Understanding the benefits of acupuncture, counseling in the treatment of depression
It’s estimated that depression affects more than 350 million people worldwide. Studies suggest that for more than half of patients, however, antidepressants don’t work to treat the condition, and many say they would prefer a drug-free treatment option.
A recent randomized controlled trial including patients who had sought out advice about or treatment for depression investigates how acupuncture treatment complements more standard care and counseling for the treatment of depression, including the use of pharmaceutical drugs.
Approximately 755 patients participated in the trial and were broken into three groups: one that received weekly 12 weekly sessions of acupuncture and usual care (including antidepressants), a second group that received counseling and usual care, and a group that only received usual care.
The findings suggest that when compared to usual care treatments alone, both acupuncture and counseling coupled with usual care provide significant benefits after three months for patients with recurring depression.
Though the authors acknowledge the limitations of the trial, they are optimistic that further research into the use of acupuncture and counseling is merited.