Sweaty palms, an uneasy stomach, tightness of the chest, panic attacks, obsessing over something that may seem like a small detail to some, and a general sense of feeling overwhelmed are often symptoms people with anxiety experience. These symptoms become a serious problem when they begin to interfere with your daily activities or sleep. Anxiety can be debilitating and some might feel embarrassed seeking help even though they know they need it. If you are tired of not being able to achieve what they would like to due to anxiety, and want to avoid medications that come with unwanted side effects such as fatigue and depression, acupuncture might be for you.
Specific Types of Anxiety
- Social Anxiety is a fear of being negatively judged by others in social or performance-related situations. Variations of this type of anxiety are a fear of intimacy, or fear of humiliation. Those who suffer from social anxiety can feel the need to isolate themselves in order to avoid public situations.
- Panic Attacks are characterized by brief or sudden attacks of intense terror and apprehension. This can lead to confusion, shaking, nausea, dizziness and difficulty breathing. Panic attacks tend to arise abruptly and seemingly out-of-nowhere.
- Generalized Anxiety unrealistic, persistent and excessive worry about everyday things. People who experience this type of anxiety often expect the worst and experience exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is no apparent reason for concern.
- Phobias are an irrational fear and avoidance of a situation or an object. Phobias often involve the fear of flight, insects, bridges, heights, and medical procedures. Phobias can significantly impact daily life, limit work efficiency, reduce self-esteem, and strain relationships.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is results from a previous trauma such as rape, a serious accident, military combat, natural disaster, or another other life-threatening events. Many people who experience a traumatic event recover from them, but those who have PTSD will continue to be anxious and severely depressed following the event. Those who suffer from PTSD often experience flashbacks, as well as behavioral changes in the hopes of avoiding certain stimuli or triggers.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by unwanted or intrusive thoughts. These thoughts often make the sufferer feel compelled to repeat certain routines or behaviors. Those who suffer from OCD may be aware that their compulsion is irrational, but they feel powerless to stopping them.
Treating Anxiety with Acupuncture
Acupuncture can help to increase the effectiveness of medication-based treatments and can help patients who suffer from anxiety but cannot be treated with medications due to the side effects that often come with Western medications.
Unlike many Western Schools of thought, acupuncturists view anxiety as an imbalance in a person’s organ system, rather than a dysfunction in the brain. This imbalance is called Shan You Si (“anxiety & preoccupation”), and is believed to impact the main organs: the Spleen, Heart, Lung, Liver, and Kidneys — each organ relating to different aspects of an individual’s emotions.
Your practitioner will work to investigate and determine the underlying cause of your anxiety through an in-depth diagnostic evaluation. This evaluation will determine which organ system has been impacted, and is out of balance. They will then develop a plan for restoring the imbalance through the insertion of fine, sterile needles into points that correlate to those organs.