Everyone gets anxious sometimes – and it’s a good thing. Focused worrying and physical tension are hardwired survival instincts from our caveman days. It becomes a problem, however, if you’re feeling anxious all the time. Constant anxiety has a serious impact on our physical and mental health, affecting our work, study and relationships.
Anxiety occurs when the chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters are not in the proper proportions due to many reasons.
Anyone can develop an anxiety disorder, at any time. With World Mental Health Day approaching on October 10, it’s a good time to learn about the main symptoms – for yourself and your loved ones.
1. You’re worried all the time, to the point you can’t sleep or concentrate
Worrying sometimes is normal, but constant ruminating over things you can’t control is a symptom of generalised anxiety disorder. You might lie awake at night thinking about a big presentation coming up, or a social situation from years ago where you felt foolish. The worry can consume all of your brainpower, leaving you unable to concentrate at work or even watch a movie. As soon as one issue or situation you’re worried about is resolved, another rises to take its place.
2. You have intrusive thoughts and rituals to banish them
Everyone has random, unwelcome thoughts sometimes – of something horrible happening to a loved one or somehow causing harm to yourself or others. While normally our brains would dismiss the unpleasant thoughts, people with anxiety may struggle to do so. Some may even develop rituals to ‘banish’ the thoughts, which is a type of anxiety known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. For example, someone with intrusive thoughts of their house burning down might need to check all the kitchen power points a certain number of times to feel safe.
3. You’re restless, achy, agitated and irritable
With so much mental energy dedicated to worrying, the rest of your body is similarly affected. You’re instinctively on alert – clenching your jaw or tensing your shoulders without even realising it. The lack of physical release from anxiety can leave you restless and easily agitated. And of course, lack of sleep makes everything worse.
4. You have panic attacks
A panic attack is an overwhelming flood of fear and impending doom, often with physical symptoms to match. Many people assume they’re having a heart attack and go to the emergency room. Panic attacks can occur spontaneously or be triggered by a specific setting. Where fear of panic attacks themselves develops, it becomes a specific type of anxiety called panic disorder.
5. You increasingly avoid social situations
Just the thought of being out in public makes you anxious, thinking of all the social mistakes you might make. You find yourself avoiding parties or activities you used to enjoy and worrying for days in advance when such outings are unavoidable. Eating in public, or using a public toilet, becomes almost impossible. These are symptoms of social anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are serious, but effective treatment is available. Our practitioners at Wandal Medical Centre in Rockhampton treat anxiety disorders using natural therapies, and conventional therapies like medication and lifestyle coaching, referral for psychotherapy and referrals to psychiatrists when necessary. If you recognise any of the five symptoms listed here, contact us today to begin your recovery from anxiety.
Kindly understand that Wandal Medical Centre is not a place to just get a “Mental Health Care Plan” and go to a psychologist or psychiatrist. We can do more for you. We use comprehensive assessment forms, and functional medicine investigations (when necessary) to arrive at a proper diagnosis about the causes of anxiety. For us, anxiety is only a symptom, not a disease in contrast to the conventional medicine. When we can find the cause/s for anxiety, it is easier to cure.
Anxiety can be an expression of many causes. We’re listing some of the causes below. Our method of treating anxiety is to find and fix these causative factors with the goal of achieving a long-lasting cure for the patient. We do not believe that the patient is properly treated if the patient has to be followed by mental health professionals every three months for the rest of their life. (Also, kindly note that our practice does not believe or approve prescribing Benzodiazepines like Vallium, Xanax, Alepam etc. Therefore, we strongly discourage patients from coming and asking for those types of medications.)
Causes for anxiety
A few of the causes for anxiety are:
- Genetic causes – these patients suffer from anxiety since their early childhood and are very resistant to any form of treatment.
- Chronic gut infections/dysbiosis
- Fungal toxins affecting the brain
- Chronic lack of energy production in the body/chronic fatigue causing your brain to be unable to persevere with stressors (remember even making a cup of tea is a stress to the body and the brain. It needs a lot of energy for the brain to prepare for that action to be performed. Then making the tea needs some amount of physical energy. In a person whose body may not be producing energy, due to a lack of the required amount, they can be very anxious even when they have to do this. This explains why people get very anxious on many occasions in their day-to-day life.
