Treating Anxiety – It’s Not Just Pills

“If you rely solely on medication to manage depression or anxiety… you have done nothing to train the mind. When you come off the medication, [it’s] as though you had never taken the medication.” ~ Daniel Goleman

Anxiety is a growing problem.

Not only am I seeing more anxious people in my practice, but it’s also true in the culture. Many people are reporting feeling anxious. In fact, over 19 million Americans suffer this way.

Of course feeling anxious or worried happens to everyone sometimes. New situations, work stress, relationships all have this potential. But when it intrudes into your life all the time, it’s a problem. It can block your effectiveness and destroy your quality of life.

Symptoms can include a combination of some or most of these:

  • Restlessness
  • Being keyed up or edgy
  • A constant lump in your throat
  • Hard to focus
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Impatience
  • Easily distracted
  • Muscle tension
  • Hard to fall or stay asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomachache or diarrhea
  • Headache

You constantly feel like survival is threatened – either yours or someone you love.

If you go to a doctor or psychiatrist, they are likely to give you pills. And if you are anxious, you are likely to say yes to these.

In truth, the pills often work. But they only mask symptoms. They never get to the root of the problem and fix it. And they are often very hard to stop taking. You become dependent on them.

Worse, when taken over time, these pills can degrade your ability to think and recall things. And over time they can stop working. It’s a big price to pay for short term relief.

But what are the other options?

Thankfully, there are many. Let’s start with the simplest.

  • Exercise.
  • Avoid all caffeine. That means coffee, tea, chocolate, etc. Any stimulants.
  • Avoid sugar and refined carbs.

In addition, you might take helpful nutrients. Here is a good list:

  • Magnesium – most people are deficient in this.
  • B6 – can take up to 3 weeks to help fully, but many people benefit.
  • Inositol – can help reduce stress hormone levels. In one study, it worked better than an SSRI for anxiety.
  • Tyrosine – helps balance brain chemistry.
  • Phosphorylated Serine (PS) – reduces stress hormone levels.

There are also herbs that can help, but these are best given on an individual basis by a trained practitioner.

Of course it can also be helpful to see a counselor or talk with a friend.

Finally, it is possible to test for underlying stressors. These include adrenal stress, food sensitivities, thyroid problems, pathogens and toxins. You will need to see a functional medicine doctor for these tests. I offer these to patients.

Anxiety is tough. But there is hope to avoid drugs and heal it naturally.

All the best to you for your health and happiness,

Dr. Bruce Eichelberger

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