Defeat Anxiety and Panic Attacks

24 11 2010

Calm the Mind and Body, Explore the World

First of all, what is a panic attack?  A panic attack is the feeling that often mimics the symptoms of a heart attack or a nervous breakdown.  Panic attracts happen abruptly and disappears very quickly. These episodes can typically reach a peak of 10 minutes and generally end after half an hour.    First time suffers often call for emergency services.  For those that have experienced a panic attack, it is a very frightening experience to say the least.  Anxiety disorders are an abnormal and pathological fear which many patients are treated by counseling, psychiatric diagnosis and prescription drugs.  There are eight general anxiety disorders, panic attacks are one of them.

In many cases anxiety treatment can be handled through cognitive and behavioral specialist sessions and/or self treatment without the use of drugs.  By identifying the anxiety stimulus with related disorder symptoms a treatment plan can be applied to alleviate, or remove the cause of your anxiety.   It is first recommended you identify your type of symptoms and anxiety disorder through the help of an anxiety specialist if you experience acute to chronic ill-health physical or mental anxiety anguish.

Listed below are the 8 general anxiety disorders

1) General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – This disorder typically affects adults and can occur daily without fixation on one thing.  Anxiety is random and specific cause is not very apparent or apparent at all.

 2) Panic Disorder (panic attack) is brought upon by intense terror and apprehension.  Symptoms:  Trembling, shaking, confusion, dizziness, nausea, difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, etc. 

3)  Agoraphobia – This is an anxiety attack brought upon by a fearful stimulus or situation of open space with nowhere to hide, e.g, airport, malls, outdoors and is associated with panic attack symptoms.   Approximately 3.2 million adults in the US between the ages of 18-54 suffer from this disorder. 

4)  Social anxiety disorder – This fear is associated with feelings of embarrassment, blushing, sweating through social encounter and public speaking.

5)  OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) – Repetitive obsessions that drive one to perform specific acts or rituals.   For example, rituals to remove feelings of impeding harm, or infection to the individual, i.e., constant washing of hands for fear of catching germs, or walking in certain patterns the same way every day to get from point a to b. 

6)  PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) – PTSD disorder is the result of a traumatic experience.  For example a soldier returning back from war, rape, or one that was in a bad car accident.  For these individuals flashbacks, anger and avoidant behaviors, anxiety and depression are common.

7) Separation anxiety –This is when an individual is separated from a place or person which results in anxiety symptoms.  Child hood cases tend to be more severe than in adults. 

8) Childhood Anxiety Disorder – Many children as well as adults feel anxious, worried and fearful with new experiences.  Children’s decision-making ability and perceptions, learning and concentration suffer.   Symptoms include: Attention deficit, eating, sleeping and depression disorders.  Children with parents who suffer similar anxiety reactions to stress most likely will carry this trait.

Common Symptoms, Those that Suffer from Anxiety disorders

Common symptoms include: Eating and sleeping disorders, depression, anger, isolation and fear.  Physical symptoms:  Irregular heart rate, trembling, shaking, inadequate breathing or hyperventilation, chest pain; a feeling of going crazy, or losing control, feeling like you’re going to pass out, stomach pain, nausea, feeling hot or cold, etc.   If you have frequent bouts of any of these types of symptoms you may suffer from an anxiety disorder.  If you suffer from these symptoms and are creating more anxiety see your primary care physician for referral to an anxiety specialist.  Any time one feels out of sorts, overly anxious, or a feeling of “loss of control” it is prudent to seek medical guidance from your primary care physician.

How to alleviate your levels of anxiety,

1.  Identify and remove yourself from fearful, stressful, uncomfortable situations where physical or emotional symptoms of discomfort are felt.

 2.  Do you have emotional support to discuss stressful or anxious situations?  Emotional support whether a good friend or professional is important in helping to identify what brings on the feelings of anxiety.  Also, to have someone you can confide in provides a level of comfort that will reduce anxiety and help target, or identify potential situations, behavior, or habit that may be creating the anxiety.

 3.  Are you able to plan for vacations, take off days to relax, work a hobby, read a good book or exercise?  Finding quite time to relax, meditate, or participate in self interest activities that provides the necessary time to unwind provides peace of mind.  This quality time allows one to reflect in a positive environment to focus; process and reflect on what’s important in life.  And when this time is made available, many times generates solutions to alleviate anxiety conditions in a way that does not occur otherwise.

 4.  Do you have help when you feel over loaded with too much work?  If not, you must make time to discuss work overload and the worry associated and leading to daily anxiety.  If work overload issues are creating a situation that is unhealthy it is necessary to discuss these issues with your supervisor, manager, significant other, therapist or HR representative.  If you don’t, your health will most likely take a turn for the worst, which is not good for you, your family, or employer.

