The importance of these must be made clear
The primary medicines used
Anxiolytics (anxiety medicines)
Supplements and herbs
Stopping the use of "sensitizers" and "activators"
Generating chemicals that lower depression and anxiety
Appendix: More on beta-blockers
THE IMPORTANCE OF THESE MUST BE MADE CLEAR
From The Hyperventilation Cure: The management of the body's chemicals can reduce and/or virtually eliminate the physiological reaction, from changing what one eats all the way over to using medicines that stop the physical symptoms from occurring. See Managing The Chemicals In Your Body. If we properly stop, or greatly reduce, the physiological reactions, this can break the whole chain, eliminating the parts of the rest of the chain.
STOPPING THE SYMPTOMS, FOR RELIEF TO FACILITATE HEALING
Anxiety is defined as an unpleasant emotional state for which the (fear) cause is either not readily identified or perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable.
The terrifying effects of panic disorders create a form of "post traumatic stress disorder", not in the usual sense of the phrase but in the effect after a panic attack of increased fear and wariness, resulting in even more acute reaction to any triggering thoughts of believed danger to one's self worth, such as being judged.
Such panic attacks are also heightened (or susceptibility is increased) by the use of stimulants and/or heightened body sensitivity (i.e. the amygdala is trained and reinforced to react as if the triggering event is extremely dangerous plus being more susceptible to react to even fringe possibilities of perceived danger).
Depression itself is also depressing and discouraging, so it acts in a downward spiral, just as severe anxiety does.
Read the discussion below to get perspective, along with the various links you find interesting.
THE PRIMARY MEDICINES USED
"The traditional treatments for anxiety are:
Anxiolytics (anxiety medicines)
Beta blockers (for performance anxiety and anxiety in general, avoiding the physiological hypertension often associated with higher anxiety levels)
Anti-depressants (often used to give enough relief so that the person can function at a higher level. These have produced "miracles" for some people, but for others they have provided more of a reprieve so that the anxious person can learn new ways of thinking more rightly."
ANXIOLYTICS (ANXIETY MEDICINES)
Anxiolytics, such as benzodiazepines, combat the body symptoms of anxiety, but with a risk of withdrawal symptoms and a "rebound" effect where anxiety rises after stopping their use. Benzodiazepines augment the action of GABA, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain.
"Anxiety disorders are often debilitating chronic conditions, which can be present from an early age or begin suddenly after a triggering event. They are prone to flare up at times of high stress and are frequently accompanied by physiological symptoms such as headache, sweating, muscle spasms, palpitations, and hypertension, which in some cases lead to fatigue or even exhaustion."
Kava shows anxiolytic effects, as well as "pot" (marijuana and the like). But long term use of kava might possibly adversely affect the liver.
"Psychotherapy (e.g. cognitive behavior therapy, CBT) is often useful as an adjunct to medication or as an alternative to medication." "Meditation is also known for its tendency to reduce anxiety." Wikipedia on anxiolytics.
As covered in Wikipedia, beta blockers are used for blood pressure regulation, cardioprotection and hypertension. Other discussion factors are included in the appendix, below.
They basically block the physical symptoms from "social anxiety experienced in performance situations", effectively stopping the physical effects of the fight/flight response. While this has been used for musicians and actors to reduce performance anxiety, the effect is experienced for others who have "performance anxiety" in other situations, such as social anxiety (which results often from beliefs that trigger danger signals that cause hyperanxiety). They are not sedatives and do not have a sedative effect. However, they do not block psychological anxiety, but the physiological relief can turn the trick for some.
We all use the manifestations of anxiety as cues to judge how anxious we are. By relieving the physical symptoms, we thereby eliminate the anxiety about becoming anxious!
These are discussed extensively elsewhere, so those discussions will suffice.
My main support of anti-depressants is around the idea that they will buy us some time where the mind is functioning better so that we can learn what it takes to right the dysfunctional thinking, which is a main target of this site!!!
SUPPLEMENTS AND HERBS
See the discussion in Nutrition And Moods. Worthy of special note are kava, which you might want to use in your diet after reading more about it, and "cal-mag".
Cal-mag (calcium magnesium) is used extensively by a self-development organization in its protocols for developing strength and even raising IQ.
STOPPING THE USE OF "SENSITIZERS" AND "ACTIVATORS" OF ANXIETY
It is certain that caffeine both enhances the adrenaline/cortisol bad effects AND increases one's sensitivity to stress (i.e. changes the perception, essentially creating one's being stressed about being stressed!).
Anxious people should definitely stop drinking coffee. They also absolutely must stop smoking, as constant dopamine stimulation reduces the ability of an individual to experience pleasure and positive feelings, thus contributing to depression.
The acute effects of taking in too much glycemics (sugar, refined flour, etc.) are that the body becomes alternately whipsawed between blood sugar levels that are too high and then too low, something which the body has to fight hard against. The ability to respond appropriately is also reduced, which compounds the problem. Any anxious person (which includes most of the population) must eat only low-glycemic and energy sustaining foods!
The effects of allowing tension in itself are significant in that they cause the body to "steel" itself against illusory danger, such that the body actually becomes knotted up in tension that never lets go - not good!!!! This not only exhausts the person, which has a chemical effect, but it also makes the person less able to cope and less able to generate good chemicals that are naturally generated when a body is relaxed. Relaxation techniques, including the underrated hot bath, are extremely useful, though the base cause (constant illusory fear) must be dealt with to cure the syndrome.
