Acupuncture for Anxiety Disorder


Anxiety is a psychiatric disorder characterized by excessive worrying, rumination, uneasiness, fear about future uncertainties and apprehension triggered by real or imagines factors. Almost 40 million Americans over 18 suffer from such manifestations. Physical and psychological health can be affected and treatment is required. The disorder is divided into phobic disorder, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. There are four symptoms that individuals may experience: physical tension, dissociative anxiety, physical symptoms and mental apprehension.

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting needles into certain areas of the body. Research suggests that acupuncture for anxiety disorder may be beneficial. The method helps calm the central nervous system and increase calmness. Anxiety symptoms like increased blood pressure and rapid heart rate are ameliorated by acupuncture.

Traditional Chinese medicine refers to generalized anxiety as a disorder of Shan You Si that causes the malfunction of inner organs. The Zang Organs are connected to emotions and can are affected by hereditary, dietary, environmental factors and lifestyle. Excessive mental work and worrying are manifestations of spleen disorders. Insomnia, despair, depression, mental restlessness and lack of vitality and signs of heart disease. Affected kidneys can make a person feel insecure, isolates and fearful.

The heart is believed to store the Shen spirit that can cause anxiety when disturbed. Other organs also cause symptoms of disturbance. According to traditional Chinese medicine, liver stagnation causes muscular tension, fatigue, dusky tongue, poor appetite, irritability and preoccupation. Frequent urination, lower back pain, cold hands and feet, weak pulse and a pale tong indicate kidney deficiency. Lung problems cause rapidly changing moods, fatigue, shortness of breath, throat discomfort, aversion to speaking and sadness.

A research review from 2007 suggests that acupuncture for anxiety is beneficial, although the authors state that more studies need to be conducted before any certain conclusion can be drawn. After analyzing the 12 clinical trials evidence was found to support the use of acupuncture for pre-surgery anxiety, in spite of some limitations. A study conducted in 2007 on 67 people that required painful dental work revealed that acupuncture for anxiety has the same effects like standard medication.

Because of lack of empirical evidence, the traditional acupuncture can not substitute the usual anxiety treatments such as medication and therapeutic approaches. To keep the symptoms under control lifestyle changes are also required like getting enough sleep, avoiding coffee and exercising regularly. Acupuncture can be used as a complementary medicine to the treatment program recommended by a doctor.