“Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” Arthur Somers Roche
Condition and Causes
Anxiety is something that most people experience at some time in life. It usually results from anticipating and worrying about an upcoming event, such as an exam, a presentation, a sporting event or a job interview. Lifestyle factors can contribute as well, such as too much caffeine and sugar, poor nutrition, recreational drug use, exhaustion, stress and the side effects of certain medications can also cause anxiety.
Becoming anxious under pressure can sometimes be a positive thing, as it can lead to increase performance levels. For most people, anxiety is short-term and will disappear after the anticipated event has passed. It’s a natural fight or flight response to stress, that causes the changes in the body’s physiology. If anxiety occurs on a regular basis and threatens to overwhelm you it becomes a problem. The psychological effects of anxiety include fear, tension, irritability, and an inability to relax or concentrate. There is an overwhelming desire to seek the reassurance of others, making you clingy and dependent. The patient could start to have a pessimistic outlook on life and always assume that the worst is going to happen.
A panic attack is an instance in which the body’s natural fight or flight reaction occurs at the wrong time, when no physical action is needed. This is a complex; where there is a physiology response in which the body prepares itself to deal with an emergency situation. The stress response causes the body to produce more adrenal hormones, especially adrenaline. The increase production of adrenaline causes the body to step up its metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates to quickly produce energy for the body to use. In addition, the muscles tense, and heartbeat and breathing become more rapid. The composition of blood changes slight making it more prone to clogging.
Signs and symptoms
- Rapid breathing and lightheadedness
- Feeling shaky
- Sweating profusely
- Heightened senses
- Feeling alert
- Increased muscular tension can cause discomfort and headaches
- Pounding heart
- Butterflies in the stomach
- Nausea and sickness
- Repeated urge to move your bowels and urinate.
A person having a panic attack often is overwhelmed by a sense of impending disaster or death, which makes it impossible to think clearly. Other feelings that can accompany are a panic attack include shortness of breath; a smothering and claustrophobic sensation; heart palpitations; chest pain; dizziness; hot flushes and or chills, trembling; numbness or tingling sensations on the extremities, sweating, nausea; a feeling of unreality; and a distorted perception of the passage of time.
Eventually, the disorder can have other, cumulative effects such as generalized aches and pains, muscular twitching and stiffness, depression, insomnia, nightmares and early waking, decreased libido and abnormal feelings of tension with an inability to relax.
Medical Approach and Treatment
Conventional medicine treatment involves relieving the acute symptoms of anxiety to improve the quality of life and prevent harm from occurring to self and others.
Benzodiazepines is a drug that is used to treat anxiety. It is used to treat incapacitating anxiety, in lose doses for as short time as possible. These include alprazolam, which is short acting and highly addictive. It could not be used for more than four to six weeks at a time. Clonazepam is a longer-acting and therefore generally less addictive drug that may also be effective. Diazepam is a commonly used benzodiazepines.
The antidepressant Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors SSRI can be used to treat anxiety. These take long to work than Benzodiazepines. Beta blocker drugs can be used to resolve the physical effects of anxiety, such as shaky voice and racing heart.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is also used to manage anxiety, changing negative thinking patterns and negative responses in situations to positive.
Nutrition Approach and Treatment
Include a diet of apricots, asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, dried fruits, figs, fish (especially salmon0, garlic, green leafy vegetables, legumes, raw nuts and seeds, soy products, whole grains, and yogurt.
Eat small frequent meals rather than the traditional three meals a day.
Limit intake of animal protein. Concentrate on meals high in complex carbohydrates and vegetable protein.
Avoid foods containing refined sugars or other simple carbohydrates. Also avoid anything that contains caffeine.
Learn relaxation techniques. Biofeedback and meditation can be very helpful.
Get regular exercise. Any type of exercise will work; a brisk walk, bicycle riding, swimming, or aerobics.
Be sure to get adequate rest.
