You know the awful feeling in your stomach when you’re dreading something? Or the strange sensation that washes over your body when you slam on your brakes, swerving to barely miss an accident? Or sweaty palms and a racing heartbeat when you’re about to give a speech? Everyone feels nervous or anxious from time-to-time—this is normal—but when it becomes a frequent occurrence or is disrupting everyday life, there may be a bigger issue at hand.
Anxiety Disorders in the U.S.
Turns out, about 40 million adults in the United States suffer from an anxiety disorder, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and other phobias. So what can be done? Let’s take a look at signs of an anxiety disorder and natural tips for dealing with some of the symptoms from Dr. Raffaela “Ela” Villella, D.C., Chiropractic Director of Chiro One Wellness Center of Lakeview.
Signs and Symptoms
In her office, Dr. Ela, has seen patients who suffer from anxiety and has observed a variety of symptoms. “Patients with anxiety disorders may experience nervousness, irritability, high blood pressure, insomnia, digestive problems, mood swings and depression,” she explains. “In some cases, anxiety has been shown to increase the symptoms of other conditions such as asthma.” Other signs of anxiety disorders include: excessive worry, compulsive or obsessive thoughts and behaviors, muscle tension, panic attacks and irrational fears.
Tips for Relief
Each individual’s disorder and symptoms varies—and this goes for treatment methods as well. As you figure out the best treatment options, you may find some different complimentary or alternative methods (CAM) that may work for you. Dr. Ela recommends these methods for her patients:
Chiropractic. Adjusting certain areas of the spine can activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes and increases your “rest and digest” functions.
Vitamin B6. Up your B-complex vitamin intake, particularly vitamin B6. You can find many of the B’s in food sources and vitamin B6 (the happy vitamin!) can be found in beans, peas, carrots, cauliflower, bran, nuts, fish, bananas and eggs.
Acupressure. There are certain acupressure points that are known to ease stress, specifically Lung 1 and Pericardium 6. Acupressure and acupuncture have great overall health benefits and can release tension, increase circulation and for some, relieve chronic pain.
Essential oils. Many different essential oils are touted for their calming effects, like lavender. Also, search for products made from flower essences such as rock rose, impatiens, clematis and cherry plum to help soothe stress.
Support groups. Often times just talking about your feelings and concerns can have a positive effect on your life. Research local support groups or visit some online forums; you’ll feel better knowing others understand exactly how you feel.
Sometimes anxiety can feel like a life sentence, but it’s not. Try different methods to find what works for you and remember Thich Nhat Hanh’s quote: “Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.”
If you are having difficulty breathing or experiencing other severe symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.