 5.  If you do not take care of your body it can impact brain function.  And when this occurs, for many the psychosomatic (mind/body: body/mind) relationship can experience anxiety symptomatic of panic attacks. If mood is depressed due to extended physically stressful environment for example; depression can become chronic.  And with chronic depression, the mind also connects the body (biologically) to become depressed and anxious simultaneously.  Continued on this path for too long and untreated is a pathological gateway to other forms of illness and disease.

 6.   Habits/behaviors – It should also be noted if you consume alcohol, caffeine, smoke cigarettes, use certain types of drugs:  Over-the-counter medications, prescriptions or recreational drugs may contribute and compound your anxiety disorder.  Also negative behavioral social patterns  coupled with bad habits place many in unhealthy and uncomfortable environments where fear, guilt and social confrontations is part of the anxiety mix.  These types of experiences can cause and contribute to more anxiety as opposed to alleviating the anxiety.  Talk with your doctor about use of any of these vices, or current prescriptions to see if one, or in combination with something else you consume may be a contributing trigger mechanism to your anxiety.

  7.  If your levels of fear and distress are severe see your doctor.  Your doctor may then provide further treatment using a combination of consulting, prescription drugs with further follow up by a therapist that is specialized in anxiety disorders to devise a course of treatment.  Or a treatment program that does not use drugs, or partial use of drug intervention.

 Specialized Types of Anxiety Treatment

 Cognitive-behavioral therapy – This therapy focuses on thought, or cognitions in addition to behaviors.  Both therapies are effective anxiety treatments.  Behavioral change is the focus as opposed to psychological issues from the past.  Takes between 5-20 sessions.

 Exposure therapy – You confront your fears in a safe, controlled environment.  As you face your fear without being harmed your anxiety gradually dissipates.

 Exercise at least 30 minutes a day five times a week for anxiety relief.  Aerobic activity is the best form of exercise to reduce stress and is also good for your heart and weight loss goals.  Walking at a brisk pace is the best low intensity-impact aerobics activity for physical and mental stress anxiety alleviation.  Walking in general is good for your overall fit-healthy goals.

 Hypnosis – While you’re in a state of deep relaxation cognitive-behavioral therapy is also a part of the treatment.  During the session the therapist helps you face your fears.  Facing fears in new and different ways proves to alleviate anxiety problems for many patients in a deep relaxed state of mind-body.

 Relaxation techniques teach one to relax muscles and mental faculties while focusing positive energy to all parts of the mind-body.  This is possible because of progressive mindful relaxation controlled breathing and visualization exercises/techniques.  These sessions provide a feeling of relaxed emotional well-being.

 Biofeedback teaches the conscious mind to recognize the bodies anxiety response through sensors that monitor heart rate, breathing and muscle tension.  These sensory impulse readings then teach awareness of biofeedback casual relationships affecting the anxious mind-body.  This then teaches one to control internal biofeedback to produce a calming effect which equates to reduced internal body anxiety.

 Eat healthy by learning about quality nutritious foods (better known as Super Foods).  Understand that a healthy mind-body is dependent on the nutrients you consume.  Healthy food choices equate to less stress and anxiety and healthier mind-body.  Foods high in super food nutrients provide us with a calming-healthy mind/body effect.

 How to Find an Anxiety Therapist

  1.  Call the national alliance on Mental Illness at 1-800-950-6264.
  2.  Ask a doctor or nurse for anxiety disorder referrals.
  3.  Search on-line under specific type of anxiety disorder listed above, or general anxiety websites for your particular condition.
  4.  Check your local library and research books listed under anxiety for check out.
  5.  Contact your local university psychology department for local support, group programs, university funded programs, etc.

 Self -Help and Other Treatment Support Recommendations

 If you are living a stressful lifestyle that is creating anxiety, you must find creative ways to make time for yourself, or remove yourself from anxious events, or situations.  Much stress and worry leads many to anxiety symptoms with feelings associated of panic attacks.  If certain persons, places or things cause you to worry, create undue stress and unbearable anxiety, you must find ways to change your environmental situation.

The most natural way to self treat for anxiety is to identify the cause of your ill-health feelings and remove the cause/situation(s) that are creating the stressful anxiety response.  I know, easier said than done for most of us.  If this is not possible you must seek professional treatment to find ways to alleviate the anxiety stress by understanding what is triggering the internal/external symptoms.  If there are certain habits, or behaviors identified causing anxiety through specialist intervention for example, you can learn to control certain types of environmental stimulus, habits, or behaviors that are the cause of the physical ill-health anxiety symptoms.

Through this understanding one can learn to modify, or remove internal and external stress by learning cognitive (thought) awareness, behavioral/habit modification and casual removal associations to change an anxiety outcome.

