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Acupuncture for anxiety

A healthy level of anxiety, which is a normal reaction to stress, can be beneficial to alert us to dangers and help us prepare for the future. However, if that reaction becomes excessive to the point of interfering with daily life, it may be classified as an anxiety disorder. A high level of anxiety can cause other health issues, leading to long term disfunction if it's not recognized and managed. There are a wide variety of treatment options to help ease anxiety, and treatment is not one size fits all. Managing your symptoms with a mix of traditional and non-traditional treatments, like acupuncture treatment, could be what you need to heal. 

What is Considered an Anxiety Disorder?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, anxiety disorders are considered to be one of the most common mental health disorders in America affecting at least 30% of adults at some time in their lives. There are 6 main types of anxiety disorders which include:

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (2%)
  2. Panic Disorder (2-3%)
  3. Phobias, Specific Phobia (7-9%)
  4. Agoraphobia (2%)
  5. Social Anxiety Disorder (7%)
  6. Separation Anxiety Disorder (1-2%)

Each disorder has unique characteristics that make them different. However, each anxiety disorder can a common outcome which includes an intense feeling of fear or panic associated with a specific trigger. People suffering from anxiety disorders may try to avoid situations that bring on the anxious feelings commonly associated with the disorder. It's also more common for women to experience anxiety disorders than men. When an anxiety sufferer has a reaction to a trigger both mental and physiological responses may occur. Seeking treatment can help to lesson the intensity and frequency of these responses. 

Most Common Anxiety Treatment Methods

In western medicine, anxiety disorders are treated with medications or Psychotherapy (talk therapy) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Types of medications prescribed are anti-anxiety meds (ex. Xanax), anti-depressants, and possibly Beta-blockers to help with physical symptoms of anxiety. The causes of anxiety disorders are unknown but are believed to involve a combination of genetic, psychological, environmental, and developmental factors which affect a person’s brain chemistry. These common anxiety treatment methods work to ease anxiety symptoms, however when supplemented with less traditional treatments, some anxiety sufferers may experience even more benefits. 

How can Acupuncture Help Anxiety?

There have been numerous studies showing the effectiveness of Acupuncture for mood-related disorders such as an anxiety disorder. As a general principle, those who practice acupuncture adhere to the idea that diseases and disorders arise in the body as a result of an imbalance in the person’s system which can be from internal or external sources. When using acupuncture for anxiety, the acupuncturist will look at 12 main organs/systems that can be involved in this cycle which all play a role in different aspects of a person’s physiology (physical, emotional, mental). 

A major emotion in anxiety disorders is fear. Fear is an emotion that, when treated using acupuncture, is located around the kidney system. Usually when treating an anxiety disorder the practitioner will do an extensive examination to determine the causes of the individual's anxiety symptom. Different forms of acupuncture for anxiety will be used depending on the patient because each patient will have different pathologies or root causes of their symptoms. When the acupuncturist focusses on the root cause on the anxiety with consistent treatment, this will then dissipate the symptoms experienced. 

What is the Benefit of Using Acupuncture for Anxiety Disorders?

If you suffer from an anxiety disorder that causes debilitating symptoms, it can often feel like a never ending battle to find the right treatment for your needs. At times testing various medications and other treatment methods can take a toll on your well-being. That's why trying acupuncture for anxiety is a great painless, holistic option that won't potentially have negative affects on your overall health. There are 8 main benefits of using acupuncture for anxiety, they include: 

  1. A more natural approach: Acupuncture works with your body to correct the imbalances which may lead to Anxiety Disorder
  2. Safe and effective: side effects and negative reactions are uncommon with acupuncture. The most common side effect is relaxation.
  3. Using Acupuncture for anxiety can reduce or eliminate the need for medications (with approval of your physician as your symptoms improve)
  4. Acupuncture can be integrated with your current regimen and if medication is needed, it may actually increase the effectiveness of medication.
  5. A combination of Acupuncture with talk therapy can produce faster and longer lasting results in certain individuals.
  6. In some individuals, Acupuncture can work faster than certain medications which may take months to truly become effective.
  7. Acupuncture for anxiety may be a good alternative for people who are intolerant or experience severe side effects to the prescribed medication.
  8. Acupuncture is very individualized and focuses on the root causes of the issues to create lasting effects.

Overall, using acupuncture for anxiety can be a holistic and natural option to try to manage your anxiety disorder. It can be supplemented with other key treatments helping you treat your symptoms faster and in a well-rounded way. The symptoms that are manifested from anxiety disorders can be scary and it can feel like there's no end in sight for finding balance again. Seeking acupuncture for anxiety could be just the treatment you need to begin to take control of your anxiety.

Interested in scheduling an Acupuncture appointment at Adkore? Our Acupuncture treatments are performed by licensed AP, Joshuah Jackson, on Tuesdays and Thursdays in our Sanford office.

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