Depression is believed to be the result of chemical imbalances in the brain, especially low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Depression is commonly divided into three subdivisions: mild, moderate and severe. Recent published medical research has demonstrated that prescription antidepressants work best for those who have severe depression but for mild to moderate depression, antidepressants do not seem to be any more effective than a "sugar pill” or placebo. That does not mean that antidepressants are not effective, but it does suggest that there are many factors that contribute to depression, not just changes in brain neurotransmitters. For many, antidepressant medications may not be the best option.
A recent study in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry suggests that acupuncture, as a stand-alone therapy, may be quite effective for mild to moderate depression.