Summary

It appears in many cases, individuals can learn to change habits and behaviors through a natural process of removing an identified anxiety stress stimulus.  Once the anxiety trigger mechanism has been identified and removed; anxiety symptoms are alleviated and for many go away completely never to return.

The mind is a powerful self-healing instrument.  If you have strong desire, faith and will power you can change your stress anxiety situation and rid yourself of this disorder.   But not without the challenges of making a significant life change, and/or lifelong commitment!  You simply must have the will power to believe you can make change for yourself by believing you can change and make change around you!  And if you don’t have the will power to make a change for your health’s sake and for your family, seek professional medical support and treatment for your disorder before it takes control of your life.  To do any less would be to live in unnecessary pain that need not be!

On-Line Referenced Links:

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2010 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





L-Tryptophan, The Obesity, Depression & ADD Silver Bullet Solution?

22 06 2010

    What is dietary Tryptophan?  It is one of the 8 essential amino acids our bodies require to function correctly.  It is found naturally in varying degrees within food we eat, such as red meat, milk, eggs, turkey, bananas and chocolate.  How does Tryptophan work to produce benefits for our bodies that could promote natural weight loss, reduce anxiety, increase happiness, remove depression, and promote good sleep?  Could it be possible this essential amino acid supplemented within a diet and known as “L-Tryptophan” could replace ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), weight loss, anti-depression, anxiety, and insomnia, also obesity prescriptions for you and your children?  The answer will surprise, anger and shock many of you about the health benefits our pharmaceutical industries don’t want you to know about.  This is because the prescription industry is a billion (s) dollar industries that do not want to give up its mind altering and weight loss prescription turf!

     First a little bit of history.  Back in 1991 the US government banned the dietary supplement L-Tryptophan because it was linked to a large outbreak of a deadly disease that killed 38 people in a 1989 study.  After 10 years had passed without incident of use in Europe, the US loosened its marketing restriction on the substance in 2001.  Like anything else, if misused any product may cause ill-health conditions.  Like many competitive industries, and most specifically our pharmaceutical industries back in 1989, they took full advantage of this disaster and profited in the market place by denouncing L-Tryptophan supplementation and created a whole slew of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals to mimic the benefits of this essential amino acid.  As you will read below, there are still risks of using L-Tryptophan if not used correctly.  But I believe the pharmaceutical cocktail mixes our doctors now prescribe to you and your children have greater risk to our health than this natural occurring supplement.  So instead of our pharmaceutical industries developing a safe use form of this supplementation during its heyday, it was more profitable to create a whole lot of man-made chemicals appearing to do the same thing at greater expense and secondary health risks to the outpatient.

         How does this amino acid work in our bodies to promote health benefits?  Our bodies need serotonin and melatonin neurotransmitters which are bio-brain chemicals that allow proper function of our physiology.  Our bodies do not manufacture these neurotransmitters without this amino acid in the diet.  That’s what “essential” means, our body can’t produce this amino acid on its own, and it has to be obtained through the diet.  This is important why?  Because without enough of this essential amino acid in our diet any one of us stand a good chance of suffering from one, a combination, or all ill-health effects in varying degree:  Such as, migraines, low energy, sleepless nights, improper weight regulation, obesity, depression, anxiety and hyperactivity.  And if you are dieting and your diet is a low protein-high carbohydrate diet, you are at greater risk of these ill-health effects.  And there is no one at greater risk than our children because many of our families subscribe to this nutrition imbalance unknowingly.  Primarily by providing, or unknowingly allowing a high sugar-fat and low protein daily diet habit (fast foods, energy drinks, sodas, baked goods, processed foods, etc.).

     Remember, natural occurring products that can be derived from diet will not make these industries wealthy because there is no money in it.  However, today, more consumers are educated about proper use and benefits of L-Tryptophan.  It is making a big comeback in the mainstream weight loss, anti-anxiety/depression and ADD marketplace.  Of course, you can imagine there is big opposition to this movement from the pharmaceutical industry because there is much money to be lost once consumers wean off the man-made “addictive pharmaceuticals.”  I’m not saying all man-made products are without need and merit.  I am saying that there is a point where prescription use should be assessed and a more natural means applied if risk of pharmaceuticals now poses a health risk, and/or the risk could be avoided through use of a natural supplemental program to alleviate the ill-health symptoms to accomplish the same results.  All too often, our physicians and psychiatrists are too quick to prescribe pharmaceuticals when the answer to the problem could be very simple:  A bad diet that may simply require an essential amino acid boost to stimulate manufacturing of the necessary neurotransmitters!

