Scientific research is now validating that anxiety has a substantial influence on the body’s physiology, leading to a lot of acute and chronic diseases. A report from the World Bank said that 1 in 5 people suffer from anxiety or depression. Typical stresses that could be encountered in daily life include physical, chemical, infectious and mental stresses.
The stress cycle entails our thoughts, emotions, the chemical reactions in our mind, our own body and the bodily senses we feel as a consequence of these. Once this method starts it snowballs, gains momentum and lifestyle might feel out of control. The first point, our thoughts have turned into the most powerful as it’s not the function that causes us anxiety, but how we respond to it. Thoughts start in the mind of the brain and proceed quickly to the limbic system or mid brain where our emotions lie.
These activate an immediate emotional response like anger, fear, hatred, despair, sorrow, anxiety, sadness, jealousy or humiliation. These ideas stimulate our nervous and hormonal systems to release stress hormones, most notably adrenaline and cortisol from our adrenal glands (kidney bean shaped glands that sit over our kidneys). In reaction compounds are released throughout the body that reach the pituitary gland in the brain and stimulate the release of hormones and stress compounds.
The last phase of the stress cycle is triggered since these chemicals alert each organ in the body to operate quicker. This results in symptoms like sweating, tremor, anxiety, churning stomach, decreased salivation, dry mouth, increased muscular activity and hyperventilation, irregular heart beat (palpitations), chest pain, visual disturbances and tingling and numbness, in addition to muscle tremors, fatigue, general weakness and sleep disturbances.
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Once upon a time it was very helpful for the human body to experience these physical changes, as the primary emotion experienced by our ancestors had been fear triggered by an attack by a wild animal. The stress chemicals released during the assault allowed the ancient people to push their bodies into the crucial extremes and escape the assault. In the 21st century however, more intricate stress emotions are triggered a lot more often and they do not necessarily need a physical reaction.
Because of this, this persistent stress reaction begins to wear out the body – the over production of stress hormones and chemicals finally take its toll on the body and might eventually result in cell death. Cortisol one of the overriding hormones released by the adrenal glands in response to stress, produces lots of the adverse effects of long-term anxiety. Including depletion of DHEA, a hormone that’s very important to the production of sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen; an antidepressant and our so-called anti-aging hormone.
A decrease in DHEA produces symptoms of fatigue, hormonal imbalance, depression and general unwellness. Consistently elevated cortisol levels may also result in a decrease in serotonin neurotransmission. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that’s needed for healthy mood. Low serotonin transmission is an important defect in depression. Immune system function can also be adversely affected by excessive cortisol resulting in depression of antibacterial, antiviral defense and raising our allergy reaction.
This may result is outward symptoms like frequent colds and flus, cold sores, hay fever, asthma, sinusitis, migraines, and food intolerances. Stress also has important effects on toxicity. The intestinal barrier function is a significant defense against a massive load of disease causing microorganisms from food that is ingested, resident bacteria, invading viruses and other insults. Psychological stress was clearly shown to disrupt intestinal permeability.
Acute stressful events are closely related to inflammation of the colon; cells of the mucous membranes of the colon have been proven to produce elevated levels of inflammatory substances like prostaglandin 2 and cyclooxygenase. This scenario not only raises bacterial adherence to the intestinal lining, but also decreases the secretion of immune system compounds like immunoglobulin A.
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This may result in a condition called leaky gut, whereby improperly digested food particles and other thing leaks into flow resulting in immune activation with subsequent improved stress reaction. Certain foods in particular appear to provoke this reaction, such as milk, wheat and yeasts. Symptoms of leaky gut include low appetite, bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain and cramping, irregular bowel movements, in addition to sinus, headaches and skin rashes.
What Can You Do?
Fortunately there are plenty of treatment options for anxiety, depression and anxiety. Herbal medicines may be quite good for the treatment of anxiety, depression and anxiety. In actuality, many clinical trials have discovered herbs like St Johns Wort to be as effective as pharmaceutical anti-depressants in treating mild to moderate depression. Other herbs that are helpful for relieving symptoms of anxiety, depression and anxiety, include Oats, Lemon Balm, Skullcap, Zizyphus, Passionflower, Verbena and Chamomile. Another category of herbs that assists our bodies to deal with stress are the adaptogens.
