Everyone is anxious from time to time. The big presentation at work or the looming exam in school is enough to cause anyone anxiety. However, chronic or generalized anxiety is a crippling condition for millions of Americans. Fortunately, there is hope for those struggling with anxious thoughts or feelings.
What is Anxiety?
Our bodies are equipped with an evolutionary response called fight or flight. When faced with impending danger, our pupils dilate, breathing and heart rate speeds up, digestion slows down, and muscles store available glucose to prepare to either fight for our lives or run away as fast as possible. Once the threat has passed, our breathing and heart rate slow, digestion resumes, and we enter a phase known as “rest and digest”.
This response served our ancestors well when they faced predators and raiding clansmen. However, it doesn’t matter whether we have an impending deadline or a bull charging toward us, the response is the same. A person who struggles with anxiety not only experiences fear in situations where there is a real threat, they also experience that fight or flight response when the threat is only perceived.
How Does Anxiety Feel?
Anxiety sometimes feels different to different people. However, many of the symptoms include:
- Fast heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- General feelings of panic
- Emotional outbursts
- Overwhelming fear
How is Anxiety Treated?
Most physicians rely on medication to treat anxiety as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs. Also known as anti-depressants, SSRIs increase the levels of serotonin in the brain, the body’s natural “feel-good” hormone. Typically prescribed in conjunction with behavioral or talk therapy, SSRIs also carry side effects such as nausea, headache, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, and worsening symptoms. But what if there was a way to treat anxiety without medication?
Typically, patients think of acupuncture as a treatment for pain disorders. In reality, acupuncture has been used for hundreds of years to give patients an overall sense of well-being. Small, thin needles are placed under the skin at strategic points throughout the body known to be associated with mood disorders such as anxiety. Patients feel happier, more calm, and more in control of their thoughts without side-effects.
When we think of hormones, we typically think of the chemicals associated with menstruation and reproduction. In reality, stress causes our bodies to release large amounts of hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine (among others). These three major stress hormones are linked to poor concentration, weight gain, and anxiety. In turn, these conditions often lead to greater stress and the cycle continues. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) balances the hormone levels in the body, helping it resume its normal function. As hormone levels return to normal, anxiety fades.
No matter the cause of your anxiety, there is help available. Call our office today or schedule your consultation online and rediscover life outside of fight or flight.