Anxiety is a very tough and debilitating mental illness with a large spectrum. In Canada, 2.6% of people from ages 15 and over suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a disorder characterized by frequent and persistent worry and excessive anxiety in their lives. Anxiety can be applied to a wide range of contexts like stress levels at work, school, life choices and the state of the world, upbringing, genetics and more. In addition to different contexts, each person also has different triggers and reactions to anxiety that can range from mild to severe.
According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada, one in four Canadians (25%) will have at least one anxiety disorder in their lifetime (aside from generalized anxiety disorder). There are 7 anxiety disorders across the spectrum aside from GAD, as anxiety happens to be one of the most common of all mental illnesses. This can be attributed to a fast-paced life, societal expectations, and social pressures that can affect a person’s day-to-day quality of life.
Signs and symptoms
Anxiety is best seen over time. If you’re continually nervous, worried, have racing thoughts, anticipate problems or even have paranoid tendencies, these are all signs of anxiety. It’s normal in life to have short and circumstantial periods of this, but when it begins to rule your life, you must take measures to address it.
Emotional symptoms include:
- Feeling apprehensive, in danger, anticipating the worst
- Feelings of dread
- Difficulty with concentrating
- Feeling tense, jumpy, irritable
- Feeling low, tired, feeling like your mind is “blank” during or after experiencing anxiety
Aside from emotional symptoms, people notice their bodies go into different modes when they experience bouts of anxiety. If you are frequently dealing with any of the following, this may explain your anxiety.
Physical symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath, panic attacks
- Dizzy and light-headedness
- Fast heart rate
- Stomach upset
- Muscle tension, soreness
- Twitching and tremors
- Insomnia at night, fatigue during the day
- Frequent urination or diarrhea
Anxiety can be treated in a number of ways. However, many conventional therapies only address parts of anxiety but not the whole. For instance, medication will ease mental symptoms but may not necessarily help with physical symptoms and will not address the root of the problem. However, using a combination of different therapies is helpful in reducing symptoms.
Some conventional modes of anxiety include:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
The goal of reducing anxiety is to balance life activities with the body and mind’s needs.
How acupuncture can help
Acupuncture’s goal is to bring the body, mind and spirit into a balance. It acts as a complementary alternative medicine (CAM) to the treatment given by your physician.
How does acupuncture help anxiety? It improves blood and air circulation that is responsible for constricted breath and an over stimulated nervous system, which are some of the physical symptoms, many people experience while dealing with anxiety. Acupuncture also soothes the body, activates deep breathing and stimulates the body’s natural relaxation response. When the body learns to relax in this way, anxiety is addressed from both the physical and mental standpoint.
Acupuncture is effective within the first few sessions and those with anxiety are able to feel relief quickly after starting treatment. This is because it attacks the problem from its source, improving the flow of Qi, life’s energy in the body, through the meridians. Releasing blockages from the meridians causes the nervous system to produce endorphins to soothe the body and activate its natural healing abilities. This sends a message to our brain that everything is going to be okay and gives the patient a sense of control over their anxiety.
If you’ve been suffering from anxiety, whether it’s been a long time or it’s new, please do not wait any longer to seek treatment. You have so much potential to get better and heal. Contact us today to make an appointment to get the process started and to gain control over your health again.