Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear that can be mild or severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life – it is normal to feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam, or a job interview. But some people find it hard to control their worries that can affect every aspect of their daily lives.
Western medicine labels anxiety as the main symptom of several debilitating conditions, including phobias, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a long-term condition that causes people to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event.
People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another may appear about a different issue. Anxiety can cause both psychological (mental) and physical symptoms. These vary from person to person, but can include feeling restless or worried, having trouble concentrating or sleeping to dizziness or heart palpitations.
The first treatment option your doctor might offer you for anxiety is some kind of talking therapy like counselling, where you simply talk about how your feel. CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) may also be offered which focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour and teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems.
The next option for anxiety might be medication, which is sometimes offered alongside talking therapy. Antidepressants are the most common drugs prescribed and can be very helpful but can also cause side effects like, sleep disorders or body weight changes. Beta-blockers are sometimes prescribed if there are also physical symptoms of anxiety, like an increased heart rate or shaking.
The Five Element acupuncturist sees anxiety (like all symptoms) as a sign of an imbalance in the person. All living beings are governed by the natural laws we observe in nature and the anxiety experienced by the presenting patient will have a cause in one of the five elements that produce our outer and inner reality. Practitioners of this ancient healing tradition have the skills to diagnose the unique cause of anxiety in each person and effect an acupuncture treatment that has the potential to alleviate not only the symptom of anxiety but all suffering.