By Aleksander Strande, ND, Ph.D.
Anxiety is a disorder characterized by apprehension, uncertainty and fear, which can often be elevated to attacks of intense panic or a sense of losing control. Anxiety can be physiological and/or sub logical (subconscious). There maybe a genetic tendency.
Physiological type involves arousal around the autonomic nerve system (ANS) and fight and flight (adrenal response), which is often seen in people with panic attacks. Physiological factors are individual to a person and some emotional stress usually precedes anxiety e.g. loss of a job, broken relationship, hindered sexuality, etc.
In subconscious type, hidden trauma or certain situations or events can trigger the anxiety.
Anxiety can be acute or chronic.
Acute anxiety and panic attacks are self limited and may last two minutes to two hours. A person experiences an alarm of terror for no obvious reason and it may supercede rational thinking. Symptoms associated with it may include heart palpitations, chest pain, irregular heart beat, cold sweats, tremors of the hand, dizziness, butterflies in the stomach, nausea, diarrhea, hyperventilation.
If these symptoms progress, it can lead to secondary alkalosis with a sensation of pins and needles in hand/foot/around the mouth, muscle stiffness in the extremities, and tingling. A person may become disconnected with people and objects around him (no sense of reality). Hyperventilation with perception of no sense of reality can prolong the anxiety attack and worsen it, to the point that one feels that one is losing consciousness or one’s life is in danger.
Chronic anxiety, although some symptoms are as an acute type, is less severe and less debilitating. Symptoms can be of longer duration, lasting days, weeks, and months. A person notices general undefined sense of tension, apprehension, or vague persistent dread, fear of the future. Symptoms include general fatigue, insomnia, inability to maintain concentration, pancreatic hypoglycemia, weight gain or loss, headaches, dysfunction in personal relationships, work, and life.
It is important to consult a health professional, in order to avoid confusing anxiety-like symptoms with potentially more serious conditions such as heart attack, Grave’s disease (over active thyroid), tumor of the sympathetic nerve system, chronic fatigue syndrome, post traumatic stress syndrome or symptoms relating to vitamins/mineral deficiencies.
Naturopathy unlike allopathic medicine is not about prescribing something for a symptom. Naturopathy is about change in both what you consume and what you do. No change — no recovery! It is as simple as that.
There are a lot of things you can do to help yourself. Most people might have tried few approaches including allopathic (drugs) and natural approaches. Various things and approaches will help to various degrees. In terms of speed and effectiveness of overcoming anxiety, it is extremely difficult to beat a combination of the following two approaches: liquid extracts of herbs administered in therapeutic doses and Aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy has its roots in the most ancient healing practices of mankind. The Egyptians have been using aromatics almost 3000 years before Christ for medical and cosmetic purposes. Essential oils are very potent in their effect, helping the body return from an unbalanced state leading to illness, to the ideal balance representing health and well-being. The essential oils exert a subtle influence on the mind and allow you to take control of your emotional well-being. Aromatherapy is wonderful for states of anxieties, panic attacks, depression and other nervous or emotional problems. It also has a wide range of applications to other conditions. Aromatherapy may be incorporated with many types of massage techniques. As long as the therapist does not use diluted essential oils, Aromatherapy may become an instant symptomatic knockout for an anxiety or panic attack. Using liquid extracts of botanicals is extremely effective in a long term solution for both chronic and acute anxiety and panic attacks. Herbs generally have a rejuvenating and nourishing effect on body’s systems and organs — that includes adrenal and nervous system. Many health professionals using herbal medicine tend not to understand the therapeutics in botanical medicine. Using tinctures (extremely diluted herbs) is one example where people may turn away from herbal medicine due to too slow recovery (if any at all).
Using concentrated extracts (1:1 ratio) is the requirement to achieve optimal success, after success, after success. Encapsulated dry herbs are OK for people who have an un-compromised digestive system. Any experienced holistic practitioner knows that digestion is often compromised in people suffering from nervous/emotional type problems. Anything that needs to be processed by digestion (for example solid herbs) will not be assimilated to the optimum, producing slower results. Therefore, liquid extracts of botanicals should be considered as the best option. Typically 5 or 6 herbs are selected for a bottle of liquid herbal medicine. To achieve therapeutic doses and fast results, 10-20 ml of liquid extract mix should be administered three times daily.
So, let’s do no harm, build health, practice prevention, and address the cause, not just the symptoms. These are the main principals of naturopathy. Using natural medicines, we encourage recovery and maintenance of well-being through support of your body’s inherent healing capacity. If you have tried everything, are still not well, and if you have not fallen in love with your disease, I would like to talk to you about your problem.
Aleksander Strande is a micro-biologist and naturopathic doctor. Now with new offices in Irvine, he can be reached at (949) 553-1882 for appointments and questions.
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