Anxiety and depression can stem from many things just in the area of your body's physical chemistry besides personal issues, family issues, emotional relationship issues and financial stress. Anxiety has become a blanket term in the US, but the reality is that this term includes several different physiological states. Practitioners of Oriental Medicine dig deeper in order to fully understand exactly to what the patient is referring. This can help us provide better support when the term
'anxiety" is used to describe a pattern of disharmony.
Generally, anxiety is a normal response to the stress of life. While anxiety creates a temporary disharmony, this does not necessarily contribute to a pathological condition. Anxiety disorders arise when the emotional state becomes overwhelming and disabling, commonly presenting as over exaggerated and or irrational emotions that consume a person's life, constantly interfering with daily functioning.
Western medicine differentiates anxiety into 6 subcategories:
*Generalized Anxiety Disorder - is defined as unwarranted exaggerated or unrealistic worry or anxiety.
*Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - is defined as recurrent unwanted obsessions or compulsions.
*Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - includes anxiety that is developed after a traumatic event. It's not a good idea to let your kids watch Bambi where the baby deer loses his mother. Think about it, to a little kid that is real and traumatic. Just sayin - something to think about if you haven't already. Based on that who doesn't have some PTSD from the media.
*Social anxiety disorder is defined as overwhelming anxiety in common social situations.
*Panic Disorder is defined as unexpected intense episodes of fear which are often accompanied by palpitations, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
*Specific Phobia Disorder is defined as an intense or irrational fear to a specific object or situation.
It is estimated that as much as thirty percent of adults have anxiety. Anxiety is frequently under diagnosed or misdiagnosed and it is common for individuals not to seek help. Western treatment usually consists of a combination of psychotherapy in conjunction wiith pharmacotherapy. Antidepressants such as SSRI's, TCA's SNRI's and MAOI's are used in treatme nt. Side effects can include cognitive function impairment, sexual dysfunction, drowsiness, dry mouth,, dizziness, nausea, agitation, nervousness, fatigue, headache, insomnia, decreased coordination, and gastrointestinal distress. Additionally, some of the medications have addictive properties.
In Oriental Medicine, all emotions affect the heart, and anxiety can stagnate heart qi or energy , causing agitation, palpitations, chest tightness, mental restlessness, insomnia, and lack of mental vitality. The consciousness can be affected by heart deficiency, which is a deficiency in qi, blood or blood health and or a yin condition. There can also be a heart excess condition with heat, phlegm and agitation. There is also lung ( or lung energy ) pattern anxiety, Kidney ( or kidney energy or meridian line of energy ) pattern anxiety, Spleen ( or spleen energy ) pattern anxiety and Liver ( or liver energy ) pattern anxiety. With a variety of possible patterns, differentiation is key. Acupuncture treatments and herbal formulas are selected based on the pattern anxiety.
The Traditional Chinese Theory of different patterns of anxiety often correlates to Western medicine's 6 subcategories of anxiety differentiation. For instance:
* Lung pattern anxiety is often associated with traumas to personal boundaries like sexual or physical assault, and is often associated with the feeling of loss or grief, unwanted fear of dying, inability to let go, sadness, depression, and frequent crying. PTSD is a common presentation of this pattern which is exemplified by nightmares, flashbacks, intense, uncontrolled emotional states like depression, explosive anger, rage, a feeling of being numb or detached from the world, feeling of easily losing control, unable to concentrate, and being easily startled. PTSD is common in combat veterans, victims of violent acts, natural disasters, serious accidents, etc, and is an example of the lung deficiency/heart excess pattern. With the lung's internal/external energetic and meridian relationship to the colon, intestinal problems like ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, or constipation, may also be present. There are several Chinese Classical plant based herbal formulas that address these issues along with specific Acupuncture treatments.
*Kidney pattern energy is a fear response. Where fear is the underlying emotion behind anxiety. Kidney pattern anxiety is an anxiety with fear, panic, and phobias (social and specific ). These fears manifest as intense sudden emotions that present without warning, or with repeat episodes or attacks. Other symptoms include shortness of breath or inability to take in breath, dizziness, lack of will power/ determination, feelings of isolation. If the kidney energy is out of balance there is also mental restlessness and palpitations, insomnia, irritability, being easily startled. There is a half dozen different Traditional or Classical plant based herbal formulas and Acupuncture treatment protocols, that support the kidney yin and/or yang along with the heart which because they are so connected is involved and needs support and nourishment also.
