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What is Anxiety?
Technically, there are several different types of anxiety disorders. However, for the purposes of this article we will look at anxiety in very general terms that could encompass most of the individual types. In this respect, anxiety can be thought of as an emotional imbalance where lingering feelings, emotions, and mental energy are unresolved and thus staying in the body. However, unlike depression disorders, anxiety disorders manifest as hyperactive symptoms as opposed to depressed symptoms.

Natural Treatments for Anxiety
The natural treatments for anxiety are designed to treat the underlying causes and mechanisms contributing to the anxiety. In most cases there are underlying emotional issues that need to be identified and worked with to truly treat and overcome anxiety. However, there are many other non-emotional factors that may perpetuate anxiety and these factors can be addressed with natural treatments.

Nutritional modifications to ensure optimal nutrient intake, removal of food allergies, and stabilizing blood sugar can have profound impacts for people with nutritionally-induced anxiety. Acupuncture and neural therapy can be wonderful to help support the nervous system and let go of emotions stored in the nervous system. Counseling techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy help identify the emotional causes for anxiety and develop effective coping mechanisms. Exercise therapies like yoga and meditation can be very helpful with the physical connection to anxiety. Botanical remedies may be used to help calm the mind and possibly restore neurotransmitter balance. Intravenous infusions of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and homeopathic remedies can support the adrenal glands, nervous system, hormonal system and other organs that may be in need of support for people with anxiety disorders.

Pharmaceutical Treatment Options
The first-line pharmaceutical approach to treating most anxiety disorders in adults is anti-depressant medication. Typically, an SSRI like Prozac, Celexa, Paxil, or Zoloft will be prescribed to raise serotonin levels in the brain but other forms of anti-depressants like SNRIs to raise norepinephrine levels may be utilized. All SSRIs and SNRIs are considered to be equally effective although it may take several tries to find the medication that works best for an individual.

Acute anxiety disorders like panic disorder are typically managed over the long term with anti-depressant medications and acute attacks are often treated with benzodiazepine medication. Most physicians consider benzodiazepine treatment appropriate only if SSRIs or SNRIs are not effective at controlling anxiety attacks. They are typically used only in acute situations for 2–6 weeks but some physicians may use low doses over long periods of time to prevent attacks. However, this use is controversial as benzodiazepines are associated with side effects, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms.

Identifying the causes and underlying mechanisms contributing to anxiety symptoms is extremely important in designing successful therapy for anxiety disorders. Natural treatments like dietary modification, counseling, acupuncture, intravenous nutrient infusions, and neural therapy are designed to treat the underlying causes of anxiety, support the body during episodes of anxiety, and prevent future episodes. Pharmaceutical medications are designed to manage symptoms and prevent severe episodes of anxiety attacks.

Natural treatments and pharmaceutical treatments can be used in conjunction to provide successful treatment. However, relying solely on medications for treatment typically masks the symptoms but does not support the treatment of the underlying causes to prevent anxiety in the future. In this way, medication may be best to help a person with severe symptoms get through a rough patch but the natural treatments should be utilized to work on a deeper level.

Dr. Brent Barlow

Dr. Brent Barlow is a naturopathic physician and author of the book series, To Feel Well. The first book in the series is now available. Click Here for more information or to purchase Improve Your Digestive System. He is an expert in the field of integrative and holistic healthcare and has a special interest in treating cardiovascular, hormonal, inflammatory, and digestive system disorders. He is board certified to utilize advanced integrative procedures like intravenous nutrient infusions, prolotherapy, neural therapy, and hormone prescription. Dr. Barlow is a graduate of the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver and practices in Kelowna, British Columbia.