Approximately 40 million Americans suffer from chronic anxiety or depression. And 10 – 15% of women suffer from postpartum depression.
Many of these people don’t seek help for fear of judgement. And among those that do get treated, approximately one out of eight adults who seek help are on medication.
Medication can offer support to many people. However, there are many others who do not respond well to medications for number of reasons.
- side effects outweigh the benefits of the medication
- a person develops tolerance to the medication and this reduces the benefits
- increased sensitivity to the concentration of the medication
And there are others who simply do not want to become dependent on a medication and are looking for other ways. You have to make the choice that is right for you.
Acupuncture does not have side-effects, and it is about treating the root imbalance. Anxiety and depression are branch symptoms that signal an imbalance in the body, mind, or spirit.
East Asian medicine sees anxiety as resulting from weakness or imbalance in the Heart and Kidney meridians.
In this case, there are other symptoms that accompany anxiety. Such as low back pain, insomnia, irritability, heart palpitations, or poor memory. You can have other symptoms that accompany your anxiety. We look at them to fine tune your diagnosis and treatment plan.
Nutrition plays an important role in treating anxiety as well.
Many anxiety patients suffer from hypoglycemia but don’t realize that they do. These patients fall into the category of consuming higher ratio of refined carbs, sugar, or coffee early in the day. They experience a ‘crash’ around mid afternoon. Often eating high protein and healthy fats early in the morning helps stabilize sugar levels.
Diet is tricky with so much information out there. We can talk about finding a diet that is suitable for your life style and constitution. Because not everyone can have a high protein and high fat diet in the morning. Generally speaking, refine carbs, sugars, and coffee are too stimulating and mess with your sugar levels. But if you have to have your coffee, that is okay too. It’s a conversation that we can have about your specific needs.
Postpartum depression has many facets.
Giving birth is a big ordeal for your body. In Asian cultures and some European cultures, postpartum care is crucial to the whole process of giving birth. In these traditions, the mother is prescribed at least one month of bed rest. She stays in bed, and kept warm. And, is given nutritional stews while her baby is brought to her breast to be fed. The reason for this is clear from a physiological perspective.
The body releases a hormone call Relaxin to loosen the ligaments in the body, which prepares the body for the action of being stretched and expanded. Body is still very open after the baby is delivered. Lifting heavy objects or standing up and moving about will not allow the body to put things back in place. It takes at least 1 months of bed rest for the body to initiate this process. Even then, it takes years for the body to fully recover with care. (*I will write about prenatal and postnatal care in another blog as it is has been one of my cause lately. )
But in our culture, we have very little information about this. Most women are up and about, either out of necessity or lack of information. Many women also simply don’t have the support system that is required for this month sit-in. And I see so many woman lack nutritional support as well. All these are contributing factors to postpartum depression. There are other causes, such as trauma during delivery, which many women don’t talk about. But we are learning more about the tender and arduous period of laboring that make women more susceptible to lasting trauma.
A person needs balance.
Exercise, good whole foods, meditation, fun activities in nature, and sun are all things we need to keep our body, mind and soul healthy. We also need to feel good about our careers, family, and friends, our support system. How can we find the the balance that works for us individually? This along with acupuncture treatment is the conversation I hope to be having with you.