I've been reading this forum board for years, now, and I am astounded at how complex anxiety is perceived to be. There seems to be this pervasive belief that a protocol, or a supplement, or some sort of device will "cure" the anxiety. I have spent almost 4 years working to reduce my levels of anxiety and learn how to manage the triggers, and I will write this with 100% confidence: anxiety is not a medical condition.
Anxiety is a "normal" human response to threat - whether the threat is walking in a dark alley and being approached by a suspicious individual, or a perceived threat that "something bad is going to happen," the feelings are rooted deeply in past experiences, and not in a deficiency of a trace mineral.
At one point in human development, "anxiety" warned us of irrefutable danger. Even today, we experience a physiological response to a drop in atmospheric pressure - it's measurable, it's identifiable, and there is absolute concrete data on this fact. This response was, at one time in human history, a physiological "warning" to get under cover as a storm was approaching.
In the distant past, several things would occur within the human physiology, simultaneously, to propel us into taking action: adrenal glands would pump additional adrenaline into our blood stream; our respiration and pulse would increase to provide more oxygen for our muscles to respond; our pupils would dilate to take in as much visual information as possible; and our other senses (smell, sound, touch) would be eleveted as per the adrenaline - all for the sole purpose to fight or flee. Anxiety is our "gut" feeling - it tells us of iminent threat to safety. However, in today's human development, "anxiety" is associated with seemingly unidentifiable FEAR - a storm isn't coming, a predator isn't outside our dwelling, and there isn't someone challenging us for our venison. Today, in the human experience, anxiety is based upon past fearful experiences, and not based upon some medical condition. Anxiety can actually fuel depression that is situational and cause it to become permanently clinical - depression and anxiety go together like bread and butter, and BOTH of the conditions are over-medicated and improperly treated, in my most humble opinion.
Now, having typed that fact, anxiety does, absolutely and unquestionably, have an extensive physical impact upon every biological function from adrenal functions to hormonal imbalances. The human organism isn't just skin, bones, and blood vessles - we are not functioning on a single-cell level. There are adrenal functions, pituitary functions, pulmonary functions, vascular functions, auto-immune functions, skeletal functions, muscular functions, cerebral functions, neurological functions, and every type of function one could imagine. Human physiology can be compared to an enormous factory where everything MUST work in synch in order to perform at optimum level. That's why eating too much salt can cause EDEMA - it's the body's attempt to manage something that has become TOXIC on a cellular level. Each cell has its own sodium-potassium pump, and each cell has its own purpose and function. So, treating the human body with "a" protocol, or "a" technique, or "a single" approach is not - will not - can not - be successful in managing anxiety. We must treat anxiety as a whole-self condition: mind; body; spirit.
Do added minerals, supplements, and protocols help with anxiety? Certainly, they can. Anxiety requires a tremendous expenditure of all available nutrients for each cell to function, so a healthy (BALANCED) diet of unprocessed foods and added supplements can help, to some degree. Will adding a protocol help? To some degree, yes it will - cleansing is helpful on an overall basis, but it will not "cure" anxiety. Developing rituals associated with protocols (brushing teeth, pulling oil, taking supplements, etc.) is extremely beneficial in managing anxiety - not only because of the physiological benefits, but by developing something over which we have control, most importantly. This has been studied to a great extent, as well.
Some options to manage anxiety could include:
* morning rituals: meditation, oil pulling WHILE meditating - anything positive that will calm the mind. If you are juicing, this can occur while you're preparing your fruits and vegetables - anything that calms your mind is encouraged
* "getting into the Now:" this is when we say aloud (if necessary) where our limbs are resting, what we are seeing, smelling, feeling, noting the temperature, wind direction (if any), etc....this will stop anxiety from spiraling into a vortex when practiced frequently AND during calm moments
* EFT-tapping: I have written about this, before, and it is not, not, NOT some mystical activity that requires books, DVD's, seminars, or devices! Simply cross the arms (or, wrists in your lap), and rhythmically tap the opposite shoulder, elbow, or thigh in the manner of "right hand taps left thigh, left hand taps right thigh, right hand taps left thigh, left hand taps right thigh.........." and so on until you begin to feel calmer.
