Anxiety is a very personal topic for me. It’s something that I, personally, dealt with since I was little. I mean pre-school, little. It wasn’t until college that my stress from school and watching a loved one go through cancer that my panic attacks became too overwhelming. I finally went to a doctor and for the first time had the title of “anxiety” tied to the feelings I was having. This post will discuss anxiety in more detail and natural remedies to help improve anxiety symptoms.
For anyone who doesn’t have anxiety, it’s hard for them to understand how real the feelings are. So if you’ve never experienced anxiety, let me explain: anxiety can be a lingering and unsettling feeling that something is wrong. Everyone experiences it differently, but for me, I had a knot in my stomach as if something bad was about to happen or that I was in trouble for something. It was a sense of impending danger, even though there was no physical circumstance occurring. My body was easily triggered into a dramatic physical reaction from the smallest of issues – or even just from thinking about an issue arising. When my anxiety built up for too long, I’d have a panic attack. Panic attacks are sudden changes in hormone balance. Your epinephrine (the adrenaline hormone) shoots up drastically. Your body goes into a state of imminent danger, even if there isn’t any. Shaking, sweating, shortness of breath, and a feeling of dissociation from yourself can occur. The feelings are so real; it can be scary.
Your body is created in a beautifully complex way. Everything it does and every reaction you have has a purpose. We need these fight or flight reactions because they shift our body in to a state of being able to instantly expend energy needed to save us from a dangerous situation. But, when they happen out of context, as in when there is not true danger, they can be signals to the outside of something that isn’t functioning properly inside. Anxiety can be a sign of thyroid imbalance, adrenal imbalance, neurotransmitter imbalance, an underlying genetic susceptibility, gut health, or even breathing patterns and more. For me, it was a combination of all of them.
When I see patients with anxiety, it’s a puzzle that we have to work to solve for them individually. I can use herbs to quickly calm the reaction of a panic attack while we work on finding a permanent solution so that they aren’t even a factor anymore. Medication shouldn’t be the only option you have, as the side effects can be just as exhausting. There are ways to calm and retrain the nervous system to react properly.
For those with anxiety, the first thing you can do to work towards healing is detaching from the diagnosis. Anxiety is something you experience, but is not permanently a part of you. You don’t have to experience it anymore. Secondly, reduce as many factors of stress in your life that you can. Stress will always perpetuate any imbalanced state. Take time each day to get outside in nature and just breathe. For those with loved ones who experience anxiety, keep loving them. Even if you don’t understand it, be there for them and listen to them. Ask them what you can do to help them through the rough days.
Schedule your naturopathic medicine consult now. Call our office at 918-995-7001.
Dr. Mattison Chapman