These people must be treated to correct their energy levels which will naturally correct their anxiety.
- Impaired hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis causing more catecholamines and cortisol, to be secreted by endocrine glands. These patients are normally tired, very anxious, and always expect the impending doom. (We have a more complex and detailed explanation about this mechanism)
- Menopause or female hormonal imbalances due to body toxicity, genetic causes, or due to inability of the body to detoxify properly.
- Abnormalities in thyroid hormone function.
- Other chronic infections which may cause toxic effects on the brain.
Anxiety Case Studies
We will discuss two real patient’s story below.
(Patient identification details are removed due to privacy issues. The patients fully consented for their cases to be presented. Also, their employment details were altered due to the same reason)
58-year-old female. Works as a customer relations officer in a non-busy local office. Presented because of non-resolving anxiety over about 10 years. On Lexapro for 12 months. She was tremulous on presentation ad told me that she was thinking of quitting her at the next meeting with her boss in 2 weeks time. She was working only three days a week six hours per day.
- Her other history was peripheral vascular disease needing stenting of the femoral artery.
- She has been a heavy smoker for more than 40 years.
- Her physical exam was unremarkable except for anxiety-related tremors in her hands.
- Blood tests were normal
When we reviewed her with our assessment questionnaire, she was found to have the following:
- Multiple symptom questionnaire (toxin load) –139 (normal score below 20)
- Pyroluria questionnaire: ++
- Yeast score: 106
- Dysbiosis/SIBO score: 45
- Female hormone deficiency symptoms +
- Digestion appears to be very poor
- Symptoms of severe deficiency of neurotransmitters GABA, Serotonin, and Dopamine
- Reduced levels of catecholamines
In mental health assessment, she ticked almost every response for anxiety.
- Becks anxiety score was 42 (very severe)
- Depression score was only 8
- We started the initial body cleansing process and kept her on our detox diet for 4 weeks. Advised to stop smoking, psychoeducation was given.
- At the end of the second week, she came for a review. Shakiness of the hands were already gone. She said that her supervisor and colleagues have changed a lot and very understanding now. Therefore, she has decided to continue to work.
- One month later, I started treating her dysbiosis.
- Six weeks later, when she came for a review, she said that she requested to work for 6 days a week, and happy that she got the approval.
- Reported that she is mentally feeling much better and not anxious anymore.
- Her depression score was zero while her anxiety score was only 2 compared to 42 in the beginning.
- Later she started to work in two offices of the same company, and doing well even after 14 months of her initial contact with us.
Sept 2018 (early)
58-year-old female. A nurse from a regional area.
c/o Severe anxiety and panic attacks, the mind does not stop, unable to sleep.
- She has been suffering from anxiety since the age of 13.
- Chronic smoker.
- She came and requested at least three months leave as she could not cope up.
- Except for very mildly elevated blood pressure, a pulse rate of 95, and some amount of pressurised speech, she did not have any other abnormal physical exam.
- Her blood tests showed very low oestrogen and progesterone confirming menopause.
In her alternative medical assessment:
- She ticked a lot of the anxiety symptoms and scored 10 for depression and 37 for anxiety.
- She scored high for gut dysbiosis and fungal infections.
- Her fatigue score was moderately high.
- Her multiple symptom score was 65.
- There were dopamine and serotonin deficiency symptoms.
- We started Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement (BHRT) therapy immediately while treating her gut, and kept her on a detox diet along with supplements to improve her gut health.
- She was only issued 2 weeks medical certificate.
- At the end of the second week, she came back for a review, requested clearance to go back to work, and reported that sleep has already been better.
- Two months after starting treatment, she reported being completely symptom-free and sleeping very well.
- To complete the treatment she underwent one month of liver detox. Then we stopped her treatment.
- She has been doing well to the date still coming for her ordinary GP appointments, but never needed antianxiety treatment again.