Millions of people suffer from anxiety disorders that bring on symptoms of nervousness, fear, or excessive worrying. Many tend to engage in negative self-talk, always believing that the worst will happen.
The causes of anxiety are different for everyone, and many times the condition is a result of genetics, hormonal disorders, stress, abuse, medication side effects, or illness, such as stroke or heart attack. While traditional medicine offers several approaches to treating anxiety, a growing number of people are exploring the use of acupuncture to treat their symptoms and help them feel calmer and in more in control.
Treating anxiety with traditional medicine
For mild cases of anxiety, many people are able to self-treat through remedies like exercise, rest, and relaxation techniques. In cases that are more severe, psychological counseling can help.
In traditional health care, another treatment option that is often pursued is medication. These medications include the following:
- Benzodiazepines. These can include drugs such as Diazepam (Valium), Alprazolam (Xanax), Lorazepam (Ativan), and Clonazepam (Klonopin). While effective at treating anxiety, these medications can be addictive and can drowsiness and possible dementia in seniors.
- Anti-depressants, especially those in the class of serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). These include Sertraline (Zoloft), Paroxetine (Paxil), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Escitalopram (Lexapro), Citalopram (Celexa), Clomipramine (Anafranil), and Venlafaxine (Effexor). Side effects of SSRIs include jitters, nausea, and sexual dysfunction.
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), beta-blockers, and buspirone. MAOIs, such as Phenelzine (Nardil), Tranylcypromine (Parnate), and Isocarboxazid (Marplan), are an older type of anti-depressant used to treat some anxiety disorders.
Using acupuncture for anxiety
According to Chinese medicine, there are 14 main channels in the body that connect with each other and run through every part of the body. It it believed that all diseases are rooted in a disorder of Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang. The disorder can be caused by the diet, emotional stress, lifestyle, and constitution.
It is believed that anxiety is caused by disorder in the heart and liver, and sometimes the spleen and lungs.
Acupuncturists can fix the disorder of Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang by putting needles into points located on those 14 main channels.
In treating patients with anxiety, acupuncturists do pattern differentiation for each individual and develop a personalized acupuncture treatment method based on each pattern.
Acupuncture for anxiety considerations
Some patients who undergo acupuncture for anxiety experience needling syncope, which can cause dizziness, oppression in the chest, nausea, and coldness. However, this can be avoided by making sure patients are not hungry or tired during their treatments. Also, for the first several visits, aggressive needle manipulation should be avoided and smaller needles should be used.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, massage therapy, and herbal medicine for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.