Acupuncture for Anxiety and Depression

Systematic Review


Acupuncture for anxiety and anxiety disorders--a systematic literature review. “Positive findings are reported for acupuncture in the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder or anxiety neurosis but there is currently insufficient research evidence for firm conclusions to be drawn.”
Pilkington K, Kirkwood G, Rampes H, Cummings M, Richardson J. 2007 Acupunct Med. 25(1-2):1-10.

Effects of acupuncture on the symptoms of anxiety and depression caused by premenstrual dysphoric disorder. In a single-blind randomised clinical trial, 30 volunteers with PMDD were assigned alternately to group 1 (acupuncture) or group 2 (sham acupuncture), and completed an evaluation of symptoms of anxiety and depression. Before the intervention the mean HAM-A and HAM-D scores did not differ between groups. Following the intervention symptoms of anxiety and depression were reduced in both groups; however, the improvement was significant in group 1 compared to group 2. The results suggest that acupuncture could be another treatment option for PMDD patients.
Carvalho F, Weires K, Ebling M, Padilha Mde S, Ferrão YA, Vercelino R. Acupunct Med. 2013 Dec;31(4):358-63. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2013-010394. Epub 2013 Sep 12.



In this randomised controlled trial of acupuncture and counselling for patients presenting with depression, after having consulted their general practitioner in primary care, both interventions were associated with significantly reduced depression at 3 months when compared to usual care alone. 
MacPherson H, Richmond S, Bland M, Brealey S, Gabe R, et al. (2013) Acupuncture and Counselling for Depression in Primary Care: A Randomised Controlled Trial. PLoS Med 10(9): e1001518.

Acupuncture: a promising treatment for depression during pregnancy: In a study carried out at Stanford University, 61 women with major depressive disorder were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments:1. Individually tailored true acupuncture designed to treat their depression, 2. True acupuncture but with points not chosen to treat the depression, and
3. Massage treatment (included to provide a control for attention, physical contact, relaxation and respite from daily stress).
Acute phase treatment was given for twelve sessions over eight weeks, with continued treatment throughout pregnancy for those who responded. As far as possible the acupuncture treatment was double-blinded, with the treatment to be given by a treating acupuncturist determined by a different (assessing) acupuncturist. The assessment, treatment design, needle insertion, and needle stimulation were all standardised. Response rates at the end of the acute phase were 68.8% in the depression specific acupuncture, 47.4% in the non depression-specific acupuncture, and 31.6% in the massage group. The study also showed that successful treatment of depression during pregnancy offers protection from postpartum depression.
Rachel Manbera, Rosa N. Schnyerb, John J.B. Allenb, A. John Rushc, Christine M. Blaseya Journal of Affective Disorders, 2004, Vol.83 (1): 89-95, 15 November.

Acupuncture for depression during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial.  Fifty-two women were randomized to acupuncture specific for depression, 49 to control acupuncture, and 49 to massage. Women who received acupuncture specific for depression experienced a greater rate of decrease in symptom severity (P<.05) compared with the combined controls. The short acupuncture protocol demonstrated symptom reduction and a response rate comparable to those observed in standard depression treatments of similar length and could be a viable treatment option for depression during pregnancy.
Manber R, Schnyer RN, Lyell D, Chambers AS, Caughey AB, Druzin M, Carlyle E, Celio C, Gress JL, Huang MI, Kalista T, Martin-Okada R, Allen JJ.  Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Mar;115(3):511-20. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181cc0816.

Schizophrenia and Depression: A systematic Review of the Effectiveness and the Working Mechanisms Behind Acupuncture  From the evidence found in this study, acupuncture seems to be an effective add-on treatment in patients with depression and, to a lesser degree, in patients with schizophrenia, but large well-designed studies are needed to confirm that evidence.
Peggy Bosch, Maurits van den Noort, Heike Staudte, Sabina Lim Explore - the journal of science and healing; July–August, 2015 Volume 11, Issue 4, Pages 281–291
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