These contain the ginsengs, such as Panax or Korean Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng, American Ginseng and Indian Ginseng also Called Ashwaganda or Withania. Other Significant adaptogens include Rhodiola, Shisandra, Codonopsis and Gotu Kola. Since herbs are powerful medications, it’s wise to consult with a professional naturopath or herbalist who can prescribe a single prescription containing a blend of herbs specific to your needs.
- Magnesium necessary for muscle relaxation, energy generation, hormone production and healthy heart function. Magnesium deficiency is a very common occurrence. Symptoms of deficiency include muscle cramps, headaches, neck and shoulder strain, premenstrual stress, period pain and reduced energy.
- B vitamins necessary for healthy nervous system function, hormone and neurotransmitter, production and energy generation. As B vitamins are water soluble they’re easily removed from the diet. Consuming excessive amounts of diuretics like tea, coffee and cola drinks in addition to certain medications will encourage their elimination from the body.
- Vitamin C is essential for many functions in the body, including immune system function and adrenal gland function.
- Essential fatty acids like fish oil and evening primrose oil. These are crucial for healthy brain function and are often deficient in the diet. Good sources include oily fish like salmon, sea trout, snapper, wild barramundi and deep sea foliage. Evening Primrose Oil is best taken as a nutritional supplement.
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When purchasing oil supplements ensure you get ones with extra antioxidants like vitamin E as all oil supplements are vulnerable to oxidation. Additionally, since most fish are contaminated with mercury and pesticides, make certain you purchase fish supplements that has been processed and tested. In times of stress we often opt for an afternoon coffee or a cola beverage with sugary snacks like cakes, chocolate, biscuits, donuts, etc, which provide us comfort and a brief burst of energy.
Unfortunately these can be exacerbating our stress and in the long term promoting weight gain and reducing energy and immunity. Because of this, these foods should be kept to a minimum. During times of intense anxiety it’s ideal to prevent caffeine containing substances altogether as java (especially instant), chocolate, cola and tea can precipitate anxiety and panic attacks. Instead eat a diet of whole grains such as oats, grain breads, nuts, seeds and vegetables, especially leafy greens like broccoli, bok choy, spinach and rocket.
Include more great oils in the diet, such as deep sea fish, nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews), seeds (sunflower, pumpkin) and decent quality proteins such as eggs, lean pasture fed red meat and antibiotic free chicken. There are quite a few other therapies that are helpful for reducing anxiety, including massage, massage and acupuncture.
Listening to relaxing CDs may also be beneficial. Practices such as yoga, meditation and tai chi can also be valuable as they not only calm our body by producing”feel good” chemicals called endorphins but also improve immune system function, bone density and encourage the elimination of wastes from our bodies. As a Naturopath, I’m passionate about teaching people regarding drug free alternatives to pharamaceutical drugs to deal with their anxiety and stress. One such alternative which I’m especially excited about is Brainwave Entrainment.
Brain Wave Entrainment Technology has made it feasible to change your brainwaves by utilizing audio technology to tune your brainwaves to especially designed brainwave states by simply listening to a CD or MP3 recording. The entrainment process was clinically proven to naturally synchronize your brainwaves into the embedded carrier frequencies on the CD. I’ve personally used these technologies for more than a decade with good success for sleeplessness and anxiety issues as well as for memory enhancement. For detailed information on the brainwave CDs visit our website listed below.
You should also aim to get sufficient exercise such as swimming, walking, cycling, aerobics or weight training at least four times weekly for 20 or more minutes. This won’t only improve your physical fitness levels and cardiovascular function but will also increase the body’s production of endorphins-chemical substances that can relieve depression and anxiety. Scientific research shows that routine exercise can positively affect mood and help with depression. No more than three hours a week of aerobic exercise can profoundly reduce the level of depression. The main thing is that you find something you want and do it frequently.