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Anxiety Attacks

Anxiety Attacks



No one knows how many people are in prison because of destructive outbursts that normally should have been controlled. Millions of regular folks just barely manage to live within their anxiety every day. They might not be in jail, but they are not radically happier. Many, many millions of prescriptions are written every year for emotional illness. Two out of three visits to family physicians are for stress-related illness, with an annual cost of nearly $75,000,000,000. (Smith and Smith, Personal Health Choices, Boston: Jones and Bartlett, 1990, page 18) 

More can be done for many of these people.  That "more" includes some good, natural remedies and regular practice of a stress reduction technique. 

I know something about stress. When I was an undergraduate at the Australian National University, my anxiety over schoolwork (and being 13,000 miles from home at age 18) caused me actual pain. I felt it in the center of my chest and down the side. The university physician, a rather young fellow himself, did an appropriate examination, got out his prescription pad and started to write. Here it comes, I thought: take thou a tranquilizer

Not so. This doctor had written down the name of a book: Relief Without Drugs, by Ainslie Meares, M.D.  (This title might be difficult to find in the United States; try an interlibrary loan through a public library.) 

I was being told to relax and I did not like that. To top it off, the doctor (correctly) assumed that I did not know "how" to relax. He provided a reference so I could learn.  The novelty of this drugless approach is what persuaded me to try it. It worked; the pain went away. For the first time in my life I had a prescription filled not at the drugstore, but at the bookstore. 

While studying at the nearby Canberra Hospital, I learned other stress reduction techniques such as imaging, self-hypnosis, and auto-relaxation from as many staff and consulting psychiatrists as I could locate. Many people I knew and respected began Transcendental Meditation, with evident beneficial results. Treatment of anxiety and tension without drugs? As Lincoln said of the little girl as she put her foot in her stocking, "It strikes me that there is something in it." There is. 

Some alternatives to Valium and similar products might include: 

NIACIN - vitamin B-3 is so effective against actual psychoses that half of all mental ward inmates in the South were able to be released once a depression-era deficiency of this vitamin was corrected. Niacin in appropriate doses acts as a natural tranquilizer and induces relaxation or sleep.  It is non-addictive, cheap, and safer than any pharmaceutical product. Dosage varies with condition. The best author on the subject is Abram Hoffer, M.D., whose experience dates back to the early 1950's. He routinely gave at least as much vitamin C as he did niacin. 

LECITHIN - a food supplement that is high in phosphatidyl choline. The body is able to make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, out of this. This has a sedating effect.  It is interesting to note that one third of your brain, by dry weight, is lecithin. Feeding the organ what it is largely made of might help it to function better.  (Don't worry: lecithin supplements are made from soybeans.)  Dosage runs in the tablespoons. 

SUGAR - avoid it, to reduce anxiety symptoms. The swings from high to low blood sugar result in corresponding mood swings. Sugar is not your friend.  Eat complex carbohydrates instead. 

CHROMIUM may help even out the sugar mood-swings and perhaps even sugar craving. Chromium deficiency (daily intake under 50 micrograms) affects 9 out of 10 adults. Somewhere between 50 and 400 mcg of chromium substantially improves your cells ability to use insulin. Don't gnaw on the bumper of a '54 Cadillac because that kind of chrome is toxic. Chromium polynicotinate or chromium picolinate are safer and better absorbed. 

B-COMPLEX VITAMINS also help even out your blood sugar. In addition, the metabolism of just about everything you digest hinges on one or more of this group of B-vitamins. Taken together, they are especially safe and effective. The body needs proportionally more niacin than the other B's, so extra niacin as mentioned above is still valid. 

EXERCISE reduces anxiety.  Is it because you are too pooped to worry? Who cares; it helps. Exercise has many other health benefits, too, so there is no way you can lose by trying it.  Start easily and work up. 

HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES such as Aconite, Coffea Cruda and Kali Phos. have been used to treat symptoms of anxiety for nearly 200 years.  These very dilute natural remedies are safe and can help significantly. I recommend that you get a copy of The Prescriber, by J.H. Clarke, M.D.  This very practical book concisely explains this healing approach and helps you easily select the most appropriate remedy. Homeopathic remedies are non-prescription. Many health food stores carry them. I know people who carry a bottle of Kali Phos 6X tablets in their pocket or purse, just in case.

HERBS such as chamomile and catnip make a soothing tea. There are certainly other useful herbs to consider as well.  A good herb store or health food store will have books that will help you learn more. 

Copyright 2003 and previous years Andrew W. Saul.

Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )

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Andrew W. Saul


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