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Solutions for Anxiety

If you have ever felt overwhelmed by worry to the point of physical distress or illness you are not alone. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH 2008) reports that 18% or about one in five Americans experience anxiety disorder in a given year.

Anxiety disorders are a reaction to stress and involve states of fear and worry that are overly excessive for the circumstance at hand. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association uses the impact on a patient’s social, occupational and mental functioning to distinguish normal anxiety from anxiety disorder. Anxiety becomes a problem only when its intensity, frequency or duration of symptoms begins to interfere with one’s daily life.

You can also see our full length article on Anxiety.

Lifestyle Considerations

Diet

  • Maintain a nutritious balanced diet – fruits and vegetables help alkalize the body and calm the nervous system
  • Eliminate processed or fatty foods and refined sugars
  • Limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Drink plenty of water – dehydration can lead to fatigue and stress

Exercise

  • Studies show regular daily exercise can reduce feelings of anxiety

Sleep

  • 7-8 hours of good quality sleep are essential for reducing stress and anxiety

Stress Management

  • Manage anxiety symptoms through techniques of breathing, relaxation, meditation, tension release exercises and making time for nature connection and favorite activities
  • Learn more effective coping skills that help identify and shift detrimental thought patterns and perceptions that contribute to anxiety
  • Establish a support system of friends to talk to or a self-help group to help cope with stressors

Zanjabee Management Approach

At Zanjabee, we provide a full range of integrated services enabling us to assess and provide the most effective course of treatment for you and your condition including:

  • 90 minute consult with our board certified physicians, which includes a comprehensive medical history and physical examination to identify any underlying physical cause, mental illness or substance use contributing to anxiety
  • Appropriate Laboratory / Imaging tests e.g. tests of thyroid and/or adrenal function
  • Patient journal review – to assess life stressors and daily routine. This is the basis for personalized lifestyle support recommendations.
  • Practitioner team meets to develop a personalized, integrated treatment plan for each patient
  • Recommendations and guidance to appropriate complementary treatment including physician team follow up

Specific Treatment for Anxiety

Western Medicine

Western Medicine understands anxiety as a deficiency of serotonin related neurotransmitters in the brain. It often co-exists with and is related to yet distinct from depression. Anxiety can be evoked in response to circumstance or be endogenous. It can also be due to underlying medical disease such as thyroid problems or heart arrhythmias.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture understands anxiety as an imbalance between yin and yang. In Chinese medicine, heart hsin (pronounced shen) is the sources of all emotions. Liver regulates Qi – the underlying energy responsible for life. Anxiety is overtly a disorder of Yang excess but is indirectly due to a deficiency of heart Yin. Re-balancing Heart and Liver channels are the mainstay of treatment but individual symptoms of the patient dictate modifications. E.g. overeating in anxiety requires targeting spleen, which controls digestion.

  • Practioners use Acu -needles or acupressure to rebalance blocked energy channels to reset imbalances in nervous and endocrine systems
  • Activate parasympathetic response and release of endorphins to provide deep relaxation and decrease impulses related to anxiety
  • Address energy imbalances of underlying cause as well as symptoms

Ayurveda

Ayurveda understands anxiety as Vata excess. Since Vata is dry, cold and wind like, so pressure, oils and warmth – all the elements in massage – are great for anxiety. Patients with Vata dominant disposition are most prone to anxiety. Pitta dominant patients can also have anxiety and they are ones most likely to have palpitation and sweats. Kapha dominant people rarely have anxiety.

Ayurveda individualizes recommendations for anxiety based on symptoms and body type. Zanjabee recommends massage with cool oils like coconut for patient with pitta disposition but warm oils like mustard for patient with Vata dominant constitution.

A customized dietary plan based on symptoms and constitution type as well as and herbal remedies like Brahimi and unique Ayurveda remedies like Nassau are also part of the plan.

Massage

Massage is great for anxiety. It initiates the relaxation response, reduces heart rate and blood pressure and softens tense muscles. Long, smooth stroke condition the body to relax such that most patients relax as soon as they get on the tale after a few treatments. Head and Foot Massage are particularly effective for anxiety.

Mind – Body Techniques

Pranayama – Breath-Work

Pranayama is one of the five principles of Yoga or the science of breath control. Our breath is the only function in our body, which is both under voluntary and involuntary control. This unique property means that we can use conscious control of our breath to reset the unconscious sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, which largely control anxiety. Breath exercises can not only help manage acute episodes of anxiety but regular practice increases our reserve for combating anxiety thus protecting against future attacks of anxiety and ensuring calm management of life circumstances.

Qigong (chee gong – Energy work)

  • Gentle stretching exercises to increase circulation and energy flow
  • Healing sounds exercise to release and re-balance emotional energy providing anxiety relief
  • Focused visualizations to assist healing and energy flow

Zanjabee Approach to Anxiety

Zanjabee develops treatment plans for individual patients since each patient is unique in personality, type of symptoms and severity of condition. The following is NOT medical advice. It is a synopsis of our integrative approach to treating our patients with anxiety. Please consult your doctor before embarking on any new regimen.

After a comprehensive evaluation with our highly trained physicians and ruling out medical conditions as a cause of anxiety, Zanjabee may ask you to see our Ayurveda expert for recommending lifestyle measures and specific medicated oils for massage. Massage is usually combined with Acupuncture for weekly treatment sessions that last 4-6 weeks. Our physicians may start you on SSRIs or other western medications if your symptoms warrant their use. We try to use the smallest dose possible and will discuss side effects and a plan for future tapering that the time of starting the SSRI. Most patients only need medications for a short period of time. We will also teach you and encourage life-long adoption of mindfulness based mind-body practices such as Pranayama and Qigong to help you develop long-term strategies against anxiety.

We can help with a solution to your anxiety. Call us for more information or to schedule an appointment with Zanjabee. Integrative Medicine & Primary Care at 781 933 7000