Acupuncture’s Role in The Treatment of Anxiety – By Andrew Agoado AP, DOM (AP3220) – Palm Beach Gardens, Florida – Did you know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the world, and that they affect all races, genders and demographics? These disorders include a wide spectrum of conditions such as panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and separation anxiety disorder. Surveys indicate that 33.7% of the people in the world suffer from anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. WHO indicates that the disorder affects 40 million adults in the US every year.
There is no specific disorder by this name. The term is a blanket name for a range of disorders known to lead to worry, fear, apprehension and nervousness. The disorders include generalized anxiety disorders, social anxiety disorders, specific phobias, substance-induced disorders and a lot more. The conditions have an impact on what you feel and how you act. Mild anxiety lives on for an indefinite amount of time and is just a little unsettling. Extreme anxiety could be debilitating and has a huge effect on your normal life. The good news is that with the right treatment, the patient can live a fulfilling life.
Causes of Anxiety
There is no known exact cause of the condition, but a combination of circumstances is thought to contribute to its prevalence. This combination includes;
- External and environmental issues- general stress and trauma suffered in daily life
- Brain chemical composition-There are various neurotransmitters that are involved in anxiety such as serotonin, GABA, Cholecystokinin, Adenosine etc. Some are inhibitory and some are excitatory. These neurotransmitters might play a role in upregulation or downregulation of anxiety disorders.
- Medical conditions – anemia, asthma, heart issues and infections. Stress from some conditions as well as the side effects of drugs can also cause anxiety.
- Genetics-some variations of this disorder run in families and affect generations.
- Substance abuse- those who abuse substances make up 50% of all anxiety patients.
- Weakness and fatigue
- Increased heartbeat
- Panic, fear and restlessness
- Rapid breathing
- Too much sweating
- Sleep issues
- Tension in muscles
- Endless worry
- Dry mouth
- Gastrointestinal issues
Western Medical Approaches to Anxiety
Antidepressants are the go-to drugs for Western doctors. Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs) are still in use, but newer alternatives such as Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), are easier to use and have fewer side effects.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Behavioral Therapy have also been found to work in many clinical trials and real-life applications, especially when it comes to adult anxiety disorders.
There are a number of studies out there that point to the efficacy of Interpersonal Therapy.8 trials have so far shown that there is a big positive turnaround in health when subjects use IPT. In fact, said studies show that CBT is not necessarily more effective than IPT.
Acupuncture for Anxiety
Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture have been used in the treatment of anxiety for centuries and today, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reports that evidence that proves the efficacy of this approach is getting stronger with every patient review. This is testament to the existence of a growing section of Western medicine professionals and patients open to the holistic approach to health.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1997 decided to document and put out there the fact that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of a number of conditions. Over the last 20 years, acupuncture has gone notably more mainstream-in fact, 3.1 million Americans tried it in 2007 alone. Today, there are additional studies that signal to the efficacy of acupuncture in handling anxiety problems.
The Journal of Endocrinology published a series of studies put out by the Georgetown University Medical Center. These studies used rats as subjects. The rats, having been subjected to stressful conditions, were put through electroacupuncture. This approach blocked the action of some neurotransmitters and mapped the workings of others in a way that allowed the subjects to feel and act more relaxed.
When anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs are used for a long time, there are side effects to contend with. Acupuncture, on the other hand, is able to work just fine and leaves no side effects. Additionally, it can be used to not only treat anxiety, but also ensure a general sense of wholeness in the body and mind of the patient.
Our licensed Palm Beach Gardens acupuncture physicians have been successfully treating conditions such as anxiety for quite some time. If you are seeking relief we believe we can help, so contact us for a free consultation today.
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