Anxiety, Stress and Depression in the UK:
Statistics show that approximately 8.2 million people within the United Kingdom suffer from anxiety every year, with women almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders than men. A 2014 study carried out within the UK reported that 19.7% of people aged 16 and over suffered from symptoms of anxiety and/or depression – a 1.5% increase from previous years.
Depression is considered to be the most common mental health problem worldwide, followed by anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Furthermore, it is reported to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide, and a significant contributor towards many other health concerns – including ischemic heart disease (IHD). In 2013, depression was the second leading cause of years lived with a disability worldwide, behind lower back pain. In 26 countries, depression was the primary driver of disability.
According to a 2018 study carried out by the Mental Health Foundation, approximately 500,000 people in the United Kingdom suffer from work-related stress, often leading to depression and/or anxiety. Stress has previously been linked to significant health problems such as heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes, headaches, depression, anxiety, gastro-intestinal problems, alzheimer’s disease, accelerated ageing and premature death.
Anxiety, Stress and Depression in Chinese Medicine:
In Chinese medicine, there is a proverb:
“TONG ZE BU TONG; BU TONG ZE TONG – If there is free flow, there is no pain; if there is pain, there is no free flow.”Chinese Proverb
With this in mind, it is the continuous and unobstructed flow of qi, blood and fluids within the body that is necessary for the maintenance of health, both physical and emotional. However, this flow can be interrupted by numerous factors – both psychological, physical and environmental, thereby creating an imbalance and leading to further emotional and/or physical pain.
Within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the balance of one’s emotions relies on maintaining an equilibrium between the Zang or Yin organs within the body: the Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lungs and Kidneys. In health, each Zang is entrusted with a specific emotion: the Heart stores the spirit, known as the Shen, and relates to contentment or joy; the Liver is the seat of all emotions and relates to assertiveness; the Spleen, to creativity, focus and balanced thought; the Kidneys, to caution; and, the Lungs, to melancholy. In balance, we need these qualities in our day to day lives. However, a disturbance of any one or more of the Zang organs can affect this equilibrium and lead to an unbalanced emotional state. In pathology, a disturbance within the Heart may lead to mania; the Liver, to frustration or anger; the Spleen, to worry or over-thinking; the Kidneys, to fear or fright; and, the Lungs, to grief or sadness. Treatment, therefore, must focus on rebalancing the energies of the Zang organs and restoring the freeflow of Qi, blood and fluids throughout the body. Furthermore, treatment must always be specific to the individual.
Can acupuncture help me?
Research shows acupuncture to be effective in the treatment of anxiety, depression, stress and other mental health concerns. Furthermore, Anxiety UK recognises acupuncture in the treatment of anxiety, both as an alternative option and in addition to medication and/or talking therapies.
For the most up-to-date research and evidence on the efficacy of acupuncture, please visit the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) website.
If you would like to learn more about how acupuncture may be able to help you, please contact us today.