Anxiety

You know the feelings- of worry, fear, restlessness, fatigue, irritation, having difficulty concentrating, being physically and/or emotionally keyed-up, being overwhelmed with thoughts, having gastrointestinal and digestive changes, weight changes, more headaches, trouble with sleep, and even panic attacks. Anxiety is usually caused by life events, stress, lifestyle choices, medications, underlying medical conditions and food allergies and sensitivities.

Many common conventional treatments include counseling, antidepressants (Celexa, Zoloft, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil), Wellbutrin (Bupropion) benzodiazepines and anxiolytics (alprazolam, lorazapam, clonazepam), anticonvulsants (Gabapentin) and many more.

Anxiety is a stress response meant to warn us of danger and preserve us from impending or future harm. It is a physiological response to one's external AND internal environment. When the brain receives stimuli- from outside OR inside the body- that overcomes the threshold to trigger a stress response, whether short or prolonged, it initiates a cascade of hormonal responses from the brain to the adrenal glands that is meant to fuel the body to react to the stress- the fight or flight response. These hormones are good in the short-term, but when they become chronically overactive, they have long-term negative consequences on the body, not to mention the emotional havoc they create.

An individual's trigger made be obvious to them or unknown. Anxiety is different from an occasional acute stress response- like receiving bad news, a near-miss accident, or performance-related anxiety- in that it is a prolonged state that disrupts your daily life, health and well-being. Most people will experience anxiety multiple times in their lives for any variety of reasons. Prolonged anxiety often leads to depression because it wears out the neurological machinery and resources. Depression is often the brain's attempt to conserve its resources to maintain basic vital functions (like breathing). It bears mentioning here that grief is not depression, but an appropriate response to life events, and medicating grief has its own consequences.

Identifying the cause of your anxiety is the key to treatment success in natural medicine. Many medications do offer relief from anxiety and depression, and I find that most of my patients seeking natural treatment for anxiety want to come off their antidepressants due to side-effects, or they no longer work but are unable to successfully discontinue and/or are prescribed higher doses and more medications for anxiety but fail to make progress overcoming anxiety and depression.

After ruling out common medical conditions, we carefully consider hidden causes of a patient's anxiety. Evaluating adrenal function, identifying food sensitivities, considering work, family and relationship stresses, and lifestyle choices are the foundation of building an effective and individualized natural treatment.