Anxiety & Panic Attacks
Question: What can be done for anxiety and panic attacks? I have them so bad that I am afraid to go out anymore.
Answer: (Dr. Michael Murray) Here is a staggering statistic: over 14 million Americans suffer from anxiety, "an unpleasant emotional state ranging from mild unease to intense fear." Anxiety differs from fear, in that while fear is a rational response to a real danger, anxiety usually lacks a clear or realistic cause. Though some anxiety is normal and, in fact, healthy, higher levels of anxiety are not only uncomfortable, they can lead to significant problems.
Anxiety is often accompanied by a variety of symptoms. The most common symptoms relate to the chest such as heart palpitations (awareness of a more forceful or faster heart beat), throbbing or stabbing pains, a feeling of tightness and inability to take in enough air, and a tendency to sigh or hyperventilate. Tension in the muscles of the back and neck often leads to headaches, back pains, and muscle spasms. Other symptoms can include excessive sweating, dryness of mouth, dizziness, digestive disturbances, and the constant need to urinate or defecate.
The anxious individual usually has a constant feeling that something bad is going to happen. They may fear that they have a chronic of dangerous illness - a belief that is reinforced by the symptoms of anxiety. Inability to relax may lead to difficulty in getting to sleep and constant waking through the night.
An anxiety attack is milder than a panic attack. During an anxiety attack a person will experience intense feelings of fear. Panic attacks are most often associated with a condition known as agoraphobia - an intense fear of being alone or being in public places. As a result, most people with agoraphobia become housebound. It sounds like you may be suffering from agoraphobia.
Panic attacks are very common as about 15% of the United States population experience a panic attack in their lifetimes and among adults aged 25 to 54 years about 1.5% to 3% will experience frequent panic attacks.
Anxiety and panic attacks can be the result of either physical or psychological factors. For example, extreme stress can definitely trigger anxiety and so can certain stimulants like caffeine. There are at least seven nutritional factors that may be responsible for triggering anxiety:
?Deficiency of the B vitamins, niacin, pyridoxine, and thiamin
?Deficiency of calcium or magnesium
?Insufficiency of omega-3 fatty acids
By avoiding alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and food allergies a person with anxiety can go a long way in relieving their symptoms. Simply eliminating coffee can result in complete elimination of symptoms. This recommendation may seem to simple to be true, but substantial clinical evidence indicates that in many cases it is all that is necessary.
There are a number of popular recommendations often given to help people with stress and/or anxiety. I would recommend a good high potency multiple vitamin and mineral formula to make sure that a person is providing their body with the kind of nutritional support necessary to counteract the biochemical derangements found in patients with anxiety and panic attacks. I would also recommend one tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily. It has been suggested that patients with anxiety and panic attacks may suffer from a deficiency of alpha-linolenic acid - the essential omega-3 fatty acid found in high concentrations in flaxseed oil. In one study, 3 out of 4 patients with a history of agoraphobia for 10 or more yea