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It is estimated that at least one in ten Canadians suffer from anxiety, but based on my experience in clinical practice for the last ten years, these numbers are conservative at best if not wrong. I’d say at least 50% of the population is dealing with anxiety at a level that is disrupting their quality of life, and in many cases making them sick. I am unfortunately treating patients with anxiety (including many children unfortunately) many times a day, every day. Thankfully, there are a number of evidence based natural approaches for treating anxiety.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain (or certain) outcome. It is an adaptive, natural survival response, but when it begins to interfere with daily activities like eating, sleeping, or working, it must be addressed.
Symptoms of Anxiety
There are a number of different kinds of anxiety, including generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder however the most common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Panic or fear
- Feeling nervous or agitated
- Excessive worrying
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Sweaty, cold hands or feet Irritability or anger
- Heart palpitations or racing heart
- Shortness of breath
- Obsessive thoughts
What Causes Anxiety?
Some forms of anxiety are constant, some intermittent, some have situational triggers, some do not. Typically the cause can be one or a few of the following:
- Some vitamin/nutrient deficiencies (see below)
- Hormonal imbalance
- Certain medications such as amphetamines, caffeine, hypothryoid medications, depression medications, to name only a few (this is by no means an exhaustive list!)
The good news is, that there are MODIFIABLE things which will exacerbate anxiety that can be addressed such as:
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Neurotransmitter imbalances
- Omega 3 fatty acid deficiencies
- Vitamin D deficiency
- B12 deficiency
- Hormone imbalances
- Food sensitivities
- Over consumption of caffeine
Anxiety, like most conditions, is almost always multi-factorial. In any given person, a variety of factors will be contributing to the development of anxiety. When enough of those factors are present and when a certain threshold is exceeded, the anxiety comes tumbling in. To prevent it, all of the factors don’t generally need to be removed or addressed, just enough to take the person below this threshold. What this means, is that working with some of the modifiable factors listed above, can work wonders and really improve quality of life.
What are some examples of anxiety treatments?
First and foremost, a thorough investigation screening for the aforementioned causes / exacerbations and risk factors is performed. Depending on the individual case any number of treatment plans could include any of the following:
IV therapy is a unique and powerful treatment option that is very useful for certain conditions because it achieves better results, faster. Whether you want to enhance your energy, improve your overall health, treat specific medical conditions, or maintain optimal health to prevent future conditions, nutrient IV therapy can replenish the nutrients your body needs for optimal health.
Dr. Smith will determine your personal needs and customize an infusion to help restore your health.
This infusion is long (about 2 hours), and is one of the largest infusions Dr. Smith does. It includes numerous vitamins, minerals AND amino acids that powerfully reduce anxiety over a few weeks, with some relief even after the first infusion. This is very valuable in times of crisis or very helpful when tapering medication or when launching a new program for managing anxiety. Glutathione will be administered at the end of this infusion to amplify the impact of the other nutrients.
Pure Methylcobalamine (B12) injections
These injections are suitable for those who cannot do IVT or whom are not candidates.
Nutrient supplementation (case dependent)
B12, vitamin D, omega 3 fish oil.
There are many herbs to address mood, and they should be prescribed ONLY by a Naturopathic Doctor or master herbalist, because there are drug/herb interactions that can occur. However when prescribed properly there are a number of herbs that have been studied and proven to be effective, and absolutely will do the trick for many patients.
Dr. Smith regularly refers patients into various types of meditation programs and also utilizes Muse in her practice.
As mentioned above, blood sugar imbalances can even outright cause anxiety, so education around how to eat to keep blood sugar stable (protein, protein, protein, healthy fat, healthy fat) is crucial in the process of resolving or reducing anxiety.
When your thyroid is not able to do it’s job, you can feel anything from anxiety to crippling fatigue to ongoing illness.
Bioidentical progesterone, which is extremely safe, is a remarkable anxiolytic. In fact often women develop anxiety right around perimenopause when all women start to experience the symptoms of low progesterone. This must be used however only IF this is a contributing or causal factor, and must be prescribed by an ND or MD who is specializes in this area of women’s health.