Anxiety and Naturopathic Medicine

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Dr. Stephanie Peltz, ND

What ailment could a toddler, a high schooler, a new parent, a baby boomer, and Spot the dog, experience alike?  Anxiety is one of the most pervasive complaints in our society.  As naturopathic doctors, we offer natural long lasting treatment options, while digging deeply for the root cause of these feelings.

Anxiety Defined

The oxford dictionary defines anxiety as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.  It is a natural response, but when it begins to interfere with daily activities like eating, sleeping, or working, it is calling our attention.

Types of Anxiety

Anxiety comes in many different shapes and sizes.  It can look like obsessive-compulsive behaviors, phobias, posttraumatic stress, panic, avoidance of specific activities and / gatherings, insomnia, and more.  It is estimated that at least one in ten Canadians suffer from anxiety. The first step is to acknowledge it.

Causes

At Sage clinic, when patients present with anxiety, a number of physical issues are assessed.  Top investigations include:

  • thyroid function
  • blood sugar regulation
  • food sensitivities
  • nutrient deficiencies (including iron)
  • drug reactions (including caffeine)
  • cardiac function
  • respiratory health (i.e. asthma)

A comprehensive work up also includes testing stress hormone levels (i.e. cortisol), and urinary neurotransmitters (i.e. serotonin, GABA, and norepinephrine).  In addition, a family history is taken and an inquiry into a patient’s lifestyle.

Anxiety Treatments

Commonly, a patients’ anxiety boils down to an intricate web of physical imbalances, lifestyle habits, and genetic coding.  A unique treatment approach is tailored to each case.

Diet is always addressed including meal frequency, and consumption of stimulants.  Optimizing a patients’ sleep, establishing a work-life balance, and incorporating regular movement are paramount to any anxiety busting protocol.  Cardio exercise is crucial, as well as deep relaxation from yoga, breathwork, and meditation.

There are several herbal remedies that work to balance anxiety symptoms.  Nervines like passionflower and chamomile and adaptogens like withania and rhodiola are excellent choices.  Supplements like L-theanine (from green tea) and 5-HTP help balance neurotransmitters.

Finally bodywork is extremely effective to calm and relax an overactive nervous system.  Acupuncture and craniosacral therapy are invaluable tools in addressing anxiety and patients can experience the benefit immediately.

Consult your naturopathic doctor today to discuss how anxiety impacts your life, and lets get you started on a plan to get you coping better and feeling great!

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