PANIC and ANXIETY Part 2: All In Your Head?

Breakthrough in NeuroScience Offers You Real Hope!

The United States is now the most anxious nation in the world, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Anxiety Disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (nearly one in every five). American women suffer from anxiety and stress almost twice as much as men, and anxiety is the most common mental health issue facing senior citizens in this country. What’s more, this epidemic is not limited to adults. One psychologist recently noted, “The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s.”

But wait! There is a better way. We’re not thinking here about techniques, or methods, or therapies, although many of them are helpful.  We’re thinking about a strikingly-simple solution to what can at times seem to be a complex, insurmountable and overwhelming problem.  In a nutshell, we’re going to tell you about a real breakthrough: a non-drug, alternative approach to Panic and Anxiety which can offer you some real hope.  So, take heart.  And, read on

To give you an idea of the incredible scale of the number of meds which are prescribed here in the USA for Anxiety and related conditions, in 2011 alone there were 47,792,000 prescriptions dispensed for Xanax (alprazolam); 37,728,000 prescriptions dispensed for Celexa (citalopram); 37,208,000 prescriptions for Zoloft (sertraline); 27,172,000 for Ativan (lorazepam); 24,507,000 scripts filled for Prozac (fluoxetine HCL); 23,707,000 for Lexapro (escitalopram); 22,591,000 for Desvrel (trazodone HCL); 17,770,000 for Cymbalta (duloxetine); 14,694,000 for Valium (diazepam); 13,990,000 for Paxil (paroxetine HCL); 12,469,000 for Effexor XR (venlafaxine HCL ER); and the list goes on, and on, and on, and on.

ALL IN YOUR HEAD? Part 2: PANIC and ANXIETY

Breakthrough in NeuroScience Offers You Real Hope!

No matter the drug of choice, each in one way or another “messes with your head” in the sense that each has a decided, often very powerful effect —either directly or indirectly—on one or more of the various types of neurotransmitters in your brain [As you continue reading, you’ll find out how important neurotransmitters are to your overall health and your sense of well-being. Suffice it to say here that an imbalance of neurotransmitters is involved in all Anxiety Disorders, however it may be that this imbalance was caused].

Given the above, and unless things change, there’s no reason to assume we’ll see a decline in the number of Americans taking these medications. It appears these powerful and potentially dangerous meds are here to stay. This is not only disturbing; it’s enough to make us feel anxious and uptight.

The United States is now the most anxious nation in the world, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Anxiety Disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (nearly one in every five). American women suffer from anxiety and stress almost twice as much as men, and anxiety is the most common mental health issue facing senior citizens in this country. What’s more, this epidemic is not limited to adults. One psychologist recently noted, “The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s.”

Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $45 billion a year, with more than $22 billion of these costs being associated with the repeated use of health care services. People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders. Stress-related ailments cost the nation $300 billion every year in medical bills and lost productivity, while our usage of sedative drugs keeps skyrocketing (see below).

Speaking of drugs, four major classes of medications are used in the treatment of Anxiety Disorders:

Benzodiazepines
This class of drugs is frequently used for short-term management of anxiety. Benzodiazepines (alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, and lorazepam) are highly effective in promoting relaxation and reducing muscular tension and other physical symptoms of anxiety. Long-term use may require increased doses to achieve the same effect, which may lead to problems related to tolerance and dependence.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRIs relieve symptoms by blocking the reabsorption, or reuptake, of serotonin by certain nerve cells in the brain. This leaves more serotonin available, which improves mood. SSRIs (citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, and sertraline) generally produced fewer side effects when compared with tricyclic antidepressants.  However, common side effects include insomnia or sleepiness, sexual dysfunction, and weight gain. They are considered an effective treatment for all anxiety disorders, although the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, typically requires higher doses.

Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
The serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, or SNRI, class (venlafaxine and duloxetine) is notable for a dual mechanism of action: increasing the levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine by inhibiting their reabsorption into cells in the brain. As with other medications, side effects may occur, including stomach upset, insomnia, headache, sexual dysfunction, and minor increase in blood pressure. These medications are considered as effective as SSRIs, so they are also considered a first-line treatment, particularly for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder.

Tricyclic Antidepressants
Concerns about long-term use of the benzodiazepines led many doctors to favor tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline, imipramine, and nortriptyline). Although effective in the treatment of anxiety, they can cause significant side effects, including orthostatic hypotension (drop in blood pressure on standing), constipation, urinary retention, dry mouth, and blurry vision.