* acknowledging the triggers: for me, I have a number of known triggers and, when I experience one, I remind myself that I am okay - that I am not dying, nor am I going to die from the trigger, and then I acknowledge the FEELING that the trigger evokes as sadness, fear, anger, regret, etc.......I allow the feeling to pass through as I control my breathing
* controlled breathing: this is another very simple technique that is not rooted in some shamanist ritual. Breathing is a natural process, and anxiety forces (on a physiological basis) breathing to increase. Breathing IN to the count of four, and exhaling out to the count of five, and breathing IN to the count of four, and breathing out to the count of five.........there is NO NEED to hold one's breath during this exercise, though that technique can be applied at a later date IF YOU WISH
* sound sleep: if you are finding that you are suffering nightmares, insomnia, and other sleep disorders that are depriving you of sleep, GET TESTED at a sleep center to make sure that you're not suffering from sleep apnea! If you do not have sleep apnea, try to increase your physical movement - avoid remaining sedintary, at all costs
* physical movement: I personally use the term "movement" rather than "excercise," simply because "exercise" suggests some sort of do-or-die activity. Simply MOVE your body whether you are swaying from side to side, dancing, walking, gardening, running, marching, or flailing your arms about. I teach "emotional painting" in some of my classes where you actually use your entire body to move the brush in your hand. Physical movement will PROCESS the excess adrenaline OUT of your cells and literally calm your entire self down, including your mind.
* self-soothing activities: aside from things that could (or, ARE) addictive to you (overeating, smoking, drinking, gambling, sex, etc.), engage in an activity that is wholly "selfish" to you. Take a course in creative writing, acting, or guitar. Do something ELSE to take your mind off of whatever triggers you.
* engage in counseling therapy: many people are wholly, utterly, and decidedly opposed to counseling therapy for whatever reasons. This is, in itself, sad because no one person has "all the answers" to Life. Anxiety is rooted in fear. Period. There's no other reason, and people can either choose to accept this fact, or not. Other people feel that paying someone to "listen to my problems" is outrageous. Still, others believe that they can handle their own problems. Well, we wouldn't be suffering anxiety and panic attacks if we COULD, so there is no shame in seeking help from someone who is trained, educated, and experienced in managing anxiety. Uncovering the ROOTS of anxiety might "feel" scary, uncomfortable, or impossible, but it will, in due time, be of the greatest benefit imaginable.
There are many, many additional techniques to managing anxiety, but the first and most important one is to accept the fact that anxiety disorder is not a medical issue. Psychiatrists prescribe Zoloft, Xanax, and a host of other benzoaic medications that might interrupt the physiological response to anxiety, but those medications will never, ever, EVER manage the CAUSES of the anxiety. Once the pills wear off, the source of the anxiety is still there, and these medications (IMHO) only exacerbate anxiety disorders simply because they do not address the core fears OF the anxiety. In some situations, I believe that using a benzo prescription on a VERY short-termed basis can help to interrupt the cycle long enough for the individual to rest, and to begin a course of treatments. But, overall, keeping Xanax on hand to use when you've had an argument with your teenager or you're taking an exam is going to do so much more harm, in the long run.
For those who are in the depths of despair over an anxiety / panic disorder, take heart that you most certainly have the ability to manage the condition, but it has to come through hard work, practice, patience, and by using a variety of tools and techniques every single day. Anxiety, by itself, will not kill me, even though I might FEEL as if I'm having a heart attack. But, the overall stress on my physiology will, indeed, create conditions that could (and, HAVE) become permanent and life-threatening.
Because I didn't make my post clear, it is in error. I was addressing individuals who could find no organic reason or physical trauma to explain their anxiety.
However, I do not believe that the orignal post is "foolish," by an stretch of the imagination, nor should it be "ignored."
There are people out there that, for whatever reason, are unable to address past traumas, process the emotions, and manage the anxiety. Those people are the ones that go from counselor to counselor, take one medication after another, begin one protocol and then abandon it because it wasn't an instant cure, and it might be helpful for those individuals to know that management of anxiety requires work. It requires practice. And, it requires acceptance of certain facts.
No anxiety, here! LOL
Another suggestion that I completely forgot about was turning off the flaming NEWS. I've heard a number of counselors (older, and wiser ones) discuss the anxiety that listening to the news (and, weather) is inducing in client/patients.
There was a time when local and national news was on television twice, daily. With the advent of cable and satellite television networks, news and weather events became a 24/7 endeavor to sell advertising, etc. Well, all of the "news" that is broadcasted are events that we, as individuals, can do nothing about, yet these broadcasts create a terrible source of anxiety - same goes forth with weather events. It's going to snow in January? GET TO THE STORE, NOW. I actually saw a weather broadcast that said, "Prepare, now, for this new winter storm...." And, the feet of snow predicted amounted to a normal couple of inches.
Social networking is also creating an extreme form of anxiety that is afflicting teenagers.
There are things that we "can" do to get a grasp on anxiety. And, most of them don't involve any financial expense or trips to the doctor.