Note that it is very significant that we reduce the "cues" that we normally pick up as indicators of stress, as we become stressed about having stress, in an ever upward spiraling activation of the fight/flight response.
Such things as "thought stopping" interfere with this chain. Any opposite thought to a stress thought also interferes with the magnification of stress. Acceptance that we need not interpret the discomforts of stress as "emotional pain" is also significant, but most people are so convinced that their pain is significant in meaning that they will not let go of creating the emotional downsides of "being stressed by cues of stress."
GENERATING CHEMICALS THAT LOWER DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
While we can stop the effects of some anxieties, it also makes sense to generate chemicals which lower anxiety and/or offet the tendency to be "upset".
Relaxation, exercise, deep breathing, saying soothing and/or empowering statements - all of these generate "positive" chemicals besides generating more of a foundation for "not reacting" so much to what occurs.
Yes, they don't have such a quick and definitive effect as a direct drug, but they do have some short term effect plus they have massive long term effects and can make all the difference between a "stress-filled" life of overreactivity and a "low stress" life of not being reactive.
DON'T STOP WITH ONE SOURCE OF RELIEF!
The key point here is that even if one stops the fight/flight response (or at least the worst of it) there is still massive benefits to gain from deploying as many positive contributors (and reducing as many negative contributors) as one can.
Remember that the test as to whether one should continue doing any one thing is whether it contributes more than other things we can do with our time, such as is discussed in the Decision-Making/Problem-Solving section. It is a bad decision to quit enhancing one area when there is still a high payoff to doing so!!!! See and understand the 80/20 Principle.
APPENDIX - MORE OF BETA BLOCKERS
Propranolol (or enderol), as opposed to most other beta blockers, fills the B1 and B2 receptors.
Peak effects occur an hour to an hour and a half after consuming.
In contrast to benzodiazepines there is no sedative effect.
They are very safe for most patients.
Everybody's body reacts differently to beta blockers, so it important that there is excellent medical monitoring. Beta blockers do not cause addiction, which is an advantage over the anti-anxiety drugs. Beta blockers will not help one's negative inner voices, but it will stop most or all of the hypertension. And it relieves generalized tension and holding in the muscles of a highly anxious person, thus relieving many tension caused aches and pains.
Note that it may be better to take the beta blockers for short term purposes only, avoiding the long term side effects.
The B1 receptors are blocked so that epinephrine will not cause the heart rate to accelerate too much and also not to cause excess renin release from the kidney (which reduces blood pressure), but remarkably have only minimal effects on resting subjects. Basically, they block the physical effects of a person's natural fight or flight response, though they have no affect on basic psychological anxiety.
The beta blockers also are used in the treatment of hyperthyroidism.
Some beta blockers enter the brain better than others. Propranolol (Inderal) crosses the blood-brain barrier particularly well. This may be why propranolol causes more central nervous system side effects, such as hallucinations, nightmares, and depression, than the beta blockers that do not cross into the brain as easily. Kidney or liver disease are possible side effects.
The side effects include reduction of melatonin release in the evening, which may cause some sleep disturbance.
Generally recommended: The 20 to 40 mg dose of propranolol about one hour before a stressful event, but, otherwise, consider not using it regularly long term.
APPENDIX - GABA
"As one of the primary neurotransmitters, GABA is responsible for inhibitory processes. It elevates the production of alpha waves associated with feeling relaxed (without drowsiness) while boosting mental alertness. Moreover, GABA lowers beta waves that contribute to a state of nervousness, racing thoughts and hyperactivity.
GABA has a calming, rhythmic affect on the electrical impulses in the brain. While a balanced brain receives regular, smooth electrical impulses, a GABA deficient one receives impulses in spurts. As a result, the brain experiences arrhythmia, or dysrhythmia which directly affects overall emotional well-being.
GABA Deficiency Symptoms
In our fast-paced world a GABA deficiency is quite common. Environmental toxins, stress and other factors can deplete levels. The caffeine in coffee for instance, inhibits GABA release. The less GABA, the more nerve transmissions occur. The sensation of drinking too much coffee is a direct affect of having high glutamate production without enough GABA.
Alternatives Ways To Boost GABA
Until more research is available consider the following GABA-boosting options:
1.Supplement with L-theanine. L-theanine is an amino acid that naturally occurs in green tea, although you'd have to drink a lot of cups to feel any calming affect. L-theanine does however, cross the blood-brain barrier. Supplements are available but be sure to buy only the Suntheanine form that is patented and proven.
2.Eat your GABA. Complex carbohydrates increase glutamic acid/glutamate which forms glutamine, an amino involved in the production of GABA. Cooking destroys amino acids so eat as many raw foods as possible.
As researchers continue to study the blood-brain relationship of oral GABA, consumers should be cautiously optimistic before buying supplements to relieve anxiety. Consider alternative solutions to naturally stimulate GABA production in the brain."
Read more at Suite101: Do GABA Supplements Help Anxiety?: This Much Touted Anti-Anxiety Amino Acid May Be More Hype Than Help. http://naturalmedicine.suite101.com/article.cfm/