If you struggle from anxiety, you know that sometimes it seems to come out of nowhere. Many people believe that anxiety is all in your head, and if you just think good thoughts or calm down, your anxiety will go away. The reality is that anxiety involves a complicated interplay between your excitable sympathetic nervous system (SNS), hypothalamus (a part of your brain), neurotransmitters, stress hormones, and physical responses.
It’s normal to feel anxious when you’re faced with a new challenge, but when the anxiety doesn’t end, gets worse, or begins to affect your daily life, it’s considered an anxiety disorder. And not all anxiety disorders are the same. There are actually over a dozen different classifications of anxiety disorders. A common kind of anxiety is called generalized anxiety disorder, which is characterized by chronic worry about everyday situations. Symptoms include feeling nervous or on edge, tense muscles, trouble concentrating, irritability, sleep issues, fatigue, and a racing mind.
Panic disorder is another kind of anxiety, which causes people to have unpredictable and uncomfortable panic attacks. A panic attack is described as a period of overwhelming fear that may be accompanied by chest tightness, shortness of breath, a racing heart or palpitations, sweating, shaking, a feelings of doom, and a sense of loss of control.
Another kind of anxiety is a fear of a specific thing or situation, called a phobia. If you have a phobia, you may go out of your way to avoid the trigger and experience profound anxiety when encountering the object of your fear. Some common phobias, include a fear of heights, flying, certain animals (snakes, spiders, birds, dogs), and a fear of blood or medical procedures. Social anxiety disorder is a fear of being in social situations, and agoraphobia is a fear of being in public, open spaces, crowds, or in extreme cases, being outside of your home.
While it’s not known exactly what causes anxiety, there are a number of factors that may increase your risk for developing it. They include childhood shyness, being exposed to stressful situations as a child or young adult, a family history of anxiety, and certain health issues, including a thyroid imbalance or irregular heartbeats. In addition, caffeine, certain medications, and stimulants can increase your risk of developing anxiety.
Natural Solutions for Anxiety
At BodaHealth, we offer a number of treatments and strategies to help calm your anxiety. Our goal is to address the underlying cause of your symptoms and offer gentle, effective treatments in a relaxing atmosphere. Here’s how we can help:
-At BodaHealth, we’ve found acupuncture is an effective treatment for anxiety, and research backs this up. Systematic reviews of research have found that acupuncture can reduce anxiety almost twice as well as psychotherapy or the use of medications. Scientists believe that acupuncture works through a couple of different mechanisms. Acupuncture treatments increase the release of something called endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that produce a calming, feel-good effect on your body. Acupuncture also calms the hypothalamus, which is a part of your brain that’s activated when you’re under stress. Acupuncture also helps enhance your body’s ability to deal with stress by improving your heart rate variability, which is a heart-related indicator of health. The nature of an acupuncture treatment is calming, and many patients describe their session as a restful break from their busy day.
-In addition to acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine offers effective treatment for anxiety. In the traditional Chinese system of healing, a number of herbs are combined into a formula specific for your needs. The herbs act on their own, but also extend the effects of your acupuncture treatment. There are a number of herbs that are well-known for their ability to treat anxiety, which may be blended with other herbs to address and other symptoms you may have.
–Naturopathic medicine has an important role to play in treating anxiety, too. Our naturopathic physicians will do a complete assessment of your overall health. They are able to order lab tests, assess your diet and digestion, check your stress hormones, and look for the presence of toxins or other substances that may be contributing your anxiety. Their treatment strategy for you may involve nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbs, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications.
-While you may not think of nutrition or digestion when it comes to dealing with anxiety, both can be an essential component of your treatment. Being depleted in certain nutrients, such as magnesium, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotic foods has been linked to anxiety. In addition, probiotic-rich foods keep the lining of your gut healthy, which is where most of your body’s serotonin is made. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that supports emotional well-being, sleep, and other important functions. At BodaHealth, our naturopathic doctors, holistic nutritionists and acupuncture practitioners are well-trained and experienced in nutrition and digestive health, and they can develop a plan best suited to your unique needs.
-When letting go of stress and worry, it can little help to have a relaxing massage. Massage therapy is deeply relaxing, but it also releases stress, helps loosen tight muscles, promotes circulation, and produces feelings of well-being. Whether you prefer a light touch or deep tissue work, our massage therapists are an integral part of your treatment team.
Many patients with anxiety find that a combination of treatments and strategies works best for them. At BodaHealth, we are able to assess, diagnose, and develop a treatment plan that’s effective. Our staff and practitioners are compassionate and committed to providing you with the best natural health care possible. Call us today to find out more about how we can help relieve your anxiety.