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Adding acupuncture or counselling to usual care hastens improvement in persistent depression

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5789 (Published 25 September 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5789

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Re: Adding acupuncture or counselling to usual care hastens improvement in persistent depression

Dear Editor,
I write in response to a compelling piece of research in the recent edition of the BMJ: “Adding acupuncture or counselling to usual care hastens improvement in persistent depression” by Ingrid Torjesen (BMJ 2013;347:f5789).
I have recently had exposure to the art of acupuncture, in association with the chronic pain team, as a part of my anaesthetic F2 placement. Truthfully, prior to this experience, I had little knowledge regarding this treatment and was rather sceptical to its use in mainstream medicine.
However, after attending a group acupuncture session in a community hospital, my attitude began to change. This particular session was targeted towards chronic pain rather than depression, however these two conditions are suggested to be associated (Sagheer et al. 2013). Despite the session compromising of a small number of patients, it was surprising to see a general positive response to acupuncture. Not only did they report an improvement in their pain, but equally an improvement to sleep and mood. Some patients found acupuncture useful only at first, but continued to attend as the group provided moral support and a sense of community.
In this article, it is interesting to note that the acupuncture and counselling group had better short and medium term outcomes, similar to the small cohort of patients I observed in the group session.
Acupuncture remains to be a relatively controversial subject, however my opinions have drastically changed. As with other areas of medicine, such as metal health, there is a stigma around complimentary medicine. As clinicians, whose primary aim is to provide the best patient care by whichever means necessary, it is important to consider alternative treatments to ensure a fully holistic approach.

Kind regards,

Dr Gwenllian Davies (FY2)

Reference
Sagheer et al. 2013. Association between chronic low back pain, anxiety and depression in patients in a tertiary care centre. [Online]. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23901665. [Accessed: 3 October 2013].

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 October 2013
Gwenllian Sera Davies
FY2 Doctor
Ysbyty Gwynedd
76 Hen Gei Llechi