Feeling Down This Winter? You May Have Seasonal Affective Disorder...And Acupuncture Can Help

It’s cold. You wake up and it’s dark, you head to work, and before you even leave work it’s dark again. Repeat over and over again.

Depending on where in the country or world you live, the above description hits close to home. Winter can be fun for the holidays and those who like cold weather activities, but for many, the short daylight hours can take a real toll on one’s emotions. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that is linked to the seasons, with susceptible people experiencing it most commonly during fall and winter months. Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder include depression, intense fatigue, difficulty concentrating, consistent negative thoughts and decreased social interaction.

Anyone who thinks they may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder should seek out mental health care. But in lieu of any medication, those who are looking for relief should consider acupuncture a major part of your care plan, too. That’s because acupuncture is uniquely suited to treating mood disorders, including depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Through acupuncture, we can address the root causes of SAD, targeting specifically the areas of the brain and body that respond to light and seasonal changes. Alleviating qi stagnation in the liver can also be a priority, as the liver is a key part of the body that acts as a mediator between our internal and eternal environments.

Most medications for mood disorders only temporarily treat symptoms, not root causes, and they do so by inputting potentially harmful chemicals into our bodies. Acupuncture is a natural, holistic and lasting treatment. For those who suffer from Seasonal Mood Disorder, acupuncture can help you get through the doldrums of the winter months and leave you feeling energized, happy, and ready to take on the day!

How Acupuncture Helped Ease A Woman's Anxiety

It is well-established, with scientific backing, that acupuncture is effective at treating anxiety. Acupuncture’s ability to regulate the body’s qi often helps those who suffer from anxiety feel more relaxed, more in control of their emotions, more present and more confident. We can go on in detail about how and why acupuncture is a valuable part of a treatment regimen for those suffering from anxiety, but we love when we come across personal stories of those who are discovering acupuncture’s benefits for the first time.

So when we saw this personal, first-person account on Popsugar from author Alexandra Hubbel the other day, we couldn’t help but smile…and of course share it with you.

Alexandra tells of how she was suffering from a number of symptoms like dizziness and inflammation, stemming from what she believed was her anxiety. When a friend suggested acupuncture, Alexandra was skeptical at first but gave it a shot.

Then comes our favorite part of the story. As Alexandra writes:

The acupuncturist actually listened. She let me cry. She sympathized. She offered advice. And she didn't make me feel crazy or overdramatic or try to blame my physical symptoms on anxiety and depression alone.

This represents something important to us that doesn’t often get talked. We can’t speak for everyone, of course, but we can promise that we’re a judgment-free zone. It is important that every patient feels comfortable coming to us and describing what they are feeling—that way we can accurately treat what is ailing them. It’s understandable that many people are apprehensive about telling an acupuncturist about something like anxiety. But we are here to help with anything you may be going through and build out a personalized treatment plan that will create lasting change.

Alexandra’s acupuncturist told her “that there's a light at the end of this painful, exhausting tunnel.” We couldn’t think of a better way to describe acupuncture’s goal.

Acupuncture Helps Veterans with PTSD Sleep Better

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, otherwise known as PTSD, is a disorder that develops in people after they have experienced a shocking, scary or traumatic event. It can either be short term or chronic, and symptoms include bad dreams and trouble sleeping, feeling tense and on edge, having angry outbursts, depression, and more. PTSD affects around 8% of Americans, around 24 million people.

 

While anyone who experiences a traumatic experience can become affected by PTSD, Awareness around PTSD has grown in the public consciousness over the past few years in relation to military veterans who suffer from it. The situations that our servicemen and women endure are unsurprisingly incredibly difficult to deal with emotionally. Unfortunately, adequate care for our veterans is not always top of mind in our country.

 

Thankfully, studies are beginning to show what acupuncturists have known—that the ancient practice is an effective, safe, and lasting treatment for PTSD, particularly the insomnia and uneven sleep patterns that veterans suffer from. A recent survey done at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Georgia in conjunction with Emory University determined gave a group of veterans, with a mean age of 40 and suffering from PTSD and mild traumatic brain injuries 10 acupuncture administrations. The other half of the group received sham acupuncture, and the findings were clear.

 

“Acupuncture provides meaningful relief for a particularly recalcitrant problem affecting large segments of the veteran population,” the study said. The relief was judged by sleep study, measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and showed that those who received acupuncture received a 2.7% increase in sleep efficiency.

 

If you or anyone you know suffers from PTSD and particularly struggles with sleeping, let them know that acupuncture is here to treat them safely and for the long term. And don’t forget to thank them for their sacrifice and service to our country!