The symptoms of anxiety are often not so different to those of when you are stressed, but more severe. A key difference is when you still feel the symptoms when the stress has passed, and often occurring at random times. A lot of information about anxiety can be found on the Beyond Blue website. Often anxiety is caused by prolonged stress, and the body simply hasn’t been able to re-balance itself. The symptoms often affect you at night when you are trying to rest which leads to sleeping disorders and insomnia. I see many causes of anxiety in my clinic, often triggered by family problems or stressful jobs. While the body and mind can cope with these for short periods, over a long period of time it can lead to what we call “Heart Qi deficiency” in Acupuncture. As our Heart houses our ‘spirit’ (what makes us unique), it can become weakened by prolonged emotion strain. Common symptoms I see in clinic are:
- Palpitations or a feeling your heart is racing
- Inability to cope at work
- Crying easily and uncontrollably
- Tight chest and inability to take deep breaths
- A feeling of a lump in your throat
- Trouble sleeping and night sweating
- Constant feelings of worry
- Lethargy and even depression
All these signs point to a Heart which has become weak and then the mind lacks nourishment, which can also lead to concentration issues and poor memory. These last two symptoms point to the digestive involvement in anxiety, which also becomes weakened from excessive emotions. Often patient have been battling anxiety more many years, and are on medication for it. Many come to my clinic wanting to stop having to rely on medications and wish to find a more natural alternative. Though sometimes necessary, medication should not be the only therapy offered to people with anxiety. Please note that I am a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner, so I will not give any advise in regards to medication. This is a conversation I encourage you to have with your GP. Anxiety often causes secondary problems to develop as the underlying problem has never received treatment, this where Acupuncture can be helpful.
Acupuncture as an Anxiety Treatment
In a similar manner to how I treat stress, we go through your symptoms to find the underlying cause behind your anxiety. Every case is different but often the organs of the Liver, Spleen and Heart are involved. I then use mind calming points to try and reduce the initial flare ups whilst re-balancing the underlying cause. My first priority is often to correct your sleep, as rest is when the body can repair itself and re-energise. Realise that with chronic conditions such as this, the treatment plan lasts for months, not weeks. Anxiety does not develop overnight, it develops slowly and in the background, until you don’t realise how far things have gone. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help! We all need it sometimes. research has shown ear Acupuncture to be useful at sedating anxiety, as well as being useful for Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
How to Deal with Anxiety and prevent attacks
- Listen to your body and be aware of what its telling you. If you are experiencing prolonged feelings of worry then seek advice from your GP!
- Avoid stressful and trigger situations that you know may cause an attack.
- Get enough good quality sleep so your body can repair itself
- Try not to fall into bad eating habits, our digestion is key to nourishing our mind
- Make sure you have outlets and hobbies to help take your mind off your worries.
Though severe, anxiety can be treated and you don’t have to feel this way for life. Don’t be afraid to call your GP and ask for help, sometimes you can’t manage it all on your own. I see many cases of anxiety come from people carrying the burdens of others for way too long. Take time out for yourself and lets get you feeling positive again!