This is part 3 of a 3 part series on health concerns that are “All in your head” However, there will be a bonus Part 4 covering Depression due to the importance and complexity of this common health concern.
Constant worry, nervousness for no apparent reason, difficulty tolerating new situations or people, inability to focus on simple tasks, insomnia, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, uncontrollable sweating, headaches and fatigue…
These are just some of the symptoms that people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) suffer with and unfortunately, the number of people suffering from GAD is increasing, the majority seen in teens and young adults.
There is no agreement on what causes GAD, but some of the accepted theories are: a history of trauma, family history, substance abuse, history of concussion, nutrient/neurotransmitter deficiencies, inflammation and disregulated digestive health.
There is also no consensus as to what the most effective treatments are. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness training have shown some promise and medications such as SSRI’s are also commonly prescribed. However, many of these treatments are only moderately effective.
The missing link in mental health treatments is often getting to the root cause of WHY the anxiety is there. Rarely is any lab work done in order to determine if anxiety is simply a symptom of another health concern. Hormonal imbalances, low B12 and iron levels, low thyroid function and chronic digestive concerns all contribute to the feeling of overwhelming anxiety.
The gut is called the second brain, and for good reason. Over 2/3 of the neurotransmitters (i.e. serotonin, the feel-good chemical) are produced in the digestive system. Therefore many mental health concerns are not a ‘head’ issue, but a ‘digestive’ issue. Most of my patients with anxiety also have digestive concerns as well.
Looking at anxiety in this way gives a lot of options for treatment.
- Investigating possible nutrient deficiencies or diagnosing low thyroid and treating those issues
- Improving gut health by reducing inflammation and using a high quality probiotic
- Stabilizing blood sugar levels with a low carbohydrate/low sugar diet
- Incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily schedule
- Monthly acupuncture treatments are also incredibly effective to reduce GAD
I hope that this article has been helpful for those of you suffering from anxiety
For more information contact me at www.harmonyhealthsk.ca or 306-224-0012.