To give you an idea of the incredible scale of the number of meds which are prescribed here in the USA for Anxiety and related conditions, in 2011 alone there were 47,792,000 prescriptions dispensed for Xanax (alprazolam); 37,728,000 prescriptions dispensed for Celexa (citalopram); 37,208,000 prescriptions for Zoloft (sertraline); 27,172,000 for Ativan (lorazepam); 24,507,000 scripts filled for Prozac (fluoxetine HCL); 23,707,000 for Lexapro (escitalopram); 22,591,000 for Desvrel (trazodone HCL); 17,770,000 for Cymbalta (duloxetine); 14,694,000 for Valium (diazepam); 13,990,000 for Paxil (paroxetine HCL); 12,469,000 for Effexor XR (venlafaxine HCL ER); and the list goes on, and on, and on, and on.

[Note: Xanax, Ativan and Valium are prescribed for Anxiety/Panic; Celexa, Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, Desvrel, Cymbalta, Paxil and Effexor are prescribed for Anxiety/Panic and Depression]

No matter the drug of choice, each in one way or another “messes with your head” in the sense that each has a decided, often very powerful effect —either directly or indirectly—on one or more of the various types of neurotransmitters in your brain [In a few pages, you’ll find out how important neurotransmitters are to your overall health and your sense of well-being. Suffice it to say here that an imbalance of neurotransmitters is involved in all Anxiety Disorders, however it may be that this imbalance was caused].

What’s more, these psycho-active drugs can have powerful, unwanted and harmful side effects. So much so that the FDA has issued more than one Public Health Advisory warning about the possible connection between these types of medications and possible worsening depression, increased likelihood of committing suicide, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia [severe restlessness], hypomania, and mania.

WARNING!

Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, sometimes including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems. In short, it is not only dangerous to start taking psychiatric drugs it can also be dangerous to stop them. Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision. If you are presently taking any of the drugs listed above, we cannot urge you strongly enough to make sure you work with a knowledgeable, competent health practitioner before taking any steps to change your dosing.

Given the above, and unless things change, there’s no reason to assume we’ll see a decline in the number of Americans taking these medications. It appears these powerful and potentially dangerous meds are here to stay. This is not only disturbing, it’s enough to make us feel anxious and uptight.

But wait! There is a better way. We’re not thinking here about techniques, or methods, or therapies, although many of them are helpful.  We’re thinking about a strikingly-simple solution to what can at times seem to be a complex, insurmountable and overwhelming problem.  In a nutshell, we’re going to tell you about a real breakthrough: a non-drug, alternative approach to Panic and Anxiety which can offer you some real hope.  So, take heart. And, read on. This might very well be just the thing you’ve been looking for…

Panic vs. Anxiety

Before we get into possible solutions, though, let’s take a brief look at the problem. What are Panic and Anxiety, anyway? And, what’s the difference? Well, if you want to be technical about it, the official, general classification over-arching both of these terms is “Anxiety Disorders”, according to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (or, “DSM”, for short). The DSM is the APA’s Standard for listing psychiatric and psychological disorders.

Now, one of the things we’ve assumed when writing this is that you really don’t want to spend a lot of time “deep in the weeds” of the DSM, getting bogged down in the minutiae of psychiatric jargon. We’re assuming, instead, that you simply want to “cut to the chase” and get down to the basics of what you need to know in order to find a solution for feelings of Anxiety and Panic (however, if you really want to dive into the DSM, you can get a copy here). Before we do, though, we should at least give you some idea of what is required for an official diagnosis.

Under the category of “Anxiety Disorders”, the DSM lists: Panic Attack, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, just to name a few. Let’s take a brief look at the way the DSM describes some of these disorders and how it distinguishes between them…

Panic Attack

The essential feature of a Panic Attack is a discrete period of intense fear or discomfort in the absence of real danger and which is accompanied by at least four of the following symptoms:

  • palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • sweating
  • trembling or shaking
  • sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • feeling of choking
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • nausea or abdominal distress
  • feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • fear of losing control or going crazy
  • fear of dying
  • paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • chills or hot flushes

A Panic Attack has a sudden onset and builds to a peak rapidly (usually within 10 minutes or less) and is often accompanied by a sense of imminent danger or impending doom and an urge to escape. Panic Attacks occur unexpectedly, sometimes even during sleep.

