Anxiety-Disorder Is NOT A Disease – it is a “dis-ease.’
By Dr. Dana Myatt
I just finished a Brief Telephone Consultation with a Mom about her 19 year-old daughter who has suffered from GAD (general anxiety disorder) since age eleven. The daughter has nothing worrisome or particularly stressful in her life to trigger such anxiety.
No matter what your age, GAD is NOT a “disease.” It is the body reflecting back that something is amiss. If you correct the underlying problem, the “dis-ease” goes away. Predictably. In fact, in my practice I’d say GAD is curable 100% of the time when a patient is willing to look for and eliminate the cause.
Why “Magic Bullets” (even natural ones) Rarely Work
As I explained today to this worried mom, if I lined up twenty people with anxiety disorder, I’d find 18 different reasons for the cause.
One person has GAD because of unstable blood sugar levels. Another may have low serotonin, dopamine, GABA or other neurotransmitter levels. Another has a food sensitivity, causing the body to react with “alarm” each time the offending food is eaten. Another has heavy metal toxicity from smoking, and this impairs brain function.
Unless you take the conventional medicine approach and simply “dumb everybody down” with a drug there is no “one size fits all” treatment for anxiety. Instead, we must work to discover each individual’s unique cause of GAD. That gives us the best hope — a “sure hope” — for correction.
In the case of this young lady today, I discovered that her diet was largely composed of beans, grains and starchy vegetables. I see at least three potential problems with this diet.
First, a diet high in carbs lends itself to unstable blood sugar levels. After eating a meal high in carbs, blood sugar rises precipitously. Next, under the influence of insulin, blood sugar drops. If the drop is fast, an alarm goes off and adrenaline (epinephrine) is released from the adrenal gland. Adrenaline that is not used to run away from a saber tooth tiger or otherwise engage in “fight or flight” behavior simply stays in the blood stream and causes pounding heart rate, shakiness and other symptoms we call an anxiety attack.
Second, grains and legumes as a class of food tend to contain a lot of potential allergens. While these may or may not be “true food allergies” (IgE-type immune reactions), they can still trigger an alarm reaction, resulting in inappropriate adrenaline release.
Third, a diet this high in carbs is likely to be low in the essential foods — essential amino acids and essential fatty acids. Both proteins and essential fats must be obtained from diet. The body cannot manufacture them, hence the term “essential.” There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. Nurse Mark has written a brief review of what nutrients are and are not essential: What Foods Are “Essential?”
Diet high in carbs are often deficient in the essential food groups. Combine that with the fact that this young lady is not taking ANY supplemental nutrition, and nutrient deficiencies are a likely third contributor to her anxiety disorder. The nervous system is particularly susceptible to deficiencies of B complex vitamins.
Now, that’s just a few quick observations about a person who is not my patient. When I work personally with a patient, we look to discover the underlying cause of anxiety.
Nutrient deficiencies with or without personal genetic tendencies can cause neurotransmitter imbalances. Too much or too little of certain neurotransmitters (neurohormones or “brain hormones”) can cause anxiety. When we find the imbalance and correct it, anxiety goes away.
Prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause GAD. So can physical inactivity. And poor sleep. And subconscious emotions that can be brought to light and “evaporated.”
My point is that GAD is not a disease, but a symptom of some other underlying imbalance. Sometimes several imbalances combine to produce the problem.
You can take the conventional medical approach and simply use a “band-aid” to cover the symptoms, or the naturopathic approach which is to find the cause and correct it.
I’m betting you know which one works most effectively, and which one I recommended to this mother!
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