Anxiety is a very common complaint we hear from patients in our clinic. Symptoms include things such as rapid heart rate, a sensation (sometimes heaviness) in the chest, shortness of breath, constant thoughts, difficulty sleeping, avoidance of social situations, difficulty concentrating, and there are others. For many, we live in an anxiety provoking time.
Anxiety is a normal human emotion. We all experience everyday anxiety related to our lives. This type of “normal” anxiety resolves when the situation resolves. Anxiety becomes a health concern when it interferes with daily life. Here are some examples of everyday anxiety, and also, the more debilitating complaint we can call an anxiety disorder:
Everyday Anxiety Anxiety disorder
Worry about everyday matters, Constant, unsubstantiated and out
finances, employment, relationships, of proportion worry that interferes
and health of family with daily life
Embarrassment and self-consciousness in Inability to deal with and avoidance
unfamiliar or awkward social situations of social situations for fear of panic
Anxiety and nerves before an important Anxiety and panic attacks for no
event apparent reason, or out of
Rational fear and avoidance of danger Irrational fear and avoidance of
and potentially dangerous situations otherwise benign situations, people
places and animals
Anxiety, sadness and sleep problems after
a traumatic event, but which diminish Persistent anxiety, panic attacks,
with time and processing nightmares or flashbacks related
to a traumatic event that may have
Paying attention to hygiene, being careful occurred months of years before.
and conscious of your environment and
immediate situation Obsessive compulsion with rituals . cleanliness, washing, checking
and rechecking doors and windows.
From the Chinese medicine perspective, anxiety can arise from one or more factors as outlined below:
1. Emotional factors:
Anger, frustration, resentment, especially when repressed, extreme, prolonged or unprocessed
Grief and sadness are normal responses to loss. When extreme or prolonged or unresolved
Worry and rumination when excessive or irrational
Sudden physical or emotional shock
2. Inherited constitution includes weakness in any of the major organ systems. This can lead to you not being quite as resilient as you might like and you might have a lower stress tolerance. But that's ok, these tings can be improved!
3. Diet – though not often a primary factor, when restrictive or inadequate can result in susceptibility to anxiety. If you skipped breakfast and drank a venti coffee, you might not have anxiety, you might just be on a blood sugar rollercoaster!
4. Overwork, exhaustion – depletes the organ systems and can result in anxiety. Post-partum anxiety especially when there was a difficult birth, hemorrhage, breast feeding with inadequate rest and or poor diet can also result in anxiety. Any amount of overwork, whether it's mental or physically can lower you capacity to tolerate stress, change, new environments or experiences or stimulating environments.
5. Other biomedical causes such as thyroid problems, blood sugar problems, menopause, PMS, PTSD, prolonged stress
6. Drugs, withdrawal from or dependence on some pharmaceutical or recreational drugs can send your body straight into fight-or-flight which will cause or contribute to anxiety.
7. Sedentary work and leisure activities- unused energy in the body can feel like restlessness, irritability, impatience or anxiety.
It is not uncommon for a combination of the above to be in play.
The key for treatment is to identify what you are specifically experiencing and what may be contributing to it.
From there you can determine what treatments (and how much treatment!) you need. Some people may need to address all 7 other these areas and other may do great with just 1 or 2.
Safe and effective treatment for anxiety may include acupuncture, herbal medicine, therapy, exercise, improved sleep and nutrition and possibly medication.
if you have questions about acupuncture, anxiety or just want to chat please call or text us at 479-437-9056.