Everyone gets nervous or anxious from time to time; however for some people anxiety becomes so frequent, or so forceful, that it begins to take over their lives. Often it is a complicated, multifaceted condition. Anxiety disorders occur when a person regularly feels imbalanced levels of distress, worry, or fear over an emotional trigger. Stress from a personal relationship, job, school, physical trauma or financial predicament can contribute greatly.
People who have family members with disorders of the nervous system, such as anxiety, depression, OCD and Bipolar are more susceptible to developing an anxiety disorder themselves. Stressful or traumatic experiences and genetic factors can alter brain structure and function to react more vigorously to triggers that would not previously have caused anxiety.Physical factors, such as an imbalance of hormones and chemical messengers in areas of the brain, also play an important role.
Anxiety can also be the result of external factors such certain foods like caffeine, energy drinks and high sugar/carbohydrate diet. Also the side effects or withdrawal of certain drugs either prescribed or used recreational can increase anxiety.
Drugs which can increase or cause anxiety include:
Asthma medications, such as albuterol, salmeterol, and theophylline.
Blood pressure medicines, such as methyldopa.
Hormones, such as oral contraceptives, Hormone replacement and Thyroid medications.
Medicines that contain amphetamines, such as Benzedrine, Dexedrine, and Ritalin.
Steroids, such as cortisone, dexamethasone, and prednisone.
Other medicines, such as phenytoin, levodopa, quinidine, and some antidepressants, over the counter decongestants and combination cold remedies.
Weight loss supplements come with anxiety-producing side effects including green tea extracts, guarana, kelp and green coffee bean.
Smoking increases anxiety by stimulating the thyroid which regulates metabolic response.
Also become aware if any of these situations apply to you.
- Post -Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD): trauma from events such as abuse, an accident, the death of a loved one, being attacked, diagnosis of a disease, being in a dangerous situation such as a war zone
- Excessive worrying
- Fear of situations
- Stress about finances and money
- Bereavement process: grief & mourning following a death
- Lack of quality sleep on a nightly basis
The best way to resolve anxiety is to determine what the contributing factors are causing this problem and eliminate as many as possible and find non-anxiety producing substitutes instead. This means you need to evaluate your diet, lifestyle, medications, supplements and health concerns.
Counseling with a psychologist or social worker can be helpful as well as hypnosis.
There are numerous supplements that reduce anxiety very well.
L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea and extracted out. It helps to calm the mind of racing or worrying thoughts without making you sleepy. In fact it actually helps to make you more focused, less distracted and overwhelmed. We have found in our practice to be safe with most medication and safe for children. Theanine can also help you sleep (although it does not cause sleepiness) as it calms your thoughts before bed, thus allowing you to fall into a natural sleep.
Relora is an herbal combination of magnolia and phellodenron which have a calming effect on the adrenal glands (which activate the fight or flight hormones). This adrenaline rush often precipitates panic attacks. Relora helps to keep the adrenals from over reacting in stressful situations without making you sleepy. We have found combining Relora with Theanine helps to achieve the ultimate in relaxation and still be able to function without fatigue.
GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid), is an amino acid and neurotransmitter (a type of chemical responsible for carrying information from one cell to another). GABA can help boost the brain's natural GABA levels and, in turn, reduce anxiety, stress, depression and sleep. Many people state it helps them to feel more balanced.
Rescue Remedy is a Bach Flower essence that helps to diminish overwhelming emotions, particularly when they are unpredictable. A few drops in the mouth or applied topically as often as needed. It also comes as a lozenge and cream. You can’t overdose on Rescue remedy and it is safe for any age, does not interfere with medication and also safe for pets!
Passion Flower is and herb The University of Maryland Medical Center states has shown in a few studies to work as well as some of the benzodiazepine medications that are usually prescribed for treating anxiety. Bonus—side effects like daytime drowsiness were fewer with passionflower.
There are numerous other herbs that can help anxiety such as valerian, chamomile, hops, lavender, lemon balm (Melissa), and kava kava to name a few. Often you can find these in combination formulas as well.
The take home message is you can lessen and even potentially eliminate anxiety safely by discovering why you have anxiety in the first place and sometimes utilizing specific supplements can be beneficial. Just don’t let it get out of hand, so seek professional help when needed.
Appointments either in- office or via telephone are available at the Tree of Life Wellness Center, Seekonk, MA, 02771.
Jane Jansen Holistic PractitionerHost of Holistic Healthline