Anxiety is the fearful apprehensiveness which complicates many illnesses and may preceed their development. Patients suffering from anxiety may appear acutely ill with dyspnea, lachycardia, hyperhidrosis, prostration and fear that death is imminent. Handicapping symptoms, such as the paralysis of a limb, or the inability to speak, hear or see may be produced by anxiety. According to theories of psychosomatic medicine anxiety may be a major cause of such serious pathology as peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, bronchial asthma, myocardial infarction and neurodermatitis. Anxiety usually accompanies pain and intensifies it. Although anxiety is classified as a psychoneurosis and may be a prominent symptom of psychotic episodes, most people have experienced this unpleasant emotion at times. Patients who complain of nervousness and insomnia are generally suffering from anxiety.
Tranquilizing drugs are effective for the temporary relief of anxiety but may have dangerous side effects and are destructive to the basal ganglia of the brain if taken in large doses over a long period of lime. Barbituates and narcotics are effective for relieving anxiety but are addicting and potentially lethal. Alcohol is the most readily available drug for relief of anxiety, but the consequences of self-medication with alcohol may be disastrous. Megavitamin therapy is safe and often helpful in treating anxiety. It can be given along with acupuncture and continued afterwards.
Traditional Chinese medicine considers anxiety a symptom of imbalance between the Yin and Yang aspects of vital energy. In many cases, it can be effectively relieved by acupuncture. The points used for treating anxiety are included in the treatment of many types of illness, especially for the relief of pain which may accompany them.
How long the relief of anxiety by acupuncture lasts is somewhat dependent on how severe the problems are that the patient must cope with in his daily life. Some patients treated years ago have remained essentially free from anxiety symptoms since their first six treatments. Others have returned for more acupuncture treatments every 4 - 6 months.