Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults or 18% of the population in the United States (Source: National Institute of Mental Health). Anxiety disorders are highly treatable. However, only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.
People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.
- rapid or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
- stomach problems (gnawing feeling, "butterflies," diarrhea, irritated bowel syndrome)
- breaking out in a sweat, or feeling cold and clammy
- headaches, lightheadedness or dizziness
- bodily tension or aches
- a general sense of apprehension and dread
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
Anxiety is a normal response to a threat or to stress and is experienced occasionally by everyone. Normal anxiety has its root in fear and serves an important survival function. When someone is faced with a dangerous situation, anxiety induces the fight-or-flight response. With this response, a variety of physical changes, such as increased blood flow to the heart and muscles, provide the body with the necessary energy and strength to deal with life-threatening situations, such as running from an aggressive animal or fighting off an attacker. However, when anxiety occurs at inappropriate times, occurs frequently, or is so intense and long-lasting that it interferes with a person's normal activities, then it is considered unhealthy.
Medication does not cure anxiety disorders but often relieves symptoms. Medication can only be prescribed by a medical doctor (such as a psychiatrist or a primary care provider), but a few states allow psychologists to prescribe psychiatric medications.
Medications are sometimes used as the initial treatment of an anxiety disorder, or are used only if there is insufficient response to a course of psychotherapy. In research studies, it is common for patients treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication to have better outcomes than those treated with only one or the other.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Anxiety disorders are treatable. Acupuncture: treatments for anxiety have been proven to be successful in calming the symptoms of anxiety whether you are in an acute panic attack or have generalized anxiety. Specific acupuncture points are used.
Ear acupuncture, also called auricular acupuncture, may be an effective treatment for anxiety. Auricular acupuncture is a microsystem—the ear has many points reflecting different areas of your body. According to the World Health Organization, auricular acupuncture is the most widely documented, developed and practical microsystems of acupuncture used.
Research conducted by Yale University studied the effects of auricular acupuncture on acute anxiety. They found that stimulation of specific auricular acupuncture points helped reduce behavioral anxiety levels, giving them relief for a minimum of 30 minutes, for up to 48 hours.
Acupuncture may help your brain release specific neurotransmitters that relieve anxiety. According to Oxford Journals, acupuncture may cause the release of serotonin and GABA. Serotonin has inhibitory effects and helps regulate your emotions and mood. GABA, also an inhibitory neurotransmitter, helps reduce excitatory neurotransmitters in your brain that lead to feelings of anxiety.
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