The Basics

Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause worrying, fear, apprehension and nervousness. Mild anxiety can be unsettling and vague, while severe anxiety can be completely debilitating, seriously affecting one’s life.

A general state of worry or fear before a particularly challenging event is completely justified and normal. It is when these feelings become chronic, out of proportion with what might be expected in a situation, and interfere with a person’s ability to sleep or otherwise function, then it is called anxiety.
Types of anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Phobia
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Depression is a mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest. More than just a bout of the blues, depression is not something that you can simply ‘snap out of’. It affects how you feel, how you think, how you behave, and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.

Depression can occur only one time in your life (often connected to a particular event) or in multiple episodes.
Symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness or unhappiness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Sleep disturbances including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness

How Acupuncture and Functional Medicine can help

Acupuncture and Functional Medicine are a natural form of treatment that work to physiologically and energetically correct the underlying cause of anxiety and depression. Both modalities serve to regulate cortisol levels, restore parasympathetic dominance and increase serotonin and other neurotransmitters. Treatment generally includes nutritional coaching, herbal and nutraceutical medicine, lifestyle and stress management tools.

Tools for people with Anxiety or Depression

  • Practice deep breathing or meditation daily. Those with anxiety or depression will often find that shallow breathing contributes to an increase in symptoms. Deep breathing and meditation stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of our nervous system responsible for activities that occur when the body is at rest.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise increases levels of serotonin and endorphins, otherwise known as “feel good” hormones. Widespread studies have shown that exercise can significantly reduce symptoms of mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
  • Work with your health care practitioner to resolve any digestive issues. 90% of serotonin is found in the GI tract, while only 10% is found in the brain. Find out if you have food sensitivities that may be contributing to your anxiety and depression.
  • Take DHA and EPA. These Omega 3s are are essential for proper serotonin, dopamine, and phosphatidlyserine levels.
  • Test your Vitamin D levels and supplement if necessary. Studies have found low Vitamin D levels in those with depression and anxiety.