*Spleen pattern anxiety can develop when pensiveness turns pathological, resulting in injury to the spleen energy and the intellect. Emotional disturbances will present primarily as worry and obsessive thoughts or excessive thinking. An example of this would be the anticipation and obsession over irrational, worst -case outcomes that are highly unlikely. This is most commonly associated with the Western definition of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Additionally, compulsive behaviors like OCD are a common presentation of primary spleen involved anxiety disorder. When the spleen is affected, digestive problems will likely be present in conjunction with anxiety. Signs and symptoms will include poor appetite, abdominal discomfort, tiredness and pale complexion. The Traditional Chinese Doctor would recommend one of several excellent Chinese Classic plant based
herbal formulas and specialized Acupuncture treatment formulated specially for each patient.
* Liver pattern Anxiety shows as anger and frustration, and is exacerbated with stress; it often combines with depression, a tendency towards sighing, costal/flank tenderness, insomnia and feelings of being constrained. Liver stagnation inhibits free flow of qi and there can be stiffness in joints, if let go too long. A practitioner of Traditional Chinese medicine will recommend a plant based Chinese Herbal formula that are most calming and soothing to the anger and agitation along with Acupuncture treatments that do the same.
Sometimes it is very hard to tell or to know that you may have a chemical problem and most of all, to know that there is a safe and natural alternative to taking drugs.. There are so many safe , highly effective, natural alternatives to drugs to help people with their anxiety and depression. Patients come into our office on all sorts of anti-depressant drugs but still are extremely depressed, full of anxiety and talk of suicide. Yet with a complete evaluation and natural treatment we see, tremendous over all improvements in their emotional and mental well being, their attitudes improve as they become over all happier and more balanced. Balancing the chemistry of the body and brain is essential. And with Acupuncture techniques there are ways to clear old psychological issues such as heart break, anger and grief. With these techniques they can clear these issues in a few minutes. Hard to believe until you experience it yourself. Acupuncture techniques can also, immediately lift a person out of a state of depression or a state of anger and rage.
Inositol has the ability to regulate serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter which has been proven to be a powerful brain chemical in reducing anxiety. It is a B-vitamin. It works well with (SSRIs) if you are taking those. It is, also, important to remember that you are using up your B vitamins to metabolize sugar every time you indulge in a sugar treat. Your emotional stability depends on a protein snack not a sweet treat. Nutrient deficiencies can cause anxiety. B- Vitamins are crucial to reducing anxiety. Their deficiency causes deterioration of the nervous system, irritability, mental confusion, apathy, depression, fatigue , sleeplessness, adrenal exhaustion and on going anxiousness. They should not be taken late in the day because they can stimulate your system and make it hard to sleep. Take them early and regularly.
Ever hear of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)? When your blood sugar (glucose) level drops, you feel tired---your energy mysteriously disappears. Don't be blinded by claims of increased or instant energy with sugar laden or caffeine laced foods and beverages. The roller coaster ride they provide begins with your blood sugar shooting up in a burst of energy, then plummeting downward. This rapid rise and fall is accompanied by fatigue and loss of energy. The ups and downs of this deadly yo yo drain you of energy and can effect you emotionally. For a period of time, you are on top of the world and then, suddenly, you hate everyone. Here at Sunnyslope Healing Arts we regularly test for blood sugar issues and hypoglycemia is becoming more common. When the treatment is given to reset the blood sugar mechanism and the blood sugar comes back into balance the person feels an immediate improvement in their overall well being. This is one of the issues suffered regularly by people with anxiety and depression.
Ideally, complex sugars gradually raise your blood sugar level. Sugar from fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates is slowly released into the bloodstream, creating a gradual and prolonged elevation in energy. Refined sugar overstimulates the production of insulin and alkaline digestive juices, interferes with the absorption of proteins, calcium and many other minerals and retards the growth of valuable intestinal bacteria. It ultimately creates a prolonged state of stress that drains energy and the immune system.
