It might help some people, but more effective options are available.
151 patients were assigned to treatment for 8 weeks:
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)-style acupuncture with manual stimulation for depression,
Nonspecific acupuncture, or
After 8 weeks, everybody got depression-specific acupuncture.
And the results
Both acupuncture groups did better than the group that got no treatment.
There was no significant difference in the rate of response between the acupuncture groups (22% and 39%) at 8 weeks.
After 16 weeks about half the patients responded to acupuncture.
The response to acupuncture is disappointing.
Dr. Irene says that major depression is a very treatable disease using antidepressants and/or cognitive behavioral therapy. The important thing is whether the response to any treatment can be maintained long-term. This study didn’t address that issue. You can visit Dr. Irene’s homepage here and website here.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness states, “Between 80% and 90% of those diagnosed with major depression can be effectively treated and return to their usual daily activities and feelings.” You can read their informative review with treatment options here.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.