     Can supplementing the diet with L-Tryptophan help us regulate and reduce weight?   Science shows us that this supplement can greatly reduce our cravings for sweets and carbohydrates.  When dieting for example, our serotonin levels appear to decrease which creates a carbohydrate binging and cravings effect.  When our serotonin levels remain low there is a direct correlation with weight gain and obesity.  We know this binging and craving effect as the “Yo-Yo effect.” 

     There “are known side effects” of taking L-Tryptophan if proper dosages and impure quality grade are not followed and considered:  Unlike Tryptophan extracted from the foods in our diet, there appears to be no health risk.   But like anything else we put in our bodies, if you consume too much with frequency and of low nutrition value, a negative to no benefit effect can result making the body ill. 

     Here is a list of possible side effects when misusing, or using L-Tryptophan:  Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome (EMS), or serotonin syndrome.  Symptoms include severe muscle pain, fatigue, and nerve pain, hair loss, rash, dry thickened skin, or skin changes. High eosinophil levels are found in the blood when supplementation has gone wrong.  Also when recommended dosages are disregarded, excess product toxic waste in the body can impact the brain bringing on psychotic symptoms.  This may include confusion, seeing, or hearing things, fast heartbeat, fever, sweating, diarrhea, difficulty walking.  Allergic reactions may include: Rash, hives, itching, swelling of mouth/throat, wheezing, or breathing difficulty.  Science still cannot tell us if EMS is the result of impure or specific brand L-tryptophan that had contaminants.  But for best results, it’s best to ensure a quality pharmaceutical grade is considered for use.

     If L-Tryptophan is supplemented within the right dosages, the scientific data shows the brain will manufacture balanced serotonin and melatonin neurotransmitters promoting a cheerful mood, assist in weight reduction, relieve anxiety, reduce migraine, reduce hyperactivity, reduce depression and promote healthy sleep patterns.  Sounds like the same benefits you’d receive from a doctor’s prescription of man-made pharmaceutical chemicals, does it not?  And for any one individual there could be any combination of literally dozens of dangerous cocktail mixes one could be prescribed at a greater cost to the consumer as opposed to supplementation.  Because this supplement also has many potential risks like prescriptions; it would be prudent to work with your primary physician if interested in supplementing the diet with L-Tryptophan.

     This essential acid is also responsible for manufacturing the neurotransmitter Melatonin (promotes healthy sleep patterns).  Melatonin is also found in an individual supplement tablet that can be purchased over-the-counter.  I’ve used melatonin after working grave yard shifts and I have to tell you this supplement works very well to induce sleep.  But if you’re getting enough dietary tryptophan sleepless nights become less frequent and melatonin supplementation becomes unnecessary.  Think of how you feel after consuming a big turkey meal, very satisfied and sleepy.  This is because turkey has of high concentration per serving of this amino acid in the meat.  Of course, we are all different in our ability to process Tryptophan and manufacture serotonin and melatonin, so these positive statements regarding healthy benefits will vary with each individual.  Also if you’d been advised to reduce the cholesterol in your diet, this will likely mean less animal product consumption, which may likely equate to a reduction of this essential amino acid.  I have not supplemented my diet with L-Tryptophan, but now I’m taking a closer look at it as I age and need to modify diet to better control my cholesterol count. 

 Recommendations:

     If you are a parent that is concerned about your child’s ADD, obesity, anxiety, depression signs and symptoms, consider a high quality L-Trpytophan natural supplementation program monitored by your primary physician for an alternative solution outside of pharmaceutical prescriptions.  Or visit our home site and see our health store for other quality pharmaceutical grade affiliate products.  Also consider seeing your doctor and inquire about supplementing your diet and implementing a parallel prescription plan.  This means, you, or your child don’t stop your prescribed medications, but instead, include L-Tryptophan to supplement the diet, diet modification and slowly work your way off the pharmaceuticals while being monitored by your physician.  If your physician does not want to do this, I’d highly recommend getting a second opinion.

     Many times it appears big pharmaceutical industries skew the natural solutions results because of investor result expectations to achieve profits.  Also, ensure you do your own DD (Due Diligence).  I will provide a couple of links on this topic below for you to get started in further research.  Understand there are literally thousands of Internet links and library resources on this topic.  There is much to be interpreted and derived from the data I found outside of the two links listed below.  I see the positive light behind this form of supplementation.  The pharmaceutical and psychiatric community does not share mine or others enthusiasm over the benefits outweighing the risks in comparison to pharmaceuticals.  Research the Internet and read up on diet Tryptophan versus supplement “L-Tryptophan” and how it may be your silver bullet to weaning off of pharmaceuticals and promoting a good health solution for you and your family.  Good health to you and your family!

 Research Links:  http://www.weight-loss-center.net/L-tryptophan.html; http://mental-health.emedtv.com/l-tryptophan/l-tryptophan-side-effects.html

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.