Compulsive Obsessive people may have extremely successful careers, fueled by their remarkable drive and energy, but they also may be crumbling internally from continual tension and depression. Often they are seriously depressed and may have suicidal thoughts. They don't sleep much or well. They can be terribly impulsive. It has been found that these people have high amounts of the neurotransmitter Histamine in their brains and that this often runs in the family because it is a genetic trait.
These people will often use alcohol because it blocks the histamine and improves symptoms bu t only temporarily. There are healthier and safer natural supplements that work as well with no side effects or health risks. They should be checked out with a health professional who can set up a specific plan and specific doses to bring the brain chemistry into a natural balance.
White Poplar bark when used consistently over time, can reduce your over all stress response and help you manage your weight. It has salycilates that stop the adrenals from producing the usual cortical response to stress. It lowers the stress level in the tissues. But it also gradually, helps grow your adrenal energy, which will help your overall energy and mental focus.
Lemon balm is often used, also for stress. It is a southern European native with a delicate flavor valued by cooks. It is also used to ease gout and toothaches, calm an agitated heart and regulate the female reproductive system.
It is used to encourage sleep and to reduce anxiety and stress. It has also shown to have antiviral properties, especially against the type of herpes virus that causes cold sores, and to help relieve headaches.
In both, people suffer tidal waves of inexplicable fear. These "attacks" occur with out any real danger being present. Major biochemical changes, however, are taking place within the body during these episodes. A sudden outpouring of adrenal hormones
in response to perceived danger or in response to loading refined sugars, will produce many common symptoms of anxiety: pounding heart, rapid breathing, racing pulse, rising blood pressure. Anxiety attacks can also be a symptom of low blood sugar levels. When glucose levels fall too low, the downward plunge must be stopped, or the result would be unconsciousness so the body releases a flood of adrenaline into the bloodstream. The adrenaline causes an outpouring of emergency sugar from the liver, refueling the brain and saving the day. This can result in anxiety or a panic disorder.
Phobias grow out of panic attacks. The association of extreme fear, occurring in a particular setting sets the stage for irrational fears that recur when a situation is encountered again. It has been discovered and scientifically measured that there are many biochemical reasons for this suffering. Some causes are pyroluria (see article below), hypoglycemia, nutrient deficiency, elevated blood lactate, a high imbalance of excitatory neurotransmitters, food and chemical sensitivities.
A disorder called pyroluria is connected to a genetic abnormal production of a group of body chemicals called kryptopyrroles. These pyrroles are a worthless by-product of hemoglobin synthesis. Most people have very little, if any, pyrroles circulating in their bodies, (we know this through measuring levels of pyrroles excreted through urine. Some of us, however, are not so fortunate. Pyrroles are abnormally high in about:
30 percent of schizophrenic persons
40 percent of persons with psychiatric problems
11 percent of persons of the healthy population
25 percent of children with psychiatric problems
40 percent of alcoholics
Pyrroles do their damage by binding to aldehydes throughout the body and causing their excretion along with the pyrroles. B6, being an aldehyde, is, therefore, systematically removed from many sites to which it is vital and a severe B6 deficiency results. Further they seek out and attach to zinc so B6 and zinc are promply dumped into the urine.
The loss of B6 and zinc is a psychiatric disaster. B6 is the coenzyme (meaning absolutely essential) in over fifty enzymatic brain reactions where amino groups are transformed or transferred. B6 plays an important role in your nervous system's balance: It is required to utilize protein for energy. Brain depletion of dopamine and serotonin occur without B6, creating ongoing anxiety and depression. B6 slows the conversion of pyruvate to lactic acid, without B6 there is an elevated level of lactic acid, creating anxiety.
The circulating levels of pyrroles in your body may be slightly elevated or profoundly abnormal, but in all cases, these levels rise even more when you are under stress.
Pylroluria runs in families and chances are the same anxiety and poor stress responses will occur in other family members. They may also suffer from fatigue, nausea, sensitivity, coldness, anemia, poor dream recall and even suicidal depression.
