Over 19 million Americans suffer from some sort of acute anxiety. For some people, anxiety may be closely associated with depression. Patients with anxiety may have a depletion of the neurotransmitter serotonin with high dopamine and adrenaline levels. Women have almost twice the rate of anxiety as men. Other medical conditions can trigger or mimic symptoms of anxiety such as pulmonary embolus, tachycardia, adrenal imbalances, anemia and diabetes. Cold medications, diet pills, stimulants, digitalis, thyroid medications, some antidepressants and withdrawal from some meds can cause anxiety.
There are also hidden biochemical causes of anxiety. Pyroluria, a genetic abnormality in which pyrroles, a byproduct of hemoglobin accumulate in the blood, can occur in 30% of schizophrenics, 40% of people with psychiatric problems, 40% of alcoholics and 11% of the general population. Stress exacerbates this. Hypoglycemia, nutrient deficiencies, elevated blood lactate, elevated excitatory neurotransmitters and food and chemical sensitivities are also all hidden causes of anxiety. Anxiety is divided into several types including General Anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, OCD and PTSD( post-traumatic stress disorder). Conventional therapies include tranquilizers and anti-anxiety/ anti- depressants and psychotherapy. But drugs do not work in a quarter to a third of the cases and can be complicated by addiction with long term use.
Metabolic therapies include meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise (a study showed that a simple exercise program was nearly as effective in reducing panic attacks as any antidepressant) and diet. Anxiety patients should avoid sugars, alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. Non pharmaceutical agents that help anxiety include vitamin B6, niacin, inositol, magnesium, Vitamin B 12 , theanine and neurotransmitters. For example, niacin has been shown to have a benzodiazepine effect on the brain. Inositol converts into a substance that regulates the action of serotonin in nerve cells. Magnesium has calming properties. Herbals such as ashwaganda, chamomile, ginseng, valerian and passionflower are also good remedies for anxiety. Finally, aromatherapy is very helpful.
I present a metabolic approach to these psychiatric disorders as an alternative. Medications will be needed in some cases but only after a thorough psychiatric and metabolic evaluation. There are too many people on too many antidepressants unnecessarily. The medical costs of treating the complications of antidepressant therapy are adding up quickly. So contact us at Giannotto Clinic to find out how we can help!