Anxiety is a pervasive symptom in our society. It does not always occur to the degree that it becomes an official diagnosis or disorder but does affect many people. As a physician, I often get asked how to manage anxiety without taking medication. When anxiety occurs, our adrenal glands produce adrenalin, leading to heightened alertness in the body. Adrenalin is the “fight or flight” signal which raises the heart rate and blood pressure, diverting blood flow to the muscles and preparing the body for action. At the same time, it shuts down our ability to think and reason, turns off our digestive and reproductive functions, and has negative effects on our sleep.
So how can we mitigate anxiety without taking medication? There are many ways to do so. One of the most effective is to use relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga. These practices can have a calming effect on anxiety, especially when done regularly over time.
Therapy can also be effective, especially if the anxiety is related to post-traumatic stress disorder or even a traumatic event. One specific technique that has worked well for many patients is EMDR, which helps to reprogram the brain around those events that cause anxiety.
Sleep is another important factor when it comes to managing anxiety. When we sleep, we go through different stages, including REM sleep, which is also known as dream sleep. During this stage, the body processes a lot of our emotions from the day. If we're not getting enough REM sleep, we don't process that anxiety, and it can build up from day to day. Getting enough sleep is essential to detoxing that anxiety out of our system.
Finally, herbs and supplements can also be helpful for managing anxiety. Some options include L-theanine, magnesium, 5-HTP, and ashwagandha. The choice of herbs or supplements depends on the reasons for the anxiety or any deficiencies in the body.
In conclusion, anxiety is a common mental health issue that affects many people. There are ways to manage it without taking medication. Using relaxation techniques, seeking therapy, getting enough sleep, and using herbs and supplements are all effective ways to mitigate anxiety symptoms. Remember, managing anxiety takes time and effort, but it's worth it for your mental health and overall well-being.