Under normal circumstances, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults, which represents more than 18% of the population. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year was anything but normal, and one-third of the population reports signs of clinical anxiety or depression. Whether you’re new to anxiety or it’s been a longtime (and most unwelcome) companion, the impact of anxiety on your life can be severe.
Our team here at Family Wellness Acupuncture has pulled together three examples of how anxiety casts a wide net over your overall wellness.
1. Anxiety and your physical health
When you have an anxiety disorder, your body exists in a fight-or-flight mode in response to the stress. First, your sympathetic nervous system stimulates your adrenal glands, which release hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline). These hormones create the following responses in your body:
- Dilated pupils
- Muscle tension, which can lead to trembling
- Pale skin — your blood diverts to your arms, legs, and brain
- Increased heart and breathing rates
All of these responses are designed to help you when you face danger — either fighting the threat or running from it. Once the threat is clear, it can take up to an hour for your body to regulate itself again.
With an anxiety disorder, your body may be stuck in this response, which can take a heavy toll physically, including cardiovascular and sleep issues
2. Anxiety and your mental health
Although there are different types of anxiety disorders, they generally share many attributes, including how they affect your mental health. Many people with anxiety experience:
- Intense fear
- A sense of impending doom
- A feeling of helplessness
- Low self-esteem
Though anxiety and depression are two different conditions, long-term issues with anxiety can lead to major depressive disorders.
Another common problem with anxiety is that many people self-medicate with alcohol or drugs to find relief, which places them at great risk for developing a substance use disorder.
3. Anxiety and your social and professional life
Living with anxiety is difficult enough, but many of the symptoms we outlined above can wreak havoc on your social and professional relationships.
For example, one of the hallmarks of anxiety is an inability to concentrate or focus, which can greatly interfere with how you perform at work or school.
Socially, people with anxiety often find even minor social interactions cumbersome, which causes them to become increasingly isolated. This aspect of anxiety can carry over into more personal relationships with families and partners.
Anxiety and acupuncture
Acupuncture is an ancient technique in which we restore the flow of energy — or qi — in your body. What this means when it comes to anxiety is that we’re able to break the fight-or-flight response in which you’re stuck by restoring hormonal balance and regulating your circulatory system.
If you’re tired of anxiety overshadowing every aspect of your life, contact our office in Irvine, California, to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed acupuncturists.