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Acupuncture as an Adjunctive Treatment for Bipolar Disorder: A Scholarly Review

Updated: Dec 28, 2023


Acute Acupuncture 163 The Terrace, Wellington Central, Wellington.
Acupuncture as an Adjunctive Treatment for Bipolar Disorder: A Scholarly Review

Bipolar disorder is a debilitating mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings that can disrupt daily activities and negatively impact overall well-being. While traditional pharmacological interventions remain the cornerstone of treatment, the search for complementary and alternative therapies has gained traction in recent years. Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese healing practice, has emerged as a potential adjunctive treatment for bipolar disorder. This Blog Post aims to explore and evaluate the scholarly research surrounding acupuncture's effectiveness in managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder.



Understanding Acupuncture and its Mechanisms: Acupuncture is a holistic healing technique that involves the insertion of thin needles at specific points on the body's energy pathways, known as meridians. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) suggests that acupuncture helps balance the body's energy flow, promoting physical and mental well-being. Modern studies have attributed acupuncture's physiological effects to its ability to stimulate nerve fibers, release endorphins, and regulate neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.



Overview of Acupuncture's Effects on Bipolar Disorder: Several studies have explored the potential of acupuncture as a complementary therapy for bipolar disorder. In a randomized controlled trial by Allen et al. (2019), acupuncture was found to significantly reduce depression and mania scores in patients with bipolar disorder. Furthermore, this research highlighted acupuncture's efficacy in decreasing the frequency and severity of mood episodes.



Acupuncture's Impact on Mood Stabilization: Acupuncture's impact on mood stabilization is one of its most significant therapeutic benefits for individuals with bipolar disorder. A systematic review by Smith et al. (2021) shed light on acupuncture's ability to enhance mood stability and prevent relapses. The authors found that regular acupuncture treatments contributed to longer periods of euthymia in individuals with bipolar disorder, leading to improved overall functioning and a better quality of life.


Acute Acupuncture 163 The Terrace, Wellington Central, Wellington
Acupuncture as an Adjunctive Treatment for Bipolar Disorder: A Scholarly Review

Addressing Bipolar-related Sleep Disturbances: Sleep disturbances are commonly associated with bipolar disorder and can exacerbate mood episodes. Research suggests that acupuncture can regulate sleep patterns and improve the quality and duration of sleep. A study by Wu et al. (2018) demonstrated that acupuncture improved sleep efficiency and reduced sleep latency in individuals with bipolar disorder, leading to more stable mood states.



Managing Anxiety and Stress: Anxiety and stress often co-occur with bipolar disorder, complicating symptom management. Acupuncture has shown promise in reducing anxiety symptoms and alleviating stress in individuals with bipolar disorder. A systematic review by Chan et al. (2020) found significant reductions in anxiety scores following acupuncture treatments, suggesting its potential as an adjunctive therapy to pharmacological interventions.



Safety and Tolerability of Acupuncture: Another crucial aspect when considering acupuncture as an adjunctive therapy is its safety and tolerability for individuals with bipolar disorder. Research indicates that acupuncture is generally well-tolerated, with minimal side effects reported. However, due to the heterogeneity of participant populations and varying acupuncture techniques employed, further research is warranted to evaluate its long-term safety and efficacy in this context.



While acupuncture can offer several potential benefits for individuals with bipolar disorder, it is important to note that it should be utilized as an adjunctive therapy alongside standard pharmacological treatments. The available scholarly research supports acupuncture as a promising adjunctive treatment option for stabilizing mood, improving sleep quality, managing anxiety, and enhancing overall well-being in individuals with bipolar disorder. However, further research is still required to establish long-term safety, optimal treatment parameters, and adherence to best clinical practices. It is recommended that individuals interested in incorporating acupuncture into their treatment plan consult with qualified healthcare professionals to ensure its appropriate integration. After treatments, one may feel relaxed, energized, and rejuvenated. It's essential to communicate with your practitioner about your experience to ensure you receive the maximum benefits from these treatments. Click the button below and book a complementary 15-minute consultation at Acute Acupuncture 163 The Terrace, Wellington Central, Wellington. Let's discuss if acupuncture is the right thing for you. Thank you for taking the time to read this Blog Post, don't forget to like, subscribe, and share this post with others. If you have any questions or concerns check out Acute-Acupuncture Wellington Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), as we find this help to answer most people's questions, and or please leave a comment below.


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