Some signs and symptoms you may be pyruluric are;
* You have been anxious, fearful, or felt a lot of inner tension since childhood but have mostly hide these inner feelings from others.
* It is hard to clearly recall past events and people in your life.
* Do you have bouts of depression and/or nervous exhaustion?
* Are your eyes sensitive to sunlight?
* Do you have cluster headaches?
* Do you belong to an all girl family or have look alike sisters?
* Do you get frequent colds or infections, or unexplained chills or fevers?
* Do you dislike eating protein?
* Are there white spots / flecks on your fingernails or do you have opaquely white or paper-thin nails?
* Are you prone to acne, eczema or psoriasis?
* Do you prefer not to eat breakfast, or even experience light nausea in the morning?
* Does your face sometimes look swollen while under a lot of stress?
* Are you easily upset (internally) by criticism?
* Do you frequently experience fatique?
The result of ongoing use of SSRI antidepressents is the SSRI drugs induce a glut of serotonin and the brain compensates by down-regulating and shutting down, serotonin receptor sites. Scientific studies show the numbers of receptor sites drastically diminish. No one really knows if these serotonin receptor losses are permanent. Drug companies will not undertake this testing- undoubtedly because a finding of irreversible receptor loss could generate a rash of class action lawsuits. However the body is amazing in it's ability to heal and regenerate and given the right environment with healthy , balancing and healing supplements it can become well again, as demonstrated in many individual cases.
The choice American consumers might have had to relieve depression was a $12 bottle of L-tryptophan capsules or a $200 a month SSRI drug. Very shortly before Prozac made its debut, the FDA removed tryptophan from the U.S. market because a limited supply of tryptophan had been contaminated by its manufacturer..Now it is only available by prescription. One can get another form of tryptophan but it is not as good.
In the United States today there is a loss of minerals in the topsoil. Of the forty-four minerals and trace elements still found in the sea, twenty have already disappeared from the land. Chemical fertilizers further deplete the minerals. Processing of the food can further deplete much of the nutrients that remains.
Serious zinc deficiency will affect brain function, creating severe mental problems, including learning, behavioral disorders and inability to handle stress. When zinc supplementation was given to zinc-deficient twenty-year-old students, they showed a marked increase in scholastic performance over one year.
Zinc plays a starring role in immune functioning and brain development and performance. A deficiency means poor growth,
poor sexual development and a raft of emotional problems - irritability, fatigue, apathy, amnesia, depression - as well as poor appetite and a poor sense of taste and smell. There are over fifty articles in professional journals that have established a link between anorexia nervosa and zinc unavailability. Zinc has the job of removing toxic metals from our brains particularly copper, lead, mercury and cadmium. Without zinc, high copper levels result in paranoia, violent behavior, mood swings and schizoid behavior. High lead content leads to learning disabilities and behavioral disorders. Mercury toxicity results in anxiety, emotional extremes, exaggerated responses and insomnia. Elevated cadmium causes hyperactivity, hallucinations and central nervous system toxicity.
Anxiety and depression have been observed in patients who develop zinc deficiency as a result of intravenous feedings. These people experienced prompt relief from their acquired depression after zinc was supplied.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include irritability, confusion, personality changes, memory impairment, and learning disability. Also, magnesium prevents and corrects heart arrhythmias.
Both a deficiency and an overload of iron are common. Oddly both can cause depression and chronic, disabling fatigue.
A deficiency can lead to glucose intolerance (Diabetes). Manganese is required to make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.
Major tranquilizers bind to manganese, causing a deficiency that results in contorted facial twitching. Abnormally high manganese often results in episodes of violence.
Excess copper may result in paranoia, aggressiveness and fearfulness.
This mineral has antidepressant properties at 200 micrograms twice daily. It is an antagonist to heavy metals, helping to remove mercury, aluminum, and cadmium from the body. It is needed in the production of thyroid hormones.
In the form of chromium picolinate, this helps to correct glucose intolerance in hypoglycemic thus helping to stabilize mood swings and energy levels.
