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.