Feeling anxious is our body’s natural response to situations it finds stressful. It is a way to let us know we are in danger, for example, and need to act. Alternatively, it keeps us alert and focused when we’re doing something important like starting a new job.
If we continually feel anxious, however, we can find our day-to-day life is negatively affected. Things we once took for granted and could do easily, sitting down to read a book perhaps or picking up the phone to call a friend, become increasingly difficult.
How many people suffer from anxiety?
The number of people suffering from anxiety has been increasing across the UK, with over 8 million people now affected. Of those, a large percentage are students: a recent survey carried out by clinical healthcare company Forth, found young people reported feeling anxious an average of 12 days a month.
Anxiety in young people often appears around the age of 14. While there are any number of reasons a young person feels anxious, a difficult home life, for example, the pressure to succeed and do well in exams is seen as a significant contributory factor.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
Young people can feel anxious when studying for GCSEs, A levels and university degrees, experiencing symptoms that are both behavioural and psychological and stemming from a fear of letting down teachers and parents and the consequences of not doing well (missing out on a university place, for example, or job opportunities).
The symptoms can include feeling afraid, restless, impatient or nervous. Young people might be easily distracted, find it hard to concentrate or struggle to sleep. During periods of high anxiety, in the middle of exams, for example, they may have panic attacks.
How can acupuncture help manage anxiety?
If not treated, anxiety can lead young people to withdraw from family and friends, using substances to self-medicate, or dropping out of school, college or university. Depending on the level of anxiety, treatment can include cognitive behavioural therapy, medication, techniques such as mindfulness or exercising regularly.
Acupuncture has also been shown to help with anxiety and is a non-medical alternative to those who don’t feel psychological treatments or medication are for them or are looking for complementary treatments to those they are already using.
Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system through the insertion of very fine needles into the skin. This causes biochemical changes in the brain that can lead to improved physical and mental health and wellbeing by reducing activity in areas of the brain sensitive to stress and stimulating those that promote relaxation.
It can also help alter the brain’s chemistry and regulate the level of hormones linked to high levels of stress and anxiety such as dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. Over time, this can result in a reduction in anxiety levels, which may disappear entirely, meaning young people are better able to cope with the stress they feel during their exams.
If you or your child is struggling with the pressure of tests during exam season, then acupuncture can be an incredibly effective way to reduce the stress and adverse symptoms associated with anxiety. Start today by booking for the first consultation for acupuncture.