than usual care. Those who received acupuncture improved at least as much, if not more, than those who received counselling.
755 patients suffering form moderate to severe depression were randomised into one of three groups: 12 weekly sessions of acupuncture plus usual care; 12 weekly sessions of counselling plus usual care; usual care alone. By 3 months patients receiving acupuncture and those receiving counselling were significantly less depressed than those receiving usual treatment. People receiving acupuncture had improved more than those having counselling but this was not statistically significant. The improvements continued throughout the 12 month duration of the study.
study comparing the effects of the antidepressant paroxetine given alone or with acupuncture found that those treated with acupuncture in addition to the antidepressant medication had a greater improvement than those taking medication alone. 70% of patients having the combined treatment improved compared to 42% of those just taking the antidepressant medication.