By Nicole Murray, L.Ac.

We treat anxiety every day at BCA.

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as:  “An emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.”

People with anxiety disorders usually have “recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns.” (APA) They may avoid certain situations due to worry (e.g., someone who won’t get on a plane because they worry about plane crashes).

Physical symptoms may include insomnia, sweating, trembling, dizziness, excessive muscle tension, or a rapid heartbeat.

Risk factors for this cluster of disorders include:
* genetics,
* brain chemistry,
* personality, and
* life events.

The National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) recognizes the following as anxiety disorders:
* panic disorder;
* obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD);
* post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
* social phobia (or social anxiety disorder);
* specific phobias; and
* generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

In the US, anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses, affecting an estimated 40 million American adults. These disorders are highly treatable, but only about one-third of those suffering from an anxiety disorder receive treatment.

People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.

People with an anxiety disorder are often diagnosed with at least one other disorder or disease. These include:
* Depression (50% of people with a depressive disorder also have an anxiety disorder);
* Longstanding chronic diseases, such as IBS, chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, ADHD, etc; and
* Other psychiatric illnesses.

Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country’s $148 billion total mental health bill, according to “The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders,” a study commissioned by ADAA (The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,60(7), July 1999).

Acupuncture is hugely helpful in reducing and managing anxiety.

We will assess the main imbalance in your body, and select points accordingly. We will also address related symptoms (e.g., nausea, palpitations, feeling of fear) during your treatment. Acupuncture is known to release endorphins, which calm the body, and to reduce stress hormones.

We like to use points in the ear that are proven helpful, as well as points on the body. Treatment plans are set according to the severity of the anxiety. A typical plan is twice a week for a few months.

Links to related articles:

http://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety/index.aspx

http://pro.psychcentral.com/2013/dsm-5-changes-anxiety-disorders-phobias/004266.html#

http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/changes%20from%20dsm-iv-tr%20to%20dsm-5.pdf

https://www.adaa.org/

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml?wvsessionid=wv650bd43245ce405884dd789794894544

http://www.dualdiagnosis.org/resource/patient-assessments/anxiety-disorders/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16738013

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18433653