...treating anxiety with natural remedies to boost neurotransmitters and GABA...
What Is Anxiety DisorderAnxiety can take many forms it can be what's called situational anxiety with the anxiety only occurs in a specific situational context, or it can be free-floating, general anxiety not attached to anything in particular.
Situational AnxietyA useful way to categorise anxiety is to use the term situational anxiety. This is when the anxiety symptoms only arise in in relation to a specific situation or object for example fear of crowds, fear of choking etc. These specific anxious thoughts may have their origins in real past events or they may be mainly manufactured by the mind.
Common forms include:-
- Test or Performance Anxiety. this is not just the normal adrenaline and butterflies in the stomach before a test or performance that may even sharpen your mind and help your performance. Performance anxiety is when the levels of nervousness, uneasiness, fear and apprehension becomes so excessive that they interfere with your performance, or may make you avoid such situations completely. Either way performance anxiety holds people back in life preventing them from realising their true potential.
- Stranger & Social Anxiety. this can be very specific such as its only meeting strangers, or its only when there is more than say three people in the group that provokes anxiety; alternatively it may occur in almost all social interactions. Like test and performance anxiety social and stranger anxiety can impose significant limitations on a person's life making going to work, socialising and relationships difficult or impossible to achieve.
- Then there are phobias such as fear of spiders, fear of public speaking,claustrophobia etc.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD. This is an anxiety disorder in which the mind is hijacked by and unwanted thoughts that drive a person to perform repetitive sometimes ritualised behaviours see the OCD section for more information.
I've known people who would take beta blockers to control situational anxiety, before meeting new people or speaking in public for example. The alternative natural remedy would be theanine. Although medicines and remedies may be helpful for situational anxiety in the short term by far the best approach to permanently overcome this condition is the right sort of psychotherapy.
The right psychotherapy techniques can really help a person with situational anxiety to cope with, control and permanently eradicated the problem. Situational anxiety is very amenable to change from good psychotherapy because it has such a specific cause that can be identified disgust and worked with. In extreme cases where even just talkingabout the scary situation is so overwhelming that it puts you off engaging in therapy you could use the natural therapy prescriptions in this chapter to increase GABA levels, calm the anxiety down and enable you to undergo psychotherapy. The other thing to do is choose a psychotherapy approach that has within its repertoire of techniques what we call the dissociated technique. In brief, in the associated technique used in psychotherapy one has to connect to the painful feeling, fully experience and relive it and then from that place engage in psychotherapy exercises that help you overcome the difficulty links. When it comes to anxiety and phobias however the problem with this technique is that when the person associates and fully experiences their anxiety their mind becomes effectively hijacked, overwhelmed and unable to integrate any useful psychotherapy adjustments. To get around this problem modern psychotherapy has developed we call the dissociated technique whereby you “see” the scary scenario outside yourself, in the distance perhaps at a great distance. With this method it is possible to become so significantly separated, distant and remote from the scary stuff that you do not become panicked, overwhelmed and unable to continue the effective therapy.
There are many mental techniques within the dissociated method that we can use to enable the mind to remodel and neutralise specific disturbing thoughts. We can change the way the mind perceives the thing that makes it anxious sufficiently that to eradicates the problem. This is not a textbook on psychotherapy techniques so what I've just said is an oversimplification of an advanced, sophisticated and effective technique. Very smart people evolved and developed these methods over the past few decades to make the methods feel easy and doable by anyone, and to make the methods capable of handling all manner of phobias and situational anxieties. Look for cognitive hypnotherapists and NLP practitioners such as myself trained in what is called the fast phobia cure.
Free-Floating or General Anxiety Disorder
In this condition the person experiences the state of anxiety without it being attached to any specific situation.
As with situational anxiety psychotherapy can be of tremendous help for somebody with free-floating anxiety however this form of anxiety can be a tremendous if not impossible challenge for many forms of psychotherapy to work with.
Firstly there is the same problem that when the condition is extreme and un-medicated just talking about the feelings -even within a safe therapy consultation- may provoke such intense distress in the patient that they become overwhelmed and unable to engage in any productive therapy. So whatever therapy you do it has to have within its repertoire some form of dissociated technique.
Secondly as there is no specific situation, reason or source of the anxious feelings to talk about and target the therapy method has to be able to make lasting psychological adjustments without this useful content.
This is absolutely achievable with cognitive hypnotherapy and NLP working with what is called the sub-modality structure of the condition. Using this method it is possible to make psychological adjustments to even the most abstract feelings.
Even though these sophisticated methods make it easier for someone with free-floating anxiety to undergo psychotherapy when I treat this condition my first goal is to raise natural GABA activity in the brain with natural remedies before employing psychological techniques. This controls or at least significantly reduces the feelings of anxiety which not only makes psychotherapy easier to do but I believe it actually improves its effectiveness. Performing psychological adjustments after GABA levels have been increased helps the mind to reframe the thoughts and feelings as even less significant and problematic than performing the psychological adjustments without the benefit of increased GABA.
This two-pronged approach can be so much more effective than only working on either the mind or the brain chemistry alone.
An example of this was in the past research (some performed by the American military) has shown that combining psychotherapy for PTSD whilst simultaneously taking the drug ecstasy (MDMA) produced superior therapeutic results than the psychotherapy alone or the psychotherapy plus placebo(1) (2). In one study the drug/therapy combination produced significant improvements in 83% of cases compared with only 25% in the placebo/therapy group. It is believed that working psychologically with traumatic, scary and painful memories whilst at the same time feeling safe, calm and free of anxiety because of the pharmacological effects of the ecstasy helps the mind to reframe the traumatic memories as no longer dramatic. Unfortunately because of the legal classification of the drug ecstasy this useful therapeutic approach is now illegal in most parts of the world. I use theanine as a calming agent to facilitate a similar therapeutic advantage.
(1)Emerging Treatments. Clinical Psychology Review (vol 29, 8, Dec2008)
(2)The safety and efficiency of 3, 4-methylenedioxyymethamphetamine-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder: the first randomised controlled pilot study. Mythoefer et. al. Journal of psychology 2010.
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