“Depression is the loneliest condition on the planet even though tens of millions suffer from it”. Mark Rice-Oxley, journalist
22 April was the start of UK Depression Awareness Week. No, I haven’t seen much about it in the press either. Which is tragic because depression is one of the most debilitating illnesses, and one of the most common: 1 in 5 people in the UK will suffer from it at some time. Let’s get one thing straight. It’s not as simple as saying “he/she can’t cope”, it’s an illness. It’s normal to feel happy, sad, elated, low as we move through life and its challenges, but if the low feelings are becoming part of your everyday life, then something needs to be done. And, more importantly, CAN be done.
There are lots of different types of help available through the NHS – from self-help strategies (such as exercise and nutrition), talking therapies such as CBT (which helps instill more positive behavioural patterns), to medication. Many acupuncturists regularly treat people with mild to moderate depression, with positive results. Two recent pieces of research found that acupuncture can be similar in effectiveness to anti-depressant medication, and one of the studies recommended acupuncture for depression (Zhang 2010).
Whatever route someone chooses to take, one of the most important things to do is to talk about it, whether that be to a friend, a partner or GP.