Natural Solutions for Anxiety
Anxiety is a regular part of life, no matter your gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, or any other factors. You can’t live your life without feeling anxiety at some point.
However, if you’re experiencing persistent and ongoing anxiety, it can interfere with your ability to live your life to its fullest.
Mahaya Health can help. We offer a variety of different treatments which can help you manage your anxiety.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a physiological response to stress. It’s how your body knows to react to a dangerous situation. It’s anxiety that allows you to leap out of the way when you see a bus speeding toward you.
When you experience anxiety, your body engages the adrenaline response. This is known as the “fight, flight, or freeze” response and keeps you prepared to defend yourself if necessary.
Anxiety also helps you to do your best. If you have an important life event coming up, like a job interview, a big presentation, or a school assignment, for example, feeling anxious about it will push you to work hard at it.
These are all perfectly normal reactions. We all have them, and while they may not be terribly pleasant, they’re not a problem.
However, they’re generally all tied to a specific event. Your heart may be pounding for a few minutes after the bus that almost hit you drives away, but you’ll get back to your normal soon.
You might feel weak in the knees during your presentation, but you should feel a sense of relief once it’s over.
But what if it doesn’t?
What if you’re feeling anxious, but there’s no specific event tied to it? What if you’re feeling anxiety stretched across weeks or even months, with no end in sight?
Types Of Anxiety Disorders
With anxiety disorders, the feeling of anxiousness is often more intense than regular situational anxiety. In some cases, it may prevent you from fulfilling your normal responsibilities.
Anxiety disorders are the most common form of emotional disorder. Here are some of the more well-known types.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a general feeling of worry and anxiousness about life, with no specific cause. And when there is a cause to point to, the anxiety you feel may be out of proportion to what the situation would normally call for.
If you have generalized anxiety disorder, you may live your life at a level where you just naturally assume disaster is around the corner. General life stresses – money, work, school, health, relationships, family, etc – are more difficult to deal with as a result. If left unchecked, a generalized anxiety disorder may hold you back from being able to function in your daily life.
Some of the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include:
- Restlessness or jumpiness
- A short temper or irritability
- Muscle tension
- Chronic pain
- Excess sweating
- Trembling hands
- Nausea and vomiting
- Digestive difficulties
- Concentration problems
- Memory problems
- Chronic fatigue
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a form of anxiety that’s triggered by a traumatic event that happened at some point in your past. Often, symptoms of PTSD show up within a month or so of the traumatic event, but there are cases where they don’t emerge for years. PTSD symptoms can cause significant interference in your daily life, as well as hold you back from situations that remind you of your trauma.
The symptoms of PTSD are generally grouped into four different categories:
Emotional & Physical Changes
- Jitteriness or jumpiness
- Irritability or a short temper
- Aggressive behaviour
- Feeling guilty or ashamed
- Difficulty focusing
- Reckless behaviour
- Substance abuse
Negative Mood And Thinking
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Relationship difficulties
- Memory difficulties (often related to your trauma)
- General negative thoughts and outlook
- Emotional numbness
- Lack of interest in pleasurable activities
- Avoiding thinking about your trauma
- Avoiding talking about your trauma
- Avoiding things that remind you of your trauma (places, people, events, etc)
- Recurring memories of your trauma
- Flashbacks – reliving your trauma
- Nightmares or night terrors
- Physical or emotional reactions to your trauma, or things that remind you of it
It’s important to note that not everyone who has experienced a traumatic event ends up with PTSD. Most people who have experienced something traumatic go through a difficult time coming to terms with their experience and coping with it, but with proper treatment and/or self-care, it often improves.
PTSD can manifest itself in many ways. For many, symptoms may be related to certain triggers. For example, the Toronto Air Show is frequently cited as triggering PTSD symptoms in those who came to Toronto as refugees from unstable regions of the world. Fireworks can also be triggering for combat veterans, as can being near a location where someone experienced an assault.
With time and treatment, however, you can learn to better manage your PTSD symptoms and improve your quality of life.
If you experience unexpected and persistent panic attacks, you may have a panic disorder.
A panic attack is a sudden and intense feeling of fear, terror, or panic. It usually lasts a few minutes, but can sometimes last for an hour or more. Either way, it can be extremely unsettling. Most people have experienced a panic attack once or twice, but if you’re dealing with them consistently it’s likely a sign something deeper is happening.
One of the common characteristics of a panic disorder is a constant generalized fear of the next panic attack. If you have frequent panic attacks, it can interfere with your general life.
It’s difficult to quantify exactly what a panic attack is, because it’s different for everyone. However, some of the more commonly reported symptoms are:
- Cold sweats
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
- A sense of “impending doom”
- Nausea or vomiting
- Difficulty breathing
- Depersonalization (feeling like you’re detached from your body)
- Derealization (feeling like what you’re experiencing isn’t real)
These symptoms generally appear more commonly with women, though it isn’t clear if that’s because women are more prone to anxiety, or because women are more likely to seek help for it.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is anxiety that’s triggered in social settings. Depending on the severity of your social anxiety, you may have difficulty with:
- Meeting new people
- Talking to people you know
- Attending social events
- Holding down a job
- Getting a new job
- Going to school
- Developing or maintaining close relationships
- Going shopping
- Eating or using the restroom in public places
Depending on the severity of your disorder, you may feel:
- Extreme worry, either during a social situation or during the days before
- Avoidance of social situations altogether – including school or work
- Fear of judgment
- Fear of embarrassing yourself
- Fear that other people will notice your anxiety – anxiety about the fact that you’re anxious
- Reliance on substances to manage social situations
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stuttering or other speech difficulties
For some, their social anxiety only manifests itself in certain situations. In extreme cases, it can affect all of your social interactions, and can lead to agoraphobia.
Other Forms Of Anxiety
Other forms of anxiety not covered above include, but are not limited to:
- Separation anxiety disorder – a persistent anxiety after being away from certain places or individuals
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) – the compulsion to repeat specific and repeated behaviours, often an obsession with symmetry or cleanliness
- Illness anxiety disorder – formerly known as hypochondria, it’s an anxiety about your level of health and fear of contracting disease
Natural Treatments for Anxiety
Because anxiety is a mental health issue, you may assume that mental health counselling with psychotherapy is the only treatment option. Psychotherapy can be even more effective, however, if you pair it with other treatments.
If you’re dealing with anxiety, a naturopathic doctor can help you uncover what the root cause is. From there, you’ll get a customized treatment plan designed to address what’s causing your anxiety.
For example, anxiety can be connected with a number of different health conditions:
- Heart disease
- Drug abuse, or drug withdrawal
- Certain pharmaceutical drugs
- Digestive disorders
- Chronic fatigue or pain
- Asthma or COPD
- Certain types of cancer
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Parkinson’s disease
As well, studies have shown that traditional Chinese medicine treatments like acupuncture, moxibustion, and Chinese herbal medicines can help relieve anxiety.
There is a growing body of research also showing how physiotherapy, registered massage therapy, and osteopathic manual treatments can help with anxiety too.
You’re a unique individual, and your health concerns are different than anyone else’s. Even if you’re experiencing a similar type of anxiety to someone else, it may be a result of different health factors at play.
Whatever it is that’s causing your anxiety, trust the team at Mahaya Health to work hard to uncover what it is. From there, we’ll put together a treatment plan designed to help you deal with your anxiety.
Find out how Mahaya Health treatments can help you with your anxiety.