In a five year study conducted by the chairman of psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine, levels of manganese (not magnesium!) were found to be over 400 % higher in 63% of violent criminals (verses 11% of the nonviolent controls).
Researchers were even more surprised when 3 other studies reported that children with attention deficit (ADD) had 100 % higher amounts of manganese that non ADD children. One source has been identified. Infant formulas contain 40 to 60 times more manganese content than the manganese naturally present in mother's milk. Over 30 scientific papers now report significant reductions in aggressive and violent behavior by lowering the toxic element levels.
Help for irritability, sudden anger and violence can be found in taking Tryptophan 500mgs one capsule 3 times a day. Also classic Chinese herbal formulas offer considerable help with these issues and other supplements specific for each individual.
Basil has high quantities of the most bioavailable antioxidants and due to their smaller size and molecular weight they move more freely throughout the body then other phytochemicals. Basil digests easily and moves through the intestinal wall easily. There is a long tradition of chewing basil after a meal to improve digestion. It is best fresh or just picked off the plant. Basil chelates mercury out of mice according to one clinical study. It has been classified as a adaptogenic herb which denotes a plant that helps people adapt to stress.
In studies it has been found to reduce corticosterone levels in response to stressful stimuli. Enjoy your pesto!
A Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index showed that women between the ages of 45 and 64 have the worst well-being of any age group in America. Because women are struggling to balance family, work, caring for parents and managing their own health, they have a lot of stress. If that isn't enough stress, many women then pile guilt on themselves for not balancing all those responsibilities well enough. Add to that poor diet, raging hormones, lack of sleep and instability in the world.
When your body is under stress, it releases the hormone cortisol-which in turn drives cravings for more sugar or carbohydrate. Raw organic Ashwagandha helps with those stress-related food cravings and the stress.
Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 5,000 years. As an adaptogenic herb it helps your body cope with many different stress factors. In a gold standard placebo-controlled clinical study performed in India on a group of 64 adults all under stress, taking 300mg of raw organic Ashwagandha twice a day substantially reduced the participants cortisol levels and helped manage their stress and the stress related cravings they were dealing with.
Black seseme seeds are black from melanin pigment, the same as in dark hair and human skin. Melanin protects our skin from the suns rays but it is also stored in our brains, however white people have less in the skin and brain. This leaves them more prone to brain oxidation from free radicals and hence, have the highest rates of Parkinson's disease and dementia. African American people almost never get Parkinson's disease for this reason. Some suggest that low dopamine levels also comes from this oxidation. The melanin in black sesame seeds can help with Parkinson's and depression. They are also an hair tonic in that if you take black seseme seeds for six months or more they will turn grey hair dark again. However that has to be done with good nutrition and good health. In Chinese medicine they believe the hair goes grey when one has weak kidneys. I met a ninety year old woman in China who had bound feet and I asked her if they hurt and she said no. I noticed her hair was so beautiful and shinny black. I knew she had to be older because of her bound feet a practice that was banned a long time ago. I asked her age and her daughter answered ninety and I asked how she kept her hair so black and she said it was natural and not dyed. So if her feet were bound she came from a well to do family and had a good herbalist taking care of the family and her hair showed her good health and they said it came from good health. Eating black sesame seeds can only help your health.
There are a growing number of activists who are protesting the use of Smart Meters
due to health concerns. Smart meters are the digital meters that the electric companies are replacing the old analog meters with. The concern is that they emit radio frequency (RF) that is so high it is harmful to human health. People living with the meters are claiming mild to severe symptoms that are effecting their: Concentration and memory problems and they are experiencing dizziness, tinnitus, heart palpitations, headaches, insomnia, nausea, anxiety and behavioral problems in children. Researchers are saying that during peak use they emit over 1000 times that of a cell phone. They are concerned about how high does the radiation have to go before the body starts cooking. Concerns are especially for children and people who are chronically ill, are immune system compromised and those with pace makers.
There are people trying to find ways to protect themselves from these meters by wrapping metal around them or putting empty paint cans on them to block the radiation from the meters.
There are numerous u tube videos showing things people are doing about them.
I have found that people who are especially sensitive to them also have mercury poisoning and those who have a lot of metal in their mouths from dental work.