Anxiety Disorders (OCD, Phobia Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder)
“Anxiety has nothing to do with courage or character, nothing at all”
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It is a feeling of fear and apprehension about what is to come. There are plenty of things that may cause most people to feel anxious for example the first day at a new job, public speaking or going for a job interview. Anxiety however is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where we feel under pressure, they usually pass once the stressful situation has passed. Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don’t go away – when they’re ongoing or happen without any particular reason or cause.
Who gets anxiety disorders?
Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia and can affect anyone, of any age. On average, one in four people – one in three women and one in ﬁve men – will experience anxiety at some stage in their life. In a 12-month period, over two million Australians experience anxiety.
What does anxiety feel like?
Anxiety can feel differently in different individuals. It can show up as feelings of fear and helplessness and can be accompanied by scary physical symptoms such as breathing problems, a pounding or racing heart, tingling hands, sweating, chest pain and dizziness. You might feel butterflies in your stomach, experience nightmares, panic, or painful thoughts or memories that you can’t control. You may fear a specific place or event.
What are the types of anxiety disorders?
There are many different disorders in which anxiety is a key feature, including:
Panic Disorder: characterised by bouts of intense fear or terror that develop quickly and unexpectedly
Phobia: excessive fear of a specific object, situation, or activity
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD): extreme fear of being judged by others in social situations
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): recurring irrational thoughts that lead you to perform specific, repeated behaviours
Separation Anxiety Disorder: fear of being away from home or loved ones
Hypochondriasis: anxiety about your health
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): anxiety following a traumatic event
How does Chinese medicine view anxiety?
Chinese medicine practitioners believe that physical health issues are connected to a person’s emotional state and vice versa. Emotions are viewed as an integrated aspect of organ functions, and are sometimes the root cause of disease. Each emotion corresponds to a particular organ. For example, the spleen is commonly linked to (excessive) worry. If there is anxiety, the function of the related organ is out of balance. By inserting fine needles into various points on the body, such as the fingers, hands, wrists, ankles, and feet, we redistribute the energy, in order to improve the symptoms.
What is the current research status on acupuncture and anxiety?
A recent study published in 2021 (1) concluded that acupuncture therapy aimed at reducing anxiety in patients with GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) has certain beneficial effects compared to controls.
In 2017 the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA) funded The Acupuncture Evidence Project (2) : a comparative literature review of the effectiveness of acupuncture in 122 common conditions. Acupuncture for anxiety was assessed as having a ‘potential positive effect’.
What is involved in an acupuncture session for anxiety?
Every session starts with discussing your current symptoms and overall health. To get further information we will then feel your pulse and have a look at your tongue. We decide on the points that we will be using that session and insert fine needles into those points. The needles will stay in place for 20-30 minutes during which you can rest and relax. After the needles have been removed you can get up again and continue your day.
What can I expect after my acupuncture session?
Most people rest deeply whilst having acupuncture and feel very relaxed after the session. There is nothing in particular that you need to do or not do afterwards, just do what feels good to you. In the days after the treatment you will start to notice the positive effects the session has on your health and wellbeing. The effects are accumulative, that means that after more sessions the effects tend to last longer. We will discuss during your first session what is to be expected in your particular case and how many sessions will be needed.
Can I claim my acupuncture session on insurance?
Most Private Health Funds cover acupuncture however it is important to check your level of cover with your health fund prior to your treatment. We do have HICAPS facilities so if you’re covered you will only have to pay the gap.
What is the easiest way to book my acupuncture session for anxiety?
(1) Effectiveness of acupuncture on anxiety disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Xiang-Yun Yang, Ning-Bo Yang, Fang-Fang Huang, Shuai Ren, Zhan-Jiang Li. Annals of General Psychiatry, volume 20, article number: 9 (2021)
(2) McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (Revised edition). © Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd, 2017.