Do you or someone you know suffer from anxiety or depression, or maybe you aren’t sure? Symptoms of anxiety include restlessness or nervousness, fatigue, poor concentration, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance accompanied with worry that causes impairment. To be diagnosed you must be experiencing excessive worry for at least 6 months and have at least 3/6 symptoms. Conventional treatments often include the use of prescription medication hydroxyzine in mild cases. Hydroxyzine can cause sleepiness, somnolence, dizziness, headaches, and is only recommended for 5 weeks. The next medication that might be given is a benzodiazepine (Xanax or valium to name a few) which should also only be taken for 4-6 weeks. If you also have depression, then they recommend you be monitored for suicidal risk. They have several other side effects and a high risk for dependency. Quite frankly, I don’t like these drugs on a personal or professional level. I have seen people trying to wean off these medications with great difficulty. You may have watched Celebrity Rehab where Janice Dickenson publicly struggled to be weaned off her benzo addiction. Prescription drug addiction is a very real problem and a great topic…for another blog post :). I believe benzos should be used in emergency situations only and only for a short time. So what happens when you 4-6 weeks is up?
Anxiety can cause headaches, digestive problems, increased stress, and elevated blood pressure. So what do you do now?! Seek a local Naturopath for help, like myself. Do not stop your anxiety or depression medication cold turkey or without seeking a health care provider first. Diet, botanicals, homeopathy, and nutrients treat anxiety naturally. Many people experience anxiety for the first time at a very young age. Uncovering the cause or pattern of your anxiety is an important part of your healing process and I can help with that.
I mentioned that diet can help with anxiety. I have seen clinically that foods trigger anxiety in certain individuals. These foods vary from person to person, but make a significant impact on their mood. We also know that sugar can be used like a drug. I see a lot of patients for weight loss, but the problem isn’t their weight, its their mood. Food can be used as a coping mechanism. The problem is that it works while eating, but the benefits don’t last after the food is gone. Now you are left with crumbs, a stomach ache, and probably feel bad about yourself. The ability to cope during difficult and stressful situations can lead to better choices and eliminate the need for chocolate cake at 9 PM. I find that oftentimes its too overwhelming to change your diet without feeling good inside.
Homeopathy is the primary treatment I use because it is safe, easy, affordable, and very effective. Homeopathic remedies prescribed on an individual basis will support your healing process. I prescribed a remedy for a patient who had been on antidepressants since she was 9 years old (currently in her 30s). She reported “feeling euphoric” about 2 weeks after beginning the remedy prescribed. During her first visit, she said she doesn’t remember a time in her life that she was really happy. This was the first time she was able to feel happiness. Another patient said the following:
“I’m hoping to get back into a regular routine of taking my pills b/c I’ve noticed endometriosis symptoms returning again and my period has become very irregular (but I have noticed a significant difference in my anxiety symptoms after 1 dose of the [homeopathic remedy]! I’m still blown away by this!). So hopefully I can get started on a routine again and continue improving. And hopefully I can schedule an appointment with you at the end of the summer to continue moving forward on my health journey.” Thank you so much! ~ Steph
If you want to get started on improving your mood, reducing your anxiety, and feeling better, check out the suggestions below. You can also call or email myself (Dr. Katie Corazzo) to set up your free 15 minute consultation to find out more or to schedule an appointment.
Homeopathy is the use of tiny pellets that are placed under the tongue. Remedies are prescribed for each specific person; therefore 5 people with anxiety may be prescribed 5 different remedies. Homeopathic remedies are prescribed based on your experience with anxiety and what makes you different. This is a very safe therapy that can be used in conjunction with other treatments. Many patients notice the effects of a remedy while in a situations that would typically trigger them to feel anxious, but instead they are able to breeze through the situation without much trouble. For more information on homeopathy click here.
Yoga reminds you to focus on your breathing which can be very therapeutic. The gentle movement and warm room will get your blood moving, relax your muscles, and help keep your mind off the worries in your life.
Duh right?! But really, make a list of things you enjoy doing or might enjoy doing. Start today! Take time for yourself and say “no” to something on your calendar to create time. Read a book, take a bath, go for a walk, sit at a park and take in the scenery, take a nap, meditate, laugh with a friend, listen to music, or dance in your living room. If you’re not sure what will help you relax or feel better, try something new and see if it works.
4. Take the day off
Recharge your batteries at home and take a “personal” or “sick” day. They will survive without you at work. If you’re a stay at home mom, hire a babysitter or offer to exchange time with a friend. Watch her kids for the day next week and ask if she will watch your kids this week. I’m sure your friend will appreciate a day off too!
5. Treat yourself to a massage
Relaxing and therapeutic. Massage can loosen up those tight muscles and give you a break from the daily grind. We have talented massage therapist at Bhakti who offer a variety of services including my favorite, a body scrub.
Doing something nice for someone else will almost surely make you and them feel better. Being able to make someone else happy is a great feeling. So call up your best friend just because, send your sister flowers, or surprise your sig fig with dinner and dessert.
Letting go of the worry is really hard. We can even start to feel uncomfortable without it. Is your worry serving a purpose? Visualizing letting it go and release it. This might involve prayer or meditation and is very freeing.
There are so many benefits to being physically active. Exercise increases endorphins in our brain which leaves us feeling energized and satisfied. Exercise is also linked to lower rates of depression. Go for a run, lift weights, ride your bike, go hiking, take that class you have been wanting to try, rollerblade, dance, or call up your personal trainer for an extra session.
You might be thinking this is the LAST thing I want to eat right now, but trust me on this one. Stress increases your cortisol which leads to elevated glucose (sugar) levels in your blood. The glucose is there just in case you need it, like if you are running from a tiger. I haven’t seen anyone running from tigers lately, but I know a lot of people sitting at their desk all day. There is no need to consume more sugar (glucose). A veggie salad with protein won’t spike your glucose and insulin and will provide you with the nutrients and energy you need.
10. Tell someone
Admitting to a close family member or friend that you are struggling will make you feel better. Ask this person to keep you accountable – create a plan with them as to how you will address the problem. For example taking 30 minutes per day for myself, I am getting a massage on Friday, and I will call a local naturopath. Its time to change what you are doing if it is no longer working for you. Have a good cry and then its time for action.
Thank you for reading friends,
Dr. Katie Corazzo, ND