To help manage an acute attack, use breathing techniques.
- Inhale slowly through the nose to a count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of four
- Exhale from the mouth slowly to a count of four.
- Repeat this sequence until the attack subsides
- Remind yourself that the panic attacks lasts for a limited amount of time, and the attack will pass after a few minutes. Although rare, some may last up to a few hours.
Calcium is a natural tranquilise and magnesium helps relieve tension, nervousness, muscular spasms, and tics, best taken in combination with calcium.
Multivitamin and mineral complex with potassium and selenium.
S-Adenosylmethio (SAMe) important physiological agent involved in over forty biochemical reactions in the body. Is a natural antidepressant and has a calming effect.
Vitamin B Complex helps maintain normal nervous system functions. Vitamin B1 helps reduce anxiety and has a calming effect on the nerves. Vitamin B6 is a known energizer that also exerts a calming effect.
Vitamin C is necessary for proper function of adrenal glands and brain chemistry. IN large doses, can have a powerful tranquilizing effect and is known to decrease anxiety. Vital for dealing with stress.
Vitamin E helps transport oxygen to brain cells and protect them from free radical damage.
Zinc can have a calming effect on the central nervous system.
A body under stress is more vunerable to free radical damage. Bilberry, gingko biloba, and milk thistle are rich in flavonoids that neutralize free radicals. Milk thistle also protects the liver.
Catnip, Chamomile, cramp bark, kava kava hops, linden flow, motherwort, passionflower and skull cap promote relaxation and aid in preventing panic attacks.
Fennel relieves anxiety related gastrointestinal upsets, reduces flatulence and abdominal tension, and relaxes the large intestine. It is most effective when taken as a tea before and after meals. Lemon balm and willow bark also soothe stomach distress.
St John’s Wort can ease depression and restore emotional stability. Results in mood should be noticed in approximately two to four weeks.
Skullcap and valerian root can be taken at bedtime to promote sleep and aid in preventing panic attacks at night.
Adrenal stress: Anxiety is often related to adrenal stress and if the adrenals are over active they can keep the body in fight or flight mode.
Amygdala balance: Can be used as Anxiety response is often related to the primitive emotions of fear, rage, flight / fight, and pleasure.
Chakra Hologram: Anxiety could be related to an over active third eye chakra, or crown as well as imbalances in any other chakra.
Time tracking: This technique should be used as anxiety could often be triggered by an event in the past. A way to resolve this is to get the client to visual that event and clear using Emotional Stress Release method or any other relevant balance.
Meridian points and acupressure can relieve anxiety and nervousness as it increases blood circulation through the body.
CV 17 Chest centre, Bladder 10 Heavenly pillar is excellent for relieving tension and insomnia that can result from anxiety. CB 21 Shoulder well is useful for relieving irritability, frustration, tension and nervousness. Pc 6–Inner Gate can alleviate anxiety, heart palpitations and nausea. Ht 7–Spirit Gate is useful for relieving fear, nervousness and emotional instability.
Aconite is a remedy for treating anxious, panicky feelings that wash over you very quickly and dramatically, making you feel terror-stricken. Symptoms are likely to be especially severe at night, waking you up and making it very difficult to get back to sleep.
Lycopodium is good when the anticipatory anxiety particularly affects digestion, leading to tension in the stomach. The gut is also affected by bloating, noisy rumbling and gurgling, and also suffers from alternative constipation and diarrhoea. Patients can feels nervous and tense inside, they tend to look calm and confident on the outside.
Nux Vomica is helpful when anxiety is accompanied by addictive behaviour. This often involves relying on stimulants such as caffeine to keep going and depressants such as alcohol to unwind. As a result sleep patterns suffer, aggravating feelings of irritability and impatience.
Gelsemium is useful to easy anticipatory anxiety that causes sufferers to become withdrawn and preoccupied.
Arsenicum album is especially help in relieving anxiety that develops in high achievers and perfectionists.