Why You Should Try Acupuncture for Anxiety Relief
According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorder in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults and costing more than $42 billion a year.
Feelings of anxiety, worry and fear related to significant and challenging events are justified and very common. Anxiety becomes a problem when emotional reactions are out of proportion with what might be “normally” expected in a situation, and when symptoms interfere with a person’s daily functioning or sleep patterns. Mild anxiety leaves a person feeling a bit unsettled, while severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating.
ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT FOR ANXIETY
Western medicine considers anxiety disorders are dysfunctions in a person’s brain chemistry. An acupuncturist does not view anxiety as a brain dysfunction, but rather as an imbalance in a person’s organ system. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this imbalance is called Shan You Si (“anxiety & preoccupation”), and is believed to affect the main organs: the Heart, Lung, Spleen, Liver, and Kidneys. Each organ is related to different aspects of a person’s emotions.
For instance, worry affects the Spleen and grief affects the Lungs. Anger affects the Liver, fear the Kidneys, and lack of joy the Heart. If a person experiences one or more of these emotions over a long period of time due to lifestyle, dietary, hereditary and environmental factors, it can cause an imbalanced emotional state and lead to various anxiety disorders.
Our acupuncturist will investigate the underlying causes of the anxiety. A practitioner performs a thorough diagnostic evaluation to determine affected organ system. Our licensed acupuncturist in Northern Virginia will then seek to restore the imbalance by inserting fine, sterile needles into the points correlating to those organs. Additionally, acupuncture helps to reduce stress, ultimately encouraging and supporting a greater sense of well-being and balance.
TYPES OF ANXIETY DISORDERS
Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. However, when a person regularly feels excessive levels of anxiety, it may become a medical disorder. Anxiety disorders form a category of mental health diagnoses that lead to excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry. Examples of anxiety disorders include panic attacks, phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Common Types of Anxiety Disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Unrealistic, persistent and excessive worry about everyday things. People with this disorder often expect the worst and experience exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is no apparent reason for concern.
Panic Disorder: Brief or sudden attacks of intense terror and apprehension that leads to shaking, confusion, nausea, dizziness and difficulty breathing. Panic attacks tend to arise abruptly and seemingly out-of-the-blue. They cause the individuals to become preoccupied with the fear of a recurring attack.
Phobia: Irrational fear and avoidance of an object or situation. Phobias commonly focus on flying, bridges, insects, heights, dental or medical procedures and elevators. Having phobias can disrupt daily routines, reduce self-esteem, limit work efficiency and put a strain on relationships.
Social Anxiety Disorder: Fear of being negatively judged and scrutinized by others in social or performance-related situations. Different variations of this type of anxiety include a fear of intimacy, stage fright and a fear of humiliation. People suffering from this disorder can sometimes isolate themselves in an attempt to avoid public situations and human contact.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted or intrusive thoughts, which often make the sufferer feel compelled to repeat certain behaviors or routines. Even when the OCD sufferers know the irrationality of their compulsions, they feel powerless to stop them. They may obsessively wash their hands, clean personal items or constantly check light switches, locks or stoves.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Anxiety that results from previous trauma such as military combat, rape, a natural disaster, a serious accident or other life-threatening events. Most people who experience such events recover from them. However, people with PTSD continue to be anxious and severely depressed for months or even years following the event. They often experience flashbacks and behavioral changes in order to avoid certain stimuli.
At one time or another, most of us have experienced some form of depression. It is a healthy response to events in our lives that seem overwhelming. When we are balanced, physically and emotionally, we can easily bounce back from a depressed state and move on with our lives. When negative feelings and emotions become persistent and consistent, depression may set in. [Find Out How Acupuncture Treats Depression]
Acupuncture Can Help
Acupuncture clinical study conducted in China in 2010, has concluded that acupuncture is a “safe and effective” treatment for mood disorders including depression and severe anxiety, in some cases proving to increase the effectiveness of medication-based treatments. Additionally a 2009 study, again in China, determined that acupuncture alone could help anxiety patients with intolerance of medication side-effects.
Zhang (2010). “The effectiveness and safety of acupuncture therapy in depressive disorders: Systematic review and meta-analysis”. Journal of Affective Disorders, 124, 1-2, July 2010.
Wen (2009). “Combination of acupuncture for depression: A randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial”. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15, 8, August 13, 2009.