Dr. Angela Agrios, ND
My very talented Naturopathic Doctor
She treats a wide variety of conditions
Office & phone appointments available
Los Angeles, CA (Pacific Palisades)
Anxiety Disorder Naturopathic Medicine Treatment Interview with Dr. Tamara Trebilcock, ND
Anxiety Disorder Symptoms Anxiety is a normal expression, and a normal emotion, that we feel when we are presented with stress or danger. However, when we are under prolonged stress or prolonged perceived danger, this is when anxiety becomes a medical concern. Initial symptoms of anxiety include heart palpitations, increase in your heart rate, increase in your blood pressure, sweaty palms, all-over body sweat, increase in bowel movements or frequency of diarrhea. Over a prolonged period of time, these symptoms become worse and more chronic, and then anxiety presents as insomnia, poor focus, poor memory, chronic muscle tension especially in the upper shoulders and back as well as the tightness in the chest and the increase in palpitations and heart rate.
Conventional Treatment for Anxiety Disorder Conventional treatment for anxiety is six to twelve weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as stress reduction techniques, and usually an anti-anxiety medication. The most frequently prescribed anti-anxiety medications are benzodiazepines. This class of medication is known as a GABA agonist. This is important to understand. The nervous system has two different functions: one is to inhibit, and one is to excite. Inhibitory portions of our nervous system help us to relax, cause sedation, and sleep. Excitatory portions of our nervous system cause us to be over-excited, but in good ways, also help us to focus and keep memory. When these portions of your nervous system become out of balance, this is when anxiety occurs.
Causes of Anxiety Disorder There are many causes for anxiety besides stress and societal influences. These include poor dietary habits, blood sugar imbalances, high intakes of caffeine and nicotine and sugar, hormone imbalances due to menopause or other hormone , and adrenal fatigue.
Conventional Medications & Drugs for Anxiety Disorder So the GABA agonist of a medication that is prescribed helps increase GABA, which inhibits the nervous system. Some of the common side effects of benzodiazepine or GABA agonists are sweaty palms, nausea, increase in heart rate, difficult sleeping, difficulty in sexual function, easy fatigability, as well as others.
Naturopathic Medicine Diagnosis of Anxiety Disorder When a patient comes to me complaining of anxiety, I do a comprehensive intake. This includes questions about any family history of anxiety, questions about how long they’ve been experiencing what they’ve been experiencing. I also need to ask about hormone imbalances and thyroid or cardiovascular concerns because these can also contribute to anxiety. The blood work I would order includes: blood sugar, a thyroid panel, a complete metabolic panel, a complete blood count, vitamin D, iron storage, and an enzyme deficiency that’s common in patients with anxiety.
Naturopathic Medicine Asthma Treatment - Nutrients and Botanicals I also prescribe vitamin C and fish oil for their anti-inflammatory properties, magnesium to help relax smooth muscle in the bronchial airways, probiotics to support a healthy digestive system, which in turn helps support healthy immune system. For patients with ongoing asthma attacks, I’ll prescribe a botanical formula that can remove excess mucus secretion, open up the airways, and control the asthma attack. In fact, these herbs are so powerful, they can eliminate the need for an inhaler.
Naturopathic Medicine Asthma Treatment Success Asthma is difficult to treat; however, when patients follow my protocol, they have a decreased number of asthma attacks, decreased severity of those attacks, and rarely do they need their inhaler.
Naturopathic Medicine Laboratory Tests for Anxiety Disorder I would also order a urine test. This test would be to test for neurotransmitters, which are your brain’s chemical messengers. These chemical messengers make up two portions of your nervous system: one portion excites, the other portion inhibits. There are six different neurotransmitters that I test for to find out individual imbalances in those neurotransmitters so that we can balance them. I will also order a comprehensive salivary hormone panel. This allows me to look at the levels of estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, and cortisol. Imbalances in any of these hormones can cause anxiety.
Naturopathic Medicine Treatment of Anxiety Disorder - Diet & Organic Food I create a comprehensive treatment plan for my patients who suffer from anxiety, and I start with diet. The most important dietary recommendation that I make is to balance your blood sugar. This includes eating three to five small meals every day. This is essential to decrease anxiety and to allow for peaceful sleep. I also recommend eating 15 grams of protein with each meal to help relax the nervous system, as well as to maintain blood sugar. It is essential to increase whole organic foods and to decrease processed foods and foods that contain neurotoxins. Neurotoxins are aspartame, Splenda, MSG, food preservatives, food coloring and food dyes. These cause excitation in the nervous system and can contribute to increasing anxiety.
Naturopathic Medicine Treatment of Anxiety Disorder - Nutritional Support There are many nutrients I will prescribe, and these include amino acids, like theanine, tryptophan, or glycine to help support GABA production and inhibitory neurotransmitters; minerals like calcium and magnesium, which also support GABA and inhibitory neurotransmitters; vitamins, like B vitamins, especially folic acid, which are co-factors to those very same neurotransmitters.
Naturopathic Medicine Treatment of Anxiety Disorder - Botanicals & Herbs I also prescribe herbs to help a patient to relax, to balance hormones, to balance neurotransmitters, as well as to improve digestion. For relaxation, I prescribe herbs such as valerian, passionflower, kava kava, and hops. For hormone imbalances, I prescribe herbs such as don quai, chased root, smilax, and sarsaparilla. For adrenaline balances, I prescribe herbs such as ashwagandha, rhodiola, licorice root, or ginseng. To improve digestion, I will prescribe slippery elm and licorice root to ensure absorption of essential amino acids.
Naturopathic Medicine Success for Anxiety Disorder When patients follow my protocol, I have a very high success rate. Within three months, most patients are symptom-free, off their current medications, and feeling generally well. That’s the beauty of naturopathic medicine.