Anxiety

July 29, 2016 | By Elisha Bokman | Stress, Stress | Share
Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mood disorders. Many people experience anxiety associated with life stressors. Anxiety can also be more serious and even debilitating for some people. If you are experiencing anxiety in your daily life, the good news is that there is no need to continue suffering. Naturopathic and Chinese Medicine have safe and effective treatment options to offer to manage this condition.

At NaturoMedica we offer a comprehensive evaluation of your anxiety that may include a detailed medical history, testing for nutrient deficiencies, imbalances in sex, adrenal gland, or thyroid hormones and testing for imbalances in neurotransmitter levels. Your doctor will use this information to create a personalized plan detailing diet and lifestyle changes as well as therapeutic options to treat the underlying factors contributing to your anxiety.

Testing:

Nutritional Deficiencies:

There are several nutrients that are key for neurotransmitter production and mood. Deficiencies in these nutrients can greatly contribute to anxiety and other mood disorders. We offer micronutrient testing to identify deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids, through blood and urine. For many patients, replenishing deficient nutrients greatly reduces anxiety levels.

Sex Hormones:

Imbalances in male and female sex hormones may contribute to anxiety. Our NaturoMedica clinic provides blood and salivary testing of sex hormones to identify underlying imbalances that can be at the root of anxiety.

Adrenal Gland Hormones:

The adrenals are small glands that are located on top of the kidneys. The adrenals produce a variety or hormones including cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine, which all have a stimulating effect on the body. When the adrenal glands are out of balance some of the common manifestations are anxiety, fatigue and insomnia. We offer salivary adrenal gland testing that allows us to measure cortisol production by the adrenal glands throughout the day. By treating adrenal gland dysregulation with an individualized supplement protocol, most patients find that over time they are able to manage day to day stressors and notice improvements in fatigue, anxiety and sleep.

Thyroid Gland Hormones:

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in the neck that is important in regulating metabolism and energy production. Both overactive and underactive thyroid gland function can be associated with anxiety. Thyroid gland dysfunction may persist without diagnosis. Our NaturoMedica physicians offer comprehensive thyroid hormone tests in addition to a multitude of treatment options.

NeuroTransmitters:

Neurotransmitters are chemicals that convey information throughout our brains and bodies. Anti-anxiety medications aim to correct imbalances in neurotransmitters that result in anxiety. NaturoMedica offers urine tests to measure neurotransmitter levels, which allows us to identify specific imbalances in a patient. This information is used to determine a supplementation protocol to restore balance to neurotransmitter levels.

Treating Anxiety

Diet and Lifestyle:

As a Naturopathic physician,, I find that at the core of good health are the diet and lifestyle choices that you make every day. Here are a few of my top diet and lifestyle tips that will help you to manage anxiety:

  • Balance Blood Sugar: Abrupt swings in blood sugar can trigger anxiety. To keep blood sugar in balance minimize your intake of sugar laden snacks and refined carbohydrates. These foods cause dramatic highs and lows in blood sugar, which can be detrimental to energy levels and mood. Make sure that you are eating at least every three hours and that every meal and snack contains protein.
  • Cut the Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant and triggers the release of stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline from the body, which can exacerbate anxiety. I recommend slowly weaning off of caffeinated beverages over time to prevent unpleasant detoxification symptoms. A great way of doing this is by cutting your coffee with 50% decaf daily over the course of 1 week.
  • Daily Exercise: Exercise is one of the most powerful therapies for boosting mood and managing anxiety. Exercise acts as a pressure release valve for stress and worry. Even 5 minutes of aerobic exercise helps to stimulate release of endorphins or feel good brain chemicals. I recommend that you commit to getting 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily to manage anxiety.
  • Find your Inner Zen: I am convinced that in our fast paced world anxiety levels are sky rocketing. We are constantly connected to our high tech devices making it very difficult for our brains to unplug. I find that this prolonged exposure to stimulus is at the root of anxiety and other mood disorders. It is more important than ever to find a way to give your brain and nervous system a periodic break to maintain balance. This can be as simple as taking a 5 minute break in the day to practice deep breathing, going to a local yoga class, or listening to a guided meditation before bed.
  • Seek counseling: If you are dealing with anxiety or other mood disorders I encourage you to find a counselor that will help you to navigate your thoughts, emotions and beliefs that trigger the anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT is a counseling technique that helps you to identify the thoughts and behavioral patterns contributing to your anxiety so that you can replace these thoughts and behaviors with new ones that help to reduce anxiety and improve coping skills.

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Therapy:

Chinese medicine works amazingly well for treating anxiety at a deeper level. My patients are shocked by the difference they feel in their anxiety levels at the end of an acupuncture visit. You will be pleasantly surprised by how relaxed acupuncture treatments are, in fact you may even find that you fall into a peaceful sleep during your treatment. I often prescribe customized Chinese herbal formulas in combination with acupuncture to treat anxiety.

Intravenous Nutrient Therapy:

At our clinic we offer the Max Relax IV which provides amino acids, minerals and B vitamins formulated to support neurotransmitter production and benefit anxiety. IV nutrient therapy is a way of getting nutrients directly into the blood stream bypassing the digestive tract. This is great for people with digestive issues and those that are looking for a speedy reduction in anxiety levels. There are several other IV’s offered at NaturoMedica that can benefit anxiety. I recommend speaking with your NaturoMedica doctor about which IV is the best choice for you.

Supplements:

For those that are looking for relief from anxiety here are some of my favorite supplements that I recommend to my patients:

  • Stress Factors (Biogenesis): A wonderful blend of herbs, nutrients and amino acids to help calm the nervous system and gently treat anxiety
  • Relax Max (Xymogen): A tasty cherry flavored powder that contains nutrients to support neurotransmitter production
  • Lavela (Integrative Therapeutics): An extract of the essential oil of lavender which acts as a natural nervine
  • Pharma GABA (Thorne): A calming neurotransmitter (GABA) that can be extremely helpful for mild to moderate anxiety
  • Neuroscience brand supplements: This is a line of supplements designed to address anxiety as well as a variety of other medical conditions related to imbalances in neurotransmitters, hormones and immune system function. Based on the results of urinary neurotransmitter testing your NaturoMedica doctor will prescribe the appropriate Neuroscience supplements for your individualized needs. Kavinace is one of our top selling supplements at NaturoMedica. Kavinace supports the production of the calming neurotransmitter, GABA to ease anxiety levels.

If you are struggling with anxiety, I encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our NaturoMedica physicians to determine appropriate testing and treatment options for you. Our doctors can work alongside your established doctor, counselor or psychiatrist for co-management of your anxiety medications and/or recommended treatments.

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"My husband goes to NaturoMedica and he loves the care that he is receiving."
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