Let me be honest with you, anxiety is hard to deal with. It is a very uncomfortable feeling and it can really affect your life and relationships. If you have anxiety or you get anxiety 'attacks' then you already know that!
It is hard to explain to people who dont get anxiety what it actually feels like. That in itself can be frustrating and a problem all on its own. Not only do you find it difficult to make sense of yourself but others around you dont really understand it either. It is an isolating experience in that way.
Also, as you 'look fine,' other people dont always appreciate how debilitating this state and experience can be. Unfortunately what sometimes happens is other people will misread anxiety symptoms in others and make a judgment on it. Instead of being understanding, people can judge someone with anxiety as 'loner' 'drama' 'too sensitive' 'unbalanced' and any number of other labels.
So, what to do about all of this? Well, articles like this help! The more people talk about the symptoms of anxiety the more people will understand and then be able to be more supportive. The less secretive this topic is, then the less people suffer alone. There are answers to help and treatments available and this article and my work with clients is a small part of getting the support and knowledge 'out there.' So, well done for reading this and be sure to consider sharing it with others. Knowledge is power.
The reality is that you are not alone in either experiencing this or in knowing someone who has it. The WHO (World Health Organisation) in a report last year (2016) stated that 10% of the worlds population has an Anxiety disorder. According to the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK, Generalised Anxiety Disorder affects up to 5% of the population. The links to these articles and reports are below.
It is important to know that anxiety is not something that is just in your head. It is not simply thought related. The good news there with that is it offers more avenues for treatment.
So what is it then? What causes it? What are the other 'avenues for treatment' I mentioned? Well, like anything to do with the human body and human emotions and thought processes, it is not that simple to answer!
Lets start with the neurotransmitters and let me explain how knowing about this can help you to help yourself with your symptoms.
From the perspective of your body and what is going on there, anxiety is felt through neurotransmitters, these are chemicals or hormones. The main players are Serotonin, Gaba, Dopamine and Epinephrine. They are how we process feelings and emotions and react to tension in our body. They are the chemicals in us that make us happy, sad, anxious, elated, calm, etc etc.
The 'fight or flight' response, you have heard of that yes? It is the 'anxiety response.' That is Epinephrine pretty much. (Some others are involved but for the sake of simplicity lets say its Epinephrine it is linked with adrenaline.) That is why you will get this rush sensation perhaps with a tension sensation combined when feeling anxious.
Ok, so what you might ask? What does that information do to help you?
Well the empowering answer here is where these hormones are made in the body and what they are made from. 90% of these 'happy hormones' are made in your GUT. They are made from amino acids (parts of protein) and Vitamins and Minerals. Made from these in your stomach and your organs such as the liver.
So, you can take a blood test and see that you are low in Vitamin B6 for example, or Tyrosine or Tryptophan or Magnesium...there is a long list that you can be low in. ANY ONE OF THESE WILL AFFECT HOW YOUR BODY PRODUCES THESE MOOD HORMONES.
As it is these minerals or vitamins that the body uses to produce these hormones then if you are lacking in one of them or are having issue in processing one of them then your mood will be affected. It can be the reason for your anxiety or at least a big part of it.
Tyrosine is an amino acid (a part of protein) and if you are low in this in your body then chances are you have anxiety. Thing is, you can take a supplement of Tyrosine and address your lacking. In many instances, this is enough to take away the anxiety symptoms. This is true.
It can be that easy. No drugs needed, no therapy even maybe perhaps. Anxiety is physiological as well as thinking habits or trauma related in many cases. However for you it may only be your body lacking in a nutrient it needs to make that neurochemical. Simple as that.
I advise my anxiety clients to get a full blood test. What I am also looking for when advising on a blood test with clients experiencing anxiety symptoms is 'what else is going on.' For example, hormones and the functioning of the organs such as liver and kidneys and stomach.
Especially with females to test hormones. It may well be that your anxiety symptoms are hormone related. You wont properly know unless you get a blood test to find out.
Also, it is important to see what is going on with the stomach and liver and kidneys as poor absorption of nutrients as previously discussed will affect mood also. You see? You may be eating a great nutritious diet and consuming good amounts of Magnesium for example but for some reason your internal organs are not processing it effectively. This can be a cause of your anxiety issue.
So it may be that the focus of treatment has to involve why a persons system, why their organs are not processing nutrients efficiently.
What I am saying here is there are more avenues to treating Anxiety than just medical intervention or talk therapy. More can be done. Sometimes the answer is quick. A blood test will give indications of that.
Medication and SSRI's (anti anxiety medication) are an option and can relieve symptoms of anxiety and their frequency. However they are not a cure as a treatment which is why a doctor will often prescribe this medication with a suggestion to seek Counselling in conjuction with taking the pills.
Talk Therapy is the method recommended the world over as a very effective treatment for the management of anxiety related disorders. Not a quick fix but certainly is proven to help. A Counsellor such as myself will support a client with managing the symptoms they are experiencing. The honest truth is people do learn to manage the symptoms and much of those symptoms can in fact disappear in time with that help and support. If you or someone you know has an anxiety related issue I would be very happy to work with them to help them to recovery.
Lastly, as self help 'solutions' I will mention the following:
Links for further information referred to in this article
- 2016 World Health Organisation report on Anxiety globally.
- NHS UK on Anxiety
- Maryland University - scroll down the page to CAUSES which was discussed in this article
- Neurotransmitters discussed in detail
- The Mayo Clinic, very prestigious US clinic discussing St. Johns Wort use.
- NHS (UK National Health Service) link on St. Johns' Wort use