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
The Chinese Medicine view of Anxiety
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. Every case is different but often the organs of the Liver, Spleen and Heart are involved. As discussed on my stress page, these organs are often affected by extreme emotions. When extreme emotions affect the Heart we experience palpitations or sweating. If the Spleen is affected you may experience nausea or stomach pains. If the Liver reacts then often a tight chest, headaches or dizziness can occur. As you can see, a lot of these symptoms occur when someone experiences a panic attack, often associated with anxiety.
To help provide some relief of symptoms related to anxiety, I use Acupuncture points that help calm the mind and harmonise the digestion. These points have a harmonising affect and may give some relief from some of the symptoms.
There is what we class as moderate quality (referenced in the Acupuncture Evidence Report) evidence in scientific papers to show Acupuncture may have a positive effect in the treatment of anxiety and related symptoms. More research is required though to confirm effectiveness levels. A 2018 review of the research for Acupuncture and Electro Acupuncture concluded “Overall, there is good scientific evidence encouraging acupuncture therapy to treat anxiety disorders as it yields effective outcomes, with fewer side effects than conventional treatment. More research in this area is however needed.”
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!
If you would like more information or to discuss any other health concerns, feel free to call the clinic on 9796 2388.