Thelaughingdogs, there's no "quick fix" to managing anxiety - it happens in its own due course as individuals work to get it reigned in.
I completely understand the band-aid trigger. For about 18 months, there were certain things that actually caused me to gag and nearly vomit. Of course, I had been living in a state of anxiety before the final straw that sent me almost to the bottom of the abyss, but I knew that I saw people around me that were NOT reacting to Life in the same panicked manner that I did. So, I wanted whatever it was that they had, and it was a sense of being centered and balanced...........getting all of the Chakras in a row, so to speak.
I truly didn't believe that any of the techniques that I posted would be successful when they were first recommended to me. I thought that it was simply my therapist getting sick and tired of having me come into her office, cry for 50 minutes, and beg for her to "fix" me. But, with patience (which I did NOT have), practice, and more patience and practice, those techniques truly worked, and I still use them, today.
Was none of my original post read, in full? Of course, anxiety causes extraordinary medical conditions - anxiety/stress can kill, and the medical communities have known this fact for many years, now.
My original message was to offer the fact that anxiety can be managed, just as any other symptoms can be managed, if people are willing to put in the time and effort. There is no "magic bullet" or "magic wand" that's going to evaporate anxiety, particularly if it is rooted in an organic condition, which is why it is so important to see a medical doctor to make certain that there are no underlying reasons. I also wrote that anxiety can exacerbate any existing medical condition for the reasons cited in the response above: the overall drain on the human organism's resources.
Something to consider about the medical definition of "anxiety" is that the DSM V was revised in 2013, with the proposed submissions beginning in 1999. The panel that was convened to undertake the revision, redefinition, and treatment protocols for hundreds of psychiatric and behavioral conditions was comprised of some of the most esteemed, educated, insightful, and respected psychiatrists in the United States, and the atmosphere surrounding this revision was so rancorous that some of these esteemed professionals were fired from the panel, and others simply walked out of the board rooms. Why was this revision so different from previous ones?
Normal, human behaviors were being defined as "disorders," while other serious and recognized disorders were being improperly categorized to ignore the symptoms and treat the condition using pharmaceuticals. This revision was all about pharmaceutical assignations. Long-story-short, if a condition can be categorized in a certain group, subgroup, etc., with a specific "diagnosis," then the treatment is medication. One of the most ludicrous redefinitions was "grief disorder," and a diagnosis of "grief disorder" allows a medical doctor or psychiatrist to prescribe a host of neuro-psych medications that are utterly unwarranted. It's about keeping the medication machine and revenues of that industry running smoothly. And, the board was comprised of some very hefty egos, as well.
So, my original post was to give people who are suffering the dreadful symptoms of anxiety hope that they can actually manage the condition, themselves. Are there times when medication is indicated? In some cases (as I wrote, already), medications can interrupt the cycle long enough for the client/patient to catch their breath, get much-needed rest, and assess the situation. Research data has revealed that benzoates are linked to all types of dementia, including early-onset dementia. Synthetic GABA (Neurontin - gabapentine) has not produced the results that were initially marketed with the release and FDA approval of Neurontin for anxiety, siezure control, or peripheral neuropathy. Some antidepressants can cause extreme anxiety reactions if they are prescribed to people with specific conditions that are present. Seizure medications are being prescribed to "treat" anxiety, and they are not producing long-term success results, whatsoever, except to render the client/patient incapacitated. Topamax, for instance, causes extreme gastro-intenstinal issues that literally cause the client/patient to be unable to eat, and it's now being prescribed as a "weight loss" alternative. The long-term effects are, at this time, unknown.
In the long-run, rewiring the reactions/responses to known triggers, taking control of breathing, and altering one's own lifestyles has a greater impact upon anxiety management than anything else. Finding a counseling therapist that is well-versed in the relationship between anxiety and human physiology isn't that difficult a task - it's recognizing that counselors are just as human as their clients and NOT magicians or provisional of an easy "cure." And, I wrote about this in my original post, as well.
"Anxiety" is a symptom, just as "edema" is a symptom. Neither of these simply pop up out of nowhere to afflict an individual. There are always underlying causes.
Piuma mentioned that her mother suffered anxiety disorder, and there is growing understanding that DNA has a tremendous impact upon a person, in every way. Some people are calm, and some are "high-strung" and prone to anxiety. That information can be priceless to the offspring of a parent(s) that are prone to anxiety so that they can LEARN how to manage their anxiety, earlier.
If readers do not find any information in my original post to be helpful, then they can MOVE ON to other posts that suit their needs.