Do think you have anxiety but not quite sure? It seems like people are just throwing the term around so casually now a days. I have anxiety, your giving me anxiety, I can’t that will trigger my anxiety without ever getting an official diagnoses. And then there are those who do suffer with debilitating anxiety and never get help, they suffer in silence and try to hide it from their family and friends afraid of the stigma or the label that will placed upon them with this “disability”. Afraid of others knowing their secret maybe even thinking other people will perceive them as weak. No matter if you are open about your anxiety or hide it from the world there are many ways to help relieve anxiety that your doctor may not have told you about. Anxiety disorders affects 40 million people in the United States (U.S.). It is the most common group of mental illnesses in the country. However, only 36.9 percent of people with the condition receive treatment.
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” Most people just know of anxiety and think it is just one form when in realty there are several types of anxiety which is why it is very important to be properly diagnosed by a professional to ensure you get the proper treatment for your specific type. Here are some of different types of anxiety and associated symptoms.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): This is a chronic disorder involving excessive, long-lasting anxiety and worries about nonspecific life events, objects, and situations. It is the most common anxiety disorder. People with GAD are not always able to identify the cause of their anxiety.
Panic disorder: Brief or sudden attacks of intense terror and apprehension characterize panic disorder. These attacks can lead to shaking, confusion, dizziness, nausea, and breathing difficulties. Panic attacks tend to occur and escalate rapidly and peak after 10 minutes. However, they may last for hours.
Social anxiety disorder: This is a fear of being negatively judged by others in social situations or a fear of public embarrassment. This includes a range of feelings, such as stage fright, a fear of intimacy, and a fear of humiliation. This disorder can cause people to avoid public situations and human contact to the point that everyday living is rendered extremely difficult.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): This is anxiety that results from previous trauma such as military combat, sexual assault, a hostage situation, or a serious accident. PTSD often leads to flashbacks, and the person may make behavioral changes to avoid triggers.
Separation anxiety disorder: This is characterized by high levels of anxiety when separated from a person or place that provides feelings of security or safety. Separation sometimes results in panic symptoms. It is considered a disorder when the response is excessive or inappropriate after separation.
Here are some of the most common physical signs of anxiety:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
Once you have been properly diagnosed with anxiety your doctor will usually recommend taking a medication or even seeing a therapist. I agree these options have benefits but I know there are a lot more options available that could be used in conjunction with traditional western medication. In my office it is common that I treat patients with anxiety. Some of them have never been on an anti-depressant and are worried about the side effects so are looking for a more natural approach. Others have been taking the medication for several years and its just not working anymore. Regardless if you are taking the medication or not there are several other safe and natural ways to help relieve your anxiety. Everyone is unique and it’s important to figure out what works best with your body.
Here are some Natural Remedies to reduce your anxiety
- Add Vitamin B, Vitamin B6,Magnesium and Calcium Supplements to your daily routine
- Add Leafy greens and more vegetables to your diet
- Get a massage
- Exercise at least three times per week
- Use essential oils like Lavender or Jasmine and place on your body, or even use a diffuser before bed-it helps you feel relaxed and will keep your home smelling great
- Decrease your sugar intake
- Meditate daily- I recommend in the morning before you start your day or right before bed
- Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine
How can Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine treat my anxiety?
If you have never had acupuncture treatments or know anyone else that has you may be surprised to hear that it is a common treatment method for mental health issues. Well I’m here to tell you that acupuncture works wonders for people suffering from anxiety. It’s an ancient medical treatment used for thousands of years to help with all types of medical conditions. Wait, what? How can sticking tiny needles into my body help with my anxiety? I could explain to you the biochemical explanation but you would probably fall asleep. So the short story is with the insertion of the sterile needles in certain trigger points stimulate your nervous system which release your body’s natural neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, GABA-Gamma-aminobutyric acid aka your feel good chemicals. Your practitioner will stimulate this chemical reaction to send a signal to your brain to release these chemicals that help you feel calm and relaxed. No it’s not magic and your anxiety will not be cured with only two treatments. Your practitioner will develop a treatment plan based on your specific needs. During your treatment you will relax while the needles are hard at work. So what is actually going on when these needles are in your body? After your body releases those feel good chemicals you can expect to feel great for a couple of hours or even days after your treatment. But just like all chemicals your body processes them through your liver and are then eliminated. It’s normal to feel your anxiety begin to increase again. This is why it is especially important to follow your practitioners treatment plan and continue acupuncture sessions consistently. The reason is because while the acupuncture treatments are stimulating the release of these neurotransmitters it is also training your brain will begin to start releasing them naturally which help you feel more relaxed and calm on a regular basis. So the concept is similar to working out in the gym. You don’t expect to go one time and be able to lift 100lbs right? You have to go consistently and as you train your muscles they get stronger and stronger until you reach your goal. I usually recommend my patients complete a series of ten treatments and then will do a re-evaluation to determine the next steps in their treatment plan. Another option your practitioner may recommend is an Herbal formal. At Holistic Healing we offer only the highest grade organic formulas that are made in the U. S. Once the practitioner develops your treatment plan they will decide if they recommend using the formula in conjunction with your acupuncture treatments. At Holistic Healing we evaluate our patients on an individual basis so every patient will be prescribed the exact formula best for their specific needs. These herbal formulas are plant based which means they are have all natural ingredients with no side effects, non addictive and non-dependent. At Holistic Healing our goal is to help our patience feel good as best as possible so we concentrate on finding the root cause of their anxiety and continuously guide them through their journey of being happy and healthy. Acupuncture and herbal medicine are a great way to help relieve your anxiety so if you haven’t tried it yet set up an appointment with a certified practitioner and you will feel better in no time.
Love and Light,
Amanda Sanchez L.a.c Dipl.O.M