Writing this blog is personally meaningful to me, as many of the patients that I get the joy of treating in my practice have been struggling with anxiety for years and share that they feel:
Anxiety disorders affect an estimated 40 million people in the United States, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
I’ll go into all the sciency stuff in a minute, but first want to share some of these personal encounters with anxiety, as many of my patients find these descriptions to be relatable:
“It’s having your body reacting to a real emergency while your brain is wondering what the emergency is — because there is not one. But your body continues and you cannot turn off the alarm.” — Cathy W.
“It’s like a thousand tabs are open at the same time and you have to watch them carefully, each one of them at the same time. But then everything closes down with no warning, and it’s like a fatal error, and nothing seems to work anymore.” — Emu S.
“I feel I need to clear my brain with a boil wash to rid me of all the constant shit that's going on. My thoughts are like a ball of wool that an army of angry cats has been playing with. Nothing makes sense, nothing is logical, something needs to 'give' but I don't know what.” -Anonymous
If you have been suffering from an anxiety disorder (no matter how frequent or persistent), I hope this blog will bring you hope and clarity.
The causes of anxiety are typically from a combination of factors. Some of the top reasons can be:
Digestive Issues: Your brain and digestive system are intricately connected. Research has indicated that gut microbiota -- the trillions of microorganisms in the gut which perform important functions in the immune system and metabolism by providing essential inflammatory mediators, nutrients and vitamins -- can help regulate brain function through something called the "gut-brain axis”. Given how closely the gut and brain interact, it makes sense why if you are suffering from digestive issues such as IBS or IBD or an unhealthy microbiome in general it is likely that you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety as well.
Hormonal Imbalances: The term “hormonal imbalance” is a hugely broad term but the main thing you need to understand is that hormones are the messengers in your body that are responsible for nearly every biological and chemical process. Having a menstrual cycle, being on birth control pills, going through puberty, and undergoing general stress can all be factors associated with anxiety. Poor thyroid and adrenal function have been linked to feelings of anxiety and an increase in panic attacks as well. (Fight, Flight, and FREEZE). This is why it’s important to get a comprehensive thyroid panel done to make sure that your thyroid is running optimally.
Nutritional Deficiencies: Being low in Magnesium, Selenium, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin D, B Vitamins, and Iron can all be contributing factors of anxiety disorders. Having a nutrient-poor diet or dealing with inflammatory triggers can cause malabsorption through your intestinal wall, resulting in micro-deficiencies.
What Can You Do?
Firstly, I want to say if you’ve chosen medication to help you manage your symptoms- you’ve done nothing wrong!
In my practice I treat anxiety as a symptom....a symptom with a root cause (or causes).
Below are some strategies I use for my patients to help them effectively relieve their anxiety symptoms:
1. Reinforce Your Circadian Rhythm:
*Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
*Expose yourself to natural light when you wake up
*Avoid blue blight at least 1 hour before bed
2. Avoid Caffeine: I know this one can be hard, but it is extremely helpful in reducing anxiety symptoms! Give it a try for at least two weeks to see how you feel.
3. Exercise: Even just a short walk around the block can be helpful and grounding and get your body to release those feel good endorphins! SOME movement is always better than no movement, so don’t feel bad for starting out small.
4, Meditate: Even meditating for just a couple of minutes can be helpful to quiet the chaotic thoughts in your mind and replace them with a sense of calm and stillness
5. Try Natural Remedies such as inositol, magnesium, and certain herbs and supplements. They can be highly effective without the potentially harmful side effects of some prescription medications
If you are looking for a fast and effective treatment plan to heal your anxiety you can book a Complimentary 15-minute phone strategy session with me where you can:
1. Tell your story and be heard
2. Determine whether the membership program is right for you
3. Learn the next steps of enrollment
All calls result in a personal email sent to you, packed with informational videos and articles that apply specifically to your symptoms.
Take THAT, anxiety!