One fact that many people might not know about anxiety is how prevalent the problem is — 40 million adults in the US have an anxiety disorder. This number is likely on the low side as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has certainly left its mark, and this statistic doesn’t include anxiety experienced by children.
The team of certified acupuncturists here at Family Wellness Acupuncture understands this prevalence, as well as the impact that anxiety can have on your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Here, we explore what you should know about anxiety and how we can help you find relief.
A prolonged stress response
At the heart of anxiety is a stress response by your sympathetic nervous system called the fight-or-flight response. When your body perceives danger, it takes the steps necessary to protect you by releasing stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol.
These hormones cause physical responses in your body, such as diverted blood flow, muscle tension, dilated pupils, and rapid heart rate that are designed to give you the resources you need to stay safe.
Under normal circumstances, this fight-or-flight response is short-lived. With anxiety, your body can become stuck in this state, which can lead to:
- A sense of impending doom
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Heart palpitations
- High blood pressure
- Muscle aches
When you have an ongoing stress response that turns into an anxiety disorder, your physical and mental health can suffer.
Different types of anxiety
Though many people assume that anxiety is just excessive worry, there are several different types of anxiety disorders, including:
- Generalized anxiety disorder — an ongoing state of general anxiety
- Social anxiety disorder — a fear of being judged by people
- Panic disorder — frequent panic attacks
- Phobias — irrational fear of certain things, such as spider, heights, or germs
- Separation anxiety disorder — fear of being apart or physically separated from someone
- Agoraphobia — fear of being in public and outside the home
- Post-traumatic stress disorder — ongoing stress after witnessing or experiencing a trauma
Although the responses to these different types of anxiety often come down to the same stress response we outline above, it’s important to understand that the precipitating factors can vary greatly.
Treating anxiety disorders
One of the reasons why acupuncture can be so effective in treating anxiety disorders of all kinds is that this technique goes straight to the heart of your anxiety — your stress response. With acupuncture, we target your sympathetic nervous system to reduce the stress response by accessing certain meridians and acupressure points that can help improve the flow of your body’s energy.
Our goal with acupuncture is to release your body from the stress response to greatly reduce your anxiety.
If you’re struggling with an anxiety disorder, please contact our office in Irvine, California, to schedule your stress-relieving acupuncture appointments today.