Panic Disorder

The essential feature of Panic Disorder is the presence of recurrent, unexpected Panic Attacks and, as a result, a persistent fear and concern with the possibility of another, perhaps imminent, attack. Often, there is also worry about the implications of the attack or its consequences (e.g., losing control, having a heart attack, “going crazy”). The frequency and severity of the Panic Attacks vary widely. Women are twice as likely as men to have Panic Disorder. Individuals who suffer with Panic Disorder also often struggle with Major Depression (see the post, All In Your Head: Volume 1, which deals with Depression). This commonly-occurring, co-morbidity of Panic Disorder with Depression strongly suggests an underlying imbalance in various neurotransmitters. Which is good news, since the relatively simple process of restoring neurotransmitter balance frequently results in a cessation of symptoms, often in just a matter of days (again, we’ll deal with the important subject of neurotransmitters and neurotransmitter balance, below).

 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

The essential feature of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is excessive anxiety and worry, occurring over an extended period of time.

People with the disorder experience exaggerated worry and tension over everyday things, often expecting the worst, even when there is no apparent reason for concern. They anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety.

Those with GAD don’t know how to stop the worry cycle and feel it is beyond their control, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. This worrying goes on every day, possibly all day. It disrupts social activities and interferes with work, school, or family.

Physical symptoms of GAD include the following:

  •  muscle tension
  •  fatigue
  •  restlessness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • irritability
  • edginess
  • gastrointestinal discomfort or diarrhea

[Note: Another disorder which comes under the umbrella of “Anxiety Disorders” is the now-too-common condition called “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”. Although we intend to treat PTSD in a subsequent volume of the “All In Your Head?” series, suffice it to say here that to the extent there is an imbalance of neurotransmitters involved (and this is always the case), what we tell you in the next few pages has direct application to PTSD, as well.]

All in Your Head?

OK, let’s start working our way towards solutions. We mentioned above that, in one way or another, Panic and Anxiety involve an imbalance in neurotransmitters. In fact, Anxiety Disorders, however they began, are often nothing more than neurotransmitter-driven conditions. As we said earlier, this is good news! Because to the extent your anxious feelings are the result of a neurotransmitter imbalance, there is reason to hope, reason to expect that, within a matter of days, and without having to use potentially dangerous drugs, you can start feeling yourself actually coming out of this unstable, unsettled state.

Take a look at the following list of symptoms. See how many of these describe you. This is a quick way to estimate whether or not your problem is fundamentally a matter of neurotransmitter imbalance. If you have two, three or more of these symptoms in addition to your Panic or Anxiety then, strange as it may sound, this is good news!  To the extent that your feelings are the result of a neurotransmitter imbalance, there is reason to hope, reason to expect that, within just a matter of days, and without having to use potentially dangerous drugs, you can start feeling like there just may be a light at the end of your tunnel.

Which of These Describes YOU?

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Depression/Feeling Depressed
  • Gradual Memory Loss
  • Frequent Irritability
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Dementia
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Chronic Headaches
  • Chronic Pain
  • Brain Fog
  • Night-time Muscle Twitching, Spasms
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Decreased Ability to Think of the Right Words while Speaking or Writing
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Menopause/Menopausal Symptoms
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Decreased Ability to Learn New Information
  • Impulsiveness
  • Low Motivation
  • Tension Headaches
  • Difficulty with Reasoning, Problem-Solving
  • Carbohydrate Cravings
  • Obesity
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Adrenal Fatigue/Burnout
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Increasing Difficulty with Reading Comprehension
  • Addictions
  • Alcoholism
  • Inappropriate Aggression
  • Inappropriate Anger
  • Epilepsy
  • Autism
  • Psychotic Illness
  • Fear
  • Paranoia
  • Claustrophobia and/or other Phobias
  • Schizophrenia
  • Recurring Nightmares, Night Terrors
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • Suicidal Thoughts/Behavior
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Hyperactivity
  • Bulimia
  • Anorexia
  • Compulsiveness
  • Obsessiveness
  • Deterioration of Organ System Innervation
  • Hormone Dysfunction Problems
  • Adrenal Dysfunction Problems
  • Cortisol Dysfunction Problems

Once again, if you find yourself described by two, three or more of the above, then you need to read the Bio/Tech News Special Report, “All In Your Head?”.  What we give you there in the space of eight pages has the potential to turn your life completely around.  Please click here NOW to read this important information!

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