TYPES OF ANXIETY DISORDERS
Anxiety (also known as generalized anxiety disorder) is excessive nervousness or worry that interrupts daily activities, without reasonable cause for nervousness. Anxious feelings occur along with physical symptoms that are similar to those of depression, such as difficulty concentrating, restlessness or fatigue, and insomnia. The diagnosis of anxiety requires at least 6 months of these symptoms. People with anxiety can also experience feelings of depression, often alternating with anxiousness. Anxiety can also occur by itself, without ever having any feelings of depression.
Some people with anxiety also have panic attacks, which are sudden episodes of intense fear without reasonable cause. The fear associated with panic attacks is usually accompanied by shortness of breath, a racing heart beat, nausea, dizziness, or a headache. Some people also experience a sudden feeling of heat or coldness, tingling of the hands or feet, or chest pain.
Post traumatic stress disorder is another type of anxiety disorder. PTSD occurs after witnessing a life-threatening experience. This condition is prevalent among veterans, and is also common in victims of violent crimes, abuse, accidents, natural disasters, and other psychologically traumatic events.
Symptoms of PTSD may occur immediately after the event, or several months later. It is expected to be in shock for a few hours to a few days after any highly stressful experience. However, if the symptoms interfere with your daily life to a significant degree, or if the symptoms persist for more than 4 weeks, professional treatment may be necessary.
People with PTSD often have difficulty sleeping, may feel more “on edge” than normal, and can have flashbacks or disturbing thoughts that interrupt their daily activities. Some people will block out memories of the traumatic event, or become emotionally “numb” in an attempt to avoid the stress caused by the experience. Many people with PTSD will feel depressed or detached from others, and often turn to alcohol or substance abuse to medicate their depression or anxiety.
OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD)
OCD is an anxiety disorder in which the person experiences obsessive, frequent, intrusive thoughts or impulses that cause significant anxiety. Common obsessions involve fear of infectious disease, anxiety about things being done in a specific order, or things being positioned in a specific place. These thoughts or impulses are not simply worries or obsessions about real life problems. The person recognizes that these thoughts and behaviors are excessive and inappropriate, but cannot sufficiently control them.
In order to reduce the anxiety caused by these thoughts or impulses, the person must compulsively perform specific mental or physical tasks, such as repeated hand washing, counting to a specific number or pattern of numbers, or repeating words silently. The diagnosis of OCD requires that these obsessions and compulsions cause significant impairment in the person's work or relationships.
Somewhat more common is obsessive compulsive personality disorder, in which the person has a rigid personality and requires that things be performed in a specific way, but this does not cause major impairment for the person. It is noticeable to others, and certain obsessive behaviors may appear somewhat excessive. In OCD personality disorder, the person may need to check and recheck whether the doors are locked or whether the oven was left on, but there are not necessarily distinct, intrusive, obsessive thoughts and compulsions that create significant anxiety.
For people who are interested in treating the underlying cause of their anxiety or mood disorder, one of the safest and most effective treatments is classical homeopathic medicine. Homeopathy is a natural method of treatment in the form of small sublingual pills made from plants or minerals. This medicine stimulates your body’s innate ability to heal, restoring health naturally. Rather than suppressing your symptoms like most conventional treatments, homeopathy helps you heal from the inside out, working towards a cure of your illness.
BOTANICAL MEDICINE (HERBAL MEDICINE)
Botanical medicine is ideal for anyone who wants a natural alternative to taking medications with harmful or unwanted side effects. There are a wide variety of medicinal plants, and we can prescribe these herbs to you as either capsules, liquid extracts, or teas. Passion Flower, Lemon Balm, and Kava are often helpful for anxiety, because they promote mental tranquility and reduce restlessness. These herbs can also be used to help with insomnia.
For treating depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders, there are specific acupuncture points that can be very helpful. Your doctor will check your pulse, listen to your symptoms, and make some physical observations to design the perfect acupuncture protocol for you as an individual.
NUTRITION & EXERCISE
A nutritious, whole foods diet can make an enormous difference for most patients suffering from anxiety or other psychiatric disorders. Providing your brain and body with the proper vitamins and minerals needed for optimal functioning is the foundation for long-term health. In addition to a healthy diet, specific targeted nutritional supplements, such as high dose fish oil and methyl B12, can be used to promote a healthy, balanced mood. Physical exercise can be a mood stabilizer as well. Many patients with anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder can reduce the intensity, frequency, and duration of mood episodes by incorporating therapeutic exercise into their lives. Each patient has different nutritional and exercise requirements, and our doctors make specific nutritional and lifestyle prescriptions on a case by case basis.