Many of us have encountered mental health issues as a result of the current pandemic. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, a share that has been largely consistent, up from one in ten adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019.
Increased anxiety and other mental health problems have been attributed to fears of getting the virus, uncertainty about the future, increased isolation, job loss, and financial difficulties. Furthermore, frontline medical personnel is suffering from burnout, despair, anxiety, and sleeplessness. Given the intensity of the epidemic and the significant changes in everyday life that many individuals have experienced, these reactions are reasonable.
In the United States, anxiety disorders are by far the most frequent mental ailment. Anxiety is a natural response to stress that can be useful in some circumstances. It can warn us of impending risks and assist us in planning and paying attention. Anxiety disorders are marked by excessive fear or worry, as opposed to typical sensations of uneasiness.
Anxiety is known to be a common occurrence in life. For example, you could have been nervous before speaking in front of a group or during a job interview. Nonetheless, if it becomes too powerful, you may feel disoriented and nauseated.
According to the National Institute of Health, “among 514 articles, 67 were selected to be fully read and 19 were included. Among these, 11 were found to have strong evidence levels. Among the six articles about randomized clinical studies, five were found to be of reasonable quality. Two studies used acupuncturist nurses to perform their interventions. Its results showed positive and statistically significant effects from using acupuncture for treating subjects with anxiety.”
Anxiety disorders come in many different forms. They are as follows:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) – Extreme concern over a range of topics that lasts six months or more is identified as this. If you have a mild case, you should be able to go about your daily activities without difficulty. Severe instances may have a life-altering impact.
- Social anxiety disorder – People who suffer from this type are afraid of being scrutinized in social and performance circumstances. They are terrified that whatever they do or say will cause them to be humiliated or embarrassed.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – People with this disorder may be overtaken by the need to repeat certain routines (compulsive behaviors) over and over again, or they may have intrusive and disturbing thoughts (obsessions) like hand-washing, counting, or checking compulsions are all common.
- Phobias – People with phobias have an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. Fear of confined spaces (claustrophobia), fear of heights (acrophobia), and a variety of other fears are among them. You could feel compelled to stay away from the scary thing or event.
- Panic disorder – Panic attacks, anxiety, dread, or a sense of impending doom result from this. Heart palpitations, chest discomfort, and shortness of breath are all physical signs. These strikes might happen at any time. Alongside panic disorder, you may possibly have another form of anxiety condition.
Anxiety that seems to be excessive or chronic can have a negative impact not only on your mind but also on your physical wellbeing. Here are the effects of anxiety on our physical well being:
Central Nervous System
When you’re worried or agitated, your brain sends hormones and compounds to your neurological process to help you respond to a threat. Adrenaline and cortisol are two examples of stress hormones.
Accelerated heart rate, thumping, and chest discomfort are all symptoms of anxiety disorders. You might also be at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure or heart disease. Anxiety disorders may increase the risk of cardiovascular events if you either have heart disease.
Anxiety may activate your fight-or-flight stress reaction, releasing a barrage of chemicals in the body into your system, including adrenaline.
This boosts your pulse and breathing rate in the short term, allowing your brain to get more oxygen. This will help you react correctly in stressful circumstances. Your immunity could even get a boost for a while. When you are under periodic stress, your body returns to regular functioning.
Other signs and symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:
- muscular tension
- separation from the rest of society
How does Acupuncture help with anxiety?
Acupuncture, an ancient therapy involving the insertion of needles into pressure points on the body, is becoming a popular anxiety treatment option. Acupuncture appears to assist with anxiety symptoms, according to some research data. Its effects on anxiety have been studied in a number of ways. These studies mostly looked at generalized anxiety disorder, and they show that acupuncture can assist with general anxiety.
Acupuncture, when used to alleviate anxiety, provides the following advantages:
- It affects the body and reduces anxiety on a physiological level. Acupuncture can enhance Heart Rate Variability, which is linked to reduced stress and anxiety.
- It impacts the neurological system and balances sympathetic and parasympathetic activity, which can aid in reducing the body’s fight or flight stress response.
- It increases the production of endorphins, which are involved in the body’s stress response. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body.
It’s crucial to note that while there is a lot of valid data to back up the advantages of acupuncture for anxiety, more study is needed in this area. The study of phobias, panic attacks, and anxiety in relation to acupuncture procedures is still underway.
According to certain studies, stressors like flashbacks that bring traumatic experiences might trigger anxiety if the body’s Qi is out of balance. Qi is a vital energy that is held to animate the body inside and is important to Eastern medical therapy and exercise or self-defense methods (such as tai chi).
Overall, acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for anxiety and stress.
Research and References: