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Does anxiety produce adrenaline or does adrenaline make the person anxious?

Does anxiety produce adrenaline or does adrenaline make the person anxious?


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Its obvious that both are related(adrenaline and anxiety) but which causes which? What (I think) I know:

  • Anxiety accelerates the hearth rhythm due to the feeling of fear. It makes the body believe that there is a need to spend an enormous amount of energy getting away(someway) so it cuts the blood flow in the cognitive parts of the brain and sends more blood to the other muscles, it also releases adrenaline in the blood due to the increasing need of energy(even if there is no real need).

  • Adrenaline, (when released) makes the hearth rhythm increase and gives some "extra" power to the muscles by cutting the blood flow in the brain and giving it to the muscles. With the lost of blood flow in the brain the person loses a considerable part of the cognitive capacity (among other things), causing the person to have some feelings (like anxiety) and unreal thoughts.

Resuming my question: Anxiety results in a release of adrenaline, but adrenaline also makes the brain malfunction causing some feelings like anxiety. It makes sense but it is an infinite cycle. What is the false (and why), or if both are true then how does it ends?


Sorry for the delay getting to an answer - the holidays have been super busy for me this year.

If you feel up to it, definitely check out the link @ChuckSherrington posted in the comments. That has more information than you'll need for a while.

Getting down to business: The answer to your question is both!

Since your question assumes that both are related and affect each other, I won't go into how they do that.

However, to clear up some misconceptions:

It's not a 1-to-1 cycle.

That is, the "amount" of anxiety reduced by reducing adrenaline is not the same as the amount of adrenaline reduced by reducing anxiety. Similarly, the amount of anxiety created by inducing adrenaline is small compared to the amount of adrenaline created by inducing anxiety.

There are other factors at work

This is where the "parasympathetic" thing comes in. The human nervous system is actually two systems (broken up into theCentral Nervous System (CNS)and thePeripheral Nervous System (PNS), though the PNS is often broken down further).

One of the component parts of thePNSis the Autonomic Nervous System. This carries out the largely unconscious functions of daily life: breathing, heartbeat, digestion, etc. It is further split into two components: theSympathetic Nervous System (SNS)and theParasympathetic Nervous System (pSNS).

A very rough and reductionist analogy would be to say that these two, together, are like two springs one either side of a ball (or something) - they keep each other regulated and in balance.

TheSNSis responsible for very fast, excitatory activity. Fight or flight, for example. The adrenal response is part of the sympathetic nervous system.

ThepSNSis a lot slower. One of it's primary functions is to return the body to a relaxed state after it was provoked in an excited state.

From the wiki-books article @ChuckSherrington posted:

While an oversimplification, it is said that the parasympathetic system acts in a reciprocal manner to the effects of the sympathetic nervous system; in fact, in some tissues innervated by both systems, the effects are synergistic.

So as you hopefully have seen, as normal-functioning humans (which, to live, you must have both a SNS and a pSNS; it's not a question), you have a modulation response which keeps the adrenal response (the base response to a threatening stimulus that prepares the body for fast action) from getting out of hand.

Now, lastly, a disclaimer of sorts:

The link between neural activity and thoughts is tenuous at best! Many people are involved in many flame wars over the link between neural activity and phenomenology (experienced reality). The most direct view, and a very common one (from what I can tell) is the view that neural activity is reality itself. That is, our existence, our lives, our individual personalized reality, is neural activity itself.

But you will have to decide that question for yourself, because this is not a philosophy question/answer.

What's important is that the link between having thoughts and having feelings is not well understood. So adrenaline may make you nervous, but it may give Susie Randomgirl a panic attack (believe it or not, I know someone who can work themselves into a panic attack, every time - and they still don't get that they do it to themselves).


I don't think a causal relationship between the two has been established yet. I did read about an experiment conducted by Ulrich Bolm Androff, where the blood samples 10 physicians and psychologists were collected at 2 different times, once after they gave a public speech and once at the same time, on another day, and it was found that levels of epinephrine were found to be higher at the time directly after the speech was given. This does show a corelation between an anxiety inducing situation and levels of epinephrine, however, causal relationship cannot be established.


The Truth About POTS And Anxiety

Is POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) just anxiety? Many physicians certainly seem to think so.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

POTS Versus Anxiety

If you read through the dysautonomia message boards, you will likely find a massive stock of angered posts about physicians dismissing dysautonomia symptoms as anxiety. While there is definitely a difference between POTS/dysautonomia and anxiety, POTS certainly does look like anxiety at first glance.

This similarity is due to the many overlapping symptoms between generalized anxiety disorder and POTS. Fast heart rate, excess sweating, shaking, difficulty breathing, generalized nervousness and stomach upset are typical POTS symptoms that are often misunderstood as anxiety.

Having anxiety myself, I can see how the two conditions can be similar, but they are definitely separate issues.

POTS-specific anxiety-like symptoms are best described as body anxiety, whereas anxiety symptoms begin with psychological anxiety, which later produces body anxiety. POTS anxiety symptoms usually are not associated with any nervous thoughts and can be improved upon laying down.

This phenomenon is typical of adrenaline surges associated with POTS and is completely separate from a panic attack caused by a psychological trigger.

However, the two conditions can definitely become intertwined. If you have health anxiety, for example, then worsening POTS symptoms can cause psychological stress, which will then open the flight-or-fight floodgates and further worsen POTS symptoms.

Photo by Daria Obymaha on Pexels.com

The Diagnosis Barrier

As someone whose POTS was originally dismissed by doctors as having “anxiety that’s common among young women,” I understand the frustration in trying to overcome cultural barriers in healthcare that surround women to find correct diagnoses.

Dysautonomia, unfortunately, is one of those conditions that affect women disproportionately, with most cases occurring in young women. Most specifically, the female to male ratio for POTS is 5:1 and often women present with more debilitating symptoms.

When I end up in the ER for a POTS-SVT combo episode, the providers often do not believe that I have POTS. They ask me who diagnosed me and how I know I have POTS.

Well, my orthostatic vitals typically scream I HAVE POTS, as my sit to stand heart rate difference is usually over 100 when I end up in the ER. But even those vitals sometimes make them hesitate. Only after a careful comb-through of my records do they believe that I am in fact, not “crazy.”

So if physicians are so convinced that the 1 in 100 people with POTS actually just have extreme anxiety that only seems to happen while standing, where is the medical evidence? Do many people with POTS have anxiety disorders as well?

This question has been studied well in the research world, with several studies concluding that people with POTS are actually not more likely to have anxiety disorders than people without.

So essentially, despite hard evidence through a simple orthostatic vitals test that there is something physiologically, but not psychologically, wrong with these patients, physicians still may just still be caught up in the whole “nervous young women” conundrum.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So what can you do? How can you discuss the difference with your physician?

If you have POTS/suspected POTS, but not anxiety:

  • Record a log of what triggers the anxiety-like symptoms.
  • Does laying down help?
  • Does drinking more water help?
  • Is it worse in the heat or while showering?
  • Is it triggered by loud noises, bright lights, jump-scares?

If you have POTS/suspected POTS and anxiety:

  • Record a log of psychological anxiety triggers
  • Do you feel body-anxious in the absence of these triggers?
  • Does laying down help?
  • Does drinking more water help?
  • Do your anxiety meds not work for these situations?
  • Is it worse in the heat or while showering?
  • Is it triggered by loud noises, bright lights, jump scares?

If this fails, the next step is simple: switch doctors.

After finding a POTS doctor, I actually had a harder time trying to convince them that I do have anxiety as well, that some of my symptoms weren’t just from POTS alone. The best way to navigate this confusion for me was to work with a psychologist to identify exactly what exactly triggers my anxiety and how those situations impact my POTS.

Most specifically, the main facts that helped me differentiate between the two are the presence of anxious thoughts and whether or not my heart medication works. Since I take ivabradine/Corlanor, the medication has no effect against adrenaline surges, from POTS or anxiety.

If I am feeling super body-anxious, but have no anxious thoughts and it seems like my medication has suddenly stopped working, I am having an adrenaline surge.

If I am feeling super body-anxious, am having anxious thoughts, and again, ivabradine/Corlanor suddenly took a vacation, then I am having issues with anxiety.

For more information about adrenaline surges and POTS, check out this article.


The most common link between anxiety and tremors is adrenaline. Anxiety is the activation of your “fight or flight” response to danger, even when no danger is present. The response triggers a rush of adrenaline, which feeds your body with energy and prepares you to flee or fight. It also constricts your blood vessels.

All of these can cause your body to start shaking/tremor. Most often this shaking is directly associated with your anxious moment, and while temporary, it usually lasts just as long as the threat is present. Do not be alarmed, if the tremor extends despite resolution of other anxiety symptoms.


The Biochemistry of Anxiety

Anxiety may be a difficult disorder to live with, but it's also a fascinating one. Anxiety can be caused by life experiences, by the chemicals in your brain, or by both. Regardless of the cause of your anxiety, it is treatable.

The neurotransmitters in your brain are affected by anxiety. In this article, we'll give an introduction to the biochemistry of anxiety, and what that means for treatment.


What Happens Inside Your Body

Your body’s “fight or flight” response is behind these intense physical symptoms. Normally when you encounter a threat -- whether it’s a grizzly bear or a swerving car -- your nervous system springs into action. The hormone adrenaline floods into your bloodstream, putting your body on high alert. Your heartbeat quickens, which sends more blood to your muscles. Your breathing becomes fast and shallow, so you can take in more oxygen. Your blood sugar spikes. Your senses get sharper.

All of these changes -- which happen in an instant -- give you the energy you need to confront a dangerous situation or get out of harm’s way quickly.

With random panic attacks, your body goes on alert for no reason. Researchers don’t know exactly what triggers them. But the physical effects are real: During a panic attack, the adrenaline levels in the body can spike by 2 1/2 times or more.

Panic attacks may not come as unexpectedly as they seem. The physical changes may start about an hour before an attack. In one study, people with panic disorder wore devices that tracked their heart activity, sweating, and breathing. The results showed lower-than-normal levels of carbon dioxide, a sign of rapid, deep breathing that can leave you breathless, as early as about 45 minutes before the panic attack.


Can MS cause anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion, and causes the body to go into a ‘fight-or-flight’ response which enables us to respond to what we think are danger and threats. This in turn means the body starts to produce adrenaline which can lead to physical side effects. These can include:

If you are experiencing anxiety you may feel worried, nervous or tense. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life, but for some it may be hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives. These people may receive a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, these include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), specific phobias and separation anxiety disorder. These can range from mild to severe.

Receiving a diagnosis of MS understandably will cause most people to experience anxious thoughts. Due to the unpredictable nature of MS, it’s understandable that the feeling of the unknown can make you feel anxious. A common fear for people with MS is around their future and how it might be affected by increasing levels of disability. This is a completely understandable fear, which can leave you feeling persistently or excessively anxious. Feelings of anxiety at certain times are completely normal, see a GP if anxiety is affecting your daily life or causing you distress.

According to a study by the UK MS Register, over half people with MS reported symptoms of anxiety such as feeling tense or restless or sudden feelings of panic.

Generalised anxiety disorder is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed.


Hormones That May Reduce Social Anxiety

If you think hormones are all bad—think again! There are actually some ways in which certain levels of hormones can help to reduce your anxiety.

Estrogen

Estrogen is known to calm the fear response in women.   Specifically, research has shown that women trained on a fear-extinction task do better when the level of estrogen in their blood is higher. As a female, you may have also noticed that your ability to feel calm and relaxed (versus anxious and afraid) is better at certain points during your menstrual cycle.

Oxytocin

You've probably heard of the "love" or "bonding" hormone, oxytocin. This is a peptide hormone, which acts as both a hormone and a brain neurotransmitter. It is known as the love hormone because it is released during contact with a loved one.

Oxytocin is made in the hypothalamus and transported and secreted by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. Its release also helps with childbirth and breastfeeding.

In terms of its relation to mental health, oxytocin is known to have an anti-anxiety effect and may help to relieve social anxiety. Research shows that oxytocin promotes relaxation and trust, which makes it easier to manage social situations.   In fact, studies are ongoing on the role of oxytocin and how it could be used in the treatment of social impairments (including the social challenges of autism).

Testosterone

Just as too little testosterone may increase social anxiety, increased testosterone may help to reduce it.   Administration of testosterone, a steroid hormone, has been shown to reduce socially fearful, avoidant, and submissive behavior. Indeed, in general, men have half the reported rate of anxiety disorders as women this may be partially due to the role of testosterone in levels of anxiety.

Testosterone boosts the action of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin. These two brain chemicals are related to social anxiety disorder.

Vasopressin

Finally, vasopressin is a hormone that regulates the body's fluid balance. In addition, it is involved in the regulation of anxiety, stress, and social behavior. Vasopressin is produced within the hypothalamus and released from the pituitary gland.  

Some researchers think that a balance must be struck between oxytocin and vasopressin for optimal social functioning. Vasopressin is particularly related to social behavior, sexual motivation, pair bonding, and maternal responses to stress.


Anxiety: 5 Ways to Reset from Anxious to Zen

When most people think of anxiety , they envision someone having a full-blown panic attack, but the truth is that anxiety may show up in subtle and sneaky ways. In fact, from a more Eastern perspective, any time you move away from a feeling of peace, you are experiencing a form of anxiety.

Consider the following questions. Do any of these occur for you more days than not each week?

  • Are you able to sit still regularly and feel at peace, or do you feel uneasy?
  • Do you feel on edge or like you constantly have something to do?
  • Is it difficult to stop checking emails or social media for 24 hours, because you feel like you’re missing something important?
  • Do you often feel like you are rushing?
  • Do you ever lie awake at night thinking about your “to-do” list?
  • Do you find it difficult to control your worries, or sometimes feel they are out-of-proportion to reality?
  • Is your sense of worried accompanied by any of these other feelings: restlessness, easy fatigability, irritability, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, and/or sleep disturbance?

If you responded “yes” to any of these questions, then you may have suffered from anxiety. Anxiety is a normal response to a stressor, but when prolonged and hard to control, it can become pathological. 1 Jess Rowney, Teresa Hermida & Donald Malone, “Anxiety Disorders”, Cleveland Clinic, … Continue reading My craniosacral therapist has a different name for it: rev. I get overly rev’ed in my body and feel “stressed.” It’s like a throttle that is set a bit too high for my physiology, and my task is to decondition the habitual pattern. Or you may identify the feeling as overwhelm.

Regardless of the term that suits you best, if you feel anxious, you are not alone. Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million adults in the United States and even though it is highly treatable only about one affected person in three get treatment. 2 Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Facts and Stats”, AADA, http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics, accessed June … Continue reading I urge you to talk to your primary care clinician about your feelings and to get help. Natural hacks work best when you’ve been screened first by a knowledgeable health professional.

What’s Wrong with the Worries?

Because anxiety is a form of stress, it causes the release of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. They are designed to give you a quick boost of energy when you need to flee a dangerous situation.

The problem is your body doesn’t know the difference between an overwhelming day and being chased by a deadly beast. For this reason your cortisol levels can remain at “high alert” status even when you are just feeling a little anxious and are not actually in danger. This is an unfortunate artifact of our ancient nervous system.

Over time, chronically high cortisol levels can stress your adrenal glands, create hormonal imbalances, increase your blood pressure, “rev,” belly fat, sugar cravings, and insulin levels.

Before you start feeling anxious about this too, don’t worry! There are several things you can do to prevent these anxiety related symptoms from happening to you. Today I will show you 5 anxiety hacks you can use to get yourself into a healthier anxiety free state of mind naturally.

Anxiety Hack #1 Avoid Blood Sugar Dips

When you go too long without eating, it can cause you to feel anxiety-like symptoms simply because your brain isn’t receiving enough glucose to function properly. 3 Gorman, J. M., et al. “Hypoglycemia and panic attacks.” American Journal of Psychiatry 141 (1984): 101-102. I have found that for many people balancing blood sugar is enough to get rid of their anxiety completely.

Think about it this way: every time you think something like, “I am too busy with this spreadsheet to stop and eat.” or “I’m at my kid’s game right now, I’ll eat later,” you are choosing to allow anxiety symptoms to creep in. Just like your car needs fuel to run properly, so does your brain and it is important that you do not dismiss the importance of regular and nutrient-dense eating.

I also want to be clear that when I say your brain needs glucose to function it doesn’t mean you should eat unhealthy snack bars or a bag of chips. Fake carbs will spike your blood sugar, which activates the release of the hormone insulin. Insulin will then work overtime to reduce your blood sugar quickly often leaving your blood sugar lower than it was to begin with. This creates a blood sugar spike followed by a drop that will just keep the low blood sugar/anxiety cycle going.

Eating small protein/fat snacks throughout the day is one way to keep your blood sugar stabilized. I keep almonds and macadamia nuts in my purse and car. Keep in mind that nothing works better than clean protein to stabilize your blood sugar.

Anxiety Hack #2 Stop Drinking Coffee

When you first drink a cup of coffee your adrenaline and epinephrine levels go up, this is why you feel like a rock star for the first 15 to 20 minutes. But after that something happens. You start to feel jittery, anxious, and just all-around bad.

This caffeine crash isn’t surprising since after about 15 to 20 minutes your adrenaline and epinephrine levels start to go down while your cortisol levels stay up. This is called the “cortisol switch” (a term I heard from Brendon Burchard ), and it can cause anxiety symptoms to increase.

Consider this: using coffee to increase your energy levels is like using a credit card to buy something you cannot afford. It feels really good… until the bill arrives! In this case “the bill” is out of whack hormones, jitters, anxiety, and belly fat. We know the most adverse symptoms occur in people who are genetically programmed to be slow metabolizers of caffeine. But if you suffer from anxiety or overwhelm, the pros simply do not outweigh the cons.

As I describe in my new book, The Hormone Reset Diet, on page 133, coffee may make you anxious owing to contamination with mold toxins. Approximately 52 to 92 percent of coffee beans tested positive for mold, 4 Martins, M. L., et al. “Incidence of microflora and of ochratoxin A in green coffee beans (Coffea arabica).” Food Additives and … Continue reading and about 24 percent of the population is especially vulnerable to symptoms of mold toxicity, based on the HLA DR gene. 5 Surviving Mold: Lab Tests, SurvivingMold.com, http://www.survivingmold.com/diagnosis/lab-tests, accessed June 29, 2015 Richie Shoemaker & … Continue reading These problems motivated my friend Dave Asprey to create a new form of coffee that is vanishingly low in mold toxins. Still, you may be sensitive to coffee’s cortisol effects . . . .

Have decaf coffee instead. It still contains a small amount of caffeine, which I find it is enough to feel noticeably more alert but without the anxiety. My favorite is Dave Asprey’s Decaf Bulletproof ® Upgraded ™ Coffee, which is low in mold.

Consider switching out your coffee for organic black and green teas, which contain much less caffeine than coffee, and green tea in particular has many health benefits, including modest risk reduction of cancer, diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, stroke, genital warts, and obesity. 6 Hayat K., et al. “Tea and Its Consumption: Benefits and Risks.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 55, no. 7 (2015): 939-54 Henning, … Continue reading .

Anxiety Hack #3 Learn to Say “No”

I think it’s safe to say that if you only had one thing to do every day you probably wouldn’t feel anxious or stressed out. Generally, it is your long to-do lists that cause you to think, “How the hell am I going to get through today?”

Many people are suffering from, what my good friend Dr. Pedram Shojai calls, “Time Compression Syndrome,” which he says occurs when you constantly try to fit too many things into a given amount of time. I am sure you can relate to cramming your schedule so tight that you don’t have enough time to get from point A to point B without running late and feeling anxious.

If you think you are a stellar multitasker, guess again. Research shows that multitasking is associated with poor attention skills, depression, anxiety, and a decrease in gray matter density in the brain. 7 Loh, K., R. et al. “Higher media multi-tasking activity is associated with smaller gray-matter density in the anterior cingulate cortex.” … Continue reading

This is why, as hard at it might be, it is so important for your anxiety levels that you learn how to say “no.” Or an alternative that a therapist friend recommends, described shortly.

Often, we say yes to things simply because we do not want to hurt someone’s feelings or we feel we should be able to do all things for everyone all the time. However, living this way only exhausts you mentally, physically, and emotionally.

If you have a hard time saying “no” you might find it easier to say “probably not” instead. For example if you are asked to volunteer for something at your kid’s school but you know you can’t fit it in your schedule you can say, “Probably not, but let me get back to you.”

Anxiety Hack #4 Take a Deep Belly Breath and Anchor in the Present

Stress and anxiety cause shallow breathing (breathing that is high in the chest rather than low in the belly) because they trigger your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) to activate.

Alternatively, lower belly breathing stimulates your vagus nerve, helping to counteract the sympathetic nervous system by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system. Deep breathing also causes the release of your body’s own form of valium, a neurotransmitter called GABA (short for gamma-aminobutyric acid).

Deep breathing is even more beneficial when it is coupled with meditation or mindfulness. Meditation lowers cortisol levels and raises serotonin, the “happy” brain chemical that is in charge of your moods, sleep, and appetite.

Meditation can also increase the density of the gray matter in your brain. One study found that as little as 8 weeks of meditation may significantly increase cortical density. 8 Hölzel, B., K. et al. “Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density.” Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging … Continue reading This is particularly valuable for anyone who is a recovering multitasker (see anxiety hack #3).

If you think you don’t have time to devote to deep breathing and meditation, start with 5 minutes. Download the free trial of the popular app Head Space onto your smart phone, or simply take a sacred pause of three belly breaths whenever you enter your passcode on a hand-held device. Even just a few minutes of quiet contemplation and deep breathing will help you hit the reset button.


Anxiety Hack #5 Try Yoga

Most of us like quick fixes but with this article, more than anything, I want to show you that there are natural ways to control your anxiety before resorting to medication. For example, studies show that yoga is as or more effective than tranquilizers such as Xanax or Ativan. In Germany, a group of 24 women with anxiety were randomized to two 90-minute yoga classes per week for 3 months or a wait list. Significant reductions in both anxiety symptoms and salivary cortisol levels were found in the yoga group. 9 Michalsen, A. et al. “Rapid stress reduction and anxiolysis among distressed women as a consequence of a three-month intensive yoga … Continue reading In another randomized trial from UCLA, 28 women with mild depression were treated with yoga twice/week compared to a control group who did not do yoga. The yoga group had significant improvements in mood and anxiety after only 2.5 weeks in class. 10 Woolery, A. et al. “A yoga intervention for young adults with elevated symptoms of depression.” Alternative Therapies in Health and … Continue reading

Start going to a yoga class once per week at your gym. Begin your day with “ Just One Pose ,” a free series of single poses that I created on YouTube. Often, movement is helpful for anxious people, rather than sitting on a cushion and trying to meditate.

As a yoga instructor and functional medicine practitioner, I love the studies I’ve described however, I am not suggesting that you dump your drugs without first consulting your clinician. It’s not either/or. I suggest that you incorporate these 5 hacks and see if your anxiety lessens, or even that your need for medication falls away. Maybe you’ll need less Xanax to feel in the present moment. You might find that managing your cortisol and anxiety levels naturally works even better for you than medication, without unpleasant side effects. I find that natural remedies help dampen the rev more effectively than prescriptions.

References
↑ 1 Jess Rowney, Teresa Hermida & Donald Malone, “Anxiety Disorders”, Cleveland Clinic, http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/psychiatry-psychology/anxiety-disorder/Default.htm , accessed June 29, 2015.
↑ 2 Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Facts and Stats”, AADA, http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics , accessed June 29, 2015 Kessler, R. C., et al. “Prevalence, Severity, and Comorbidity of Twelve-month DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R).” Archives of General Psychiatry 62, no. 6 (2005): 617-627.
↑ 3 Gorman, J. M., et al. “Hypoglycemia and panic attacks.” American Journal of Psychiatry 141 (1984): 101-102.
↑ 4 Martins, M. L., et al. “Incidence of microflora and of ochratoxin A in green coffee beans (Coffea arabica).” Food Additives and Contaminants 20, no. 12 (2003): 1127-1131 Studer-Rohr, I., et al. “The occurrence of ochratoxin A in coffee.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 33, no. 5 (1995): 341-355.
↑ 5 Surviving Mold: Lab Tests, SurvivingMold.com, http://www.survivingmold.com/diagnosis/lab-tests , accessed June 29, 2015 Richie Shoemaker & Matthew Hudson, Suriving Mold : Life in the Era of Dangerous Buildings. Otter Bay Books, 2010.
↑ 6 Hayat K., et al. “Tea and Its Consumption: Benefits and Risks.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 55, no. 7 (2015): 939-54 Henning, S. M., et al. “Epigenetic effects of green tea polyphenols in cancer.” Epigenomics 5, no. 6 (2013): 729-741 Yang, C., S. et al. “Recent scientific studies of a traditional Chinese medicine, tea, on prevention of chronic diseases.” Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine 4, no. 1 (2014): 17 Khan, N., et al. “Tea and health: studies in humans.” Current Pharmaceutical Design 19, no. 34 (2013): 6141.
↑ 7 Loh, K., R. et al. “Higher media multi-tasking activity is associated with smaller gray-matter density in the anterior cingulate cortex.” (2014): e106698.
↑ 8 Hölzel, B., K. et al. “Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density.” Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 191, no. 1 (2011): 36-43.
↑ 9 Michalsen, A. et al. “Rapid stress reduction and anxiolysis among distressed women as a consequence of a three-month intensive yoga program.” American Journal of Case Reports 11, no. 12 (2005): CR555-CR561.
↑ 10 Woolery, A. et al. “A yoga intervention for young adults with elevated symptoms of depression.” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 10, no. 2 (2004): 60-63.

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“I lost 10 lbs., reset my hormones and metabolism and eliminated my sugar cravings! I have also found that I respond to stress much differently, I feel it, notice it and move on from it. Stress no longer has a grip on me. Dr. Sara’s conference calls and detox information was invaluable. I am so grateful for this program. Thank you Dr. Sara!”

Sophia, Dr. Sara’s Detox Challenge Participant

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Negative Health Impacts of an Adrenaline Rush

The sudden onset of stress and excess stress hormones released in your body can have negative effects. The physical and emotional stress placed on your body and heart can be damaging to your heart. A condition known as broken-heart syndrome happens when your blood flow is reduced because of intense emotional distress.

Adrenaline rushes are hard to measure, so the exact negative impacts are not fully understood. However, continuous stress and epinephrine released into your body can have negative impacts. These impacts can include high blood pressure and anxiety.

Continued

Another negative impact of the adrenaline rush is the feeling of dizziness, light-headedness, and vision change. As your adrenaline rush passes, you may start to feel irritable or unable to stay still.

If your body is getting a lot of epinephrine regularly, your potential for heart damage could increase. Inability to sleep and nervousness are common effects of too much adrenaline.

If you have a pre-existing condition like cardiovascular disease, the added stress of an adrenaline rush can be damaging to your heart.

Whether you're seeking out chances to feel an adrenaline rush or you’re feeling anxious, too much adrenaline can be hard on your body. If stress or panic attacks are common in your day-to-day life, talk to your doctor about ways they can be managed.

Sources

American Association for the Advancement of Science: “Anatomy of an Adrenaline Rush.”

American Heart Association: “Can you really be scared to death?”

British Heart Foundation: “How adrenaline can be a heart breaker.”

Hormone Health Network: “What is Adrenaline?”

People, Ideas, and Things Journal: “Animal Instincts of the Human Body: A Psychological and Skeletal Muscular Analysis of Adrenaline on the Human Body.”


What type of anxiety do you have?

By understanding what causes your anxiety, you can target the root cause during treatment. If your anxiety is being caused by an abusive relationship, but you don’t get to the root of the cause, nothing will fix the problem. Taking an antidepressant medication may help reduce your anxiety in the short-term, but it will act more as a patch rather than a cure.

In another scenario of anxiety being caused by genetics, eating healthier, getting exercise, and daily meditation may only help to a certain extent natural cures for anxiety are not always effective. At some point, you may need to accept the fact that pursuing a pharmaceutical medication may be your best hope to cope with your anxiety and function in society. Understanding the cause of your individual anxiety helps provide insight regarding the optimal course of treatment. (Read: Hierarchy of treatments for anxiety).

Finally, some cases of anxiety may be better addressed in therapy rather than with medications or lifestyle changes. Working with a therapist may help you realize that you need to simply change your perspective, learn a new way of thinking, and/or coping strategies for your anxiety. If you are having a difficult time determining what is causing your anxiety, do some self-reflection, take an honest look at your life, and consider working with a psychologist.


What type of anxiety do you have?

By understanding what causes your anxiety, you can target the root cause during treatment. If your anxiety is being caused by an abusive relationship, but you don’t get to the root of the cause, nothing will fix the problem. Taking an antidepressant medication may help reduce your anxiety in the short-term, but it will act more as a patch rather than a cure.

In another scenario of anxiety being caused by genetics, eating healthier, getting exercise, and daily meditation may only help to a certain extent natural cures for anxiety are not always effective. At some point, you may need to accept the fact that pursuing a pharmaceutical medication may be your best hope to cope with your anxiety and function in society. Understanding the cause of your individual anxiety helps provide insight regarding the optimal course of treatment. (Read: Hierarchy of treatments for anxiety).

Finally, some cases of anxiety may be better addressed in therapy rather than with medications or lifestyle changes. Working with a therapist may help you realize that you need to simply change your perspective, learn a new way of thinking, and/or coping strategies for your anxiety. If you are having a difficult time determining what is causing your anxiety, do some self-reflection, take an honest look at your life, and consider working with a psychologist.


The Truth About POTS And Anxiety

Is POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) just anxiety? Many physicians certainly seem to think so.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

POTS Versus Anxiety

If you read through the dysautonomia message boards, you will likely find a massive stock of angered posts about physicians dismissing dysautonomia symptoms as anxiety. While there is definitely a difference between POTS/dysautonomia and anxiety, POTS certainly does look like anxiety at first glance.

This similarity is due to the many overlapping symptoms between generalized anxiety disorder and POTS. Fast heart rate, excess sweating, shaking, difficulty breathing, generalized nervousness and stomach upset are typical POTS symptoms that are often misunderstood as anxiety.

Having anxiety myself, I can see how the two conditions can be similar, but they are definitely separate issues.

POTS-specific anxiety-like symptoms are best described as body anxiety, whereas anxiety symptoms begin with psychological anxiety, which later produces body anxiety. POTS anxiety symptoms usually are not associated with any nervous thoughts and can be improved upon laying down.

This phenomenon is typical of adrenaline surges associated with POTS and is completely separate from a panic attack caused by a psychological trigger.

However, the two conditions can definitely become intertwined. If you have health anxiety, for example, then worsening POTS symptoms can cause psychological stress, which will then open the flight-or-fight floodgates and further worsen POTS symptoms.

Photo by Daria Obymaha on Pexels.com

The Diagnosis Barrier

As someone whose POTS was originally dismissed by doctors as having “anxiety that’s common among young women,” I understand the frustration in trying to overcome cultural barriers in healthcare that surround women to find correct diagnoses.

Dysautonomia, unfortunately, is one of those conditions that affect women disproportionately, with most cases occurring in young women. Most specifically, the female to male ratio for POTS is 5:1 and often women present with more debilitating symptoms.

When I end up in the ER for a POTS-SVT combo episode, the providers often do not believe that I have POTS. They ask me who diagnosed me and how I know I have POTS.

Well, my orthostatic vitals typically scream I HAVE POTS, as my sit to stand heart rate difference is usually over 100 when I end up in the ER. But even those vitals sometimes make them hesitate. Only after a careful comb-through of my records do they believe that I am in fact, not “crazy.”

So if physicians are so convinced that the 1 in 100 people with POTS actually just have extreme anxiety that only seems to happen while standing, where is the medical evidence? Do many people with POTS have anxiety disorders as well?

This question has been studied well in the research world, with several studies concluding that people with POTS are actually not more likely to have anxiety disorders than people without.

So essentially, despite hard evidence through a simple orthostatic vitals test that there is something physiologically, but not psychologically, wrong with these patients, physicians still may just still be caught up in the whole “nervous young women” conundrum.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So what can you do? How can you discuss the difference with your physician?

If you have POTS/suspected POTS, but not anxiety:

  • Record a log of what triggers the anxiety-like symptoms.
  • Does laying down help?
  • Does drinking more water help?
  • Is it worse in the heat or while showering?
  • Is it triggered by loud noises, bright lights, jump-scares?

If you have POTS/suspected POTS and anxiety:

  • Record a log of psychological anxiety triggers
  • Do you feel body-anxious in the absence of these triggers?
  • Does laying down help?
  • Does drinking more water help?
  • Do your anxiety meds not work for these situations?
  • Is it worse in the heat or while showering?
  • Is it triggered by loud noises, bright lights, jump scares?

If this fails, the next step is simple: switch doctors.

After finding a POTS doctor, I actually had a harder time trying to convince them that I do have anxiety as well, that some of my symptoms weren’t just from POTS alone. The best way to navigate this confusion for me was to work with a psychologist to identify exactly what exactly triggers my anxiety and how those situations impact my POTS.

Most specifically, the main facts that helped me differentiate between the two are the presence of anxious thoughts and whether or not my heart medication works. Since I take ivabradine/Corlanor, the medication has no effect against adrenaline surges, from POTS or anxiety.

If I am feeling super body-anxious, but have no anxious thoughts and it seems like my medication has suddenly stopped working, I am having an adrenaline surge.

If I am feeling super body-anxious, am having anxious thoughts, and again, ivabradine/Corlanor suddenly took a vacation, then I am having issues with anxiety.

For more information about adrenaline surges and POTS, check out this article.


What Happens Inside Your Body

Your body’s “fight or flight” response is behind these intense physical symptoms. Normally when you encounter a threat -- whether it’s a grizzly bear or a swerving car -- your nervous system springs into action. The hormone adrenaline floods into your bloodstream, putting your body on high alert. Your heartbeat quickens, which sends more blood to your muscles. Your breathing becomes fast and shallow, so you can take in more oxygen. Your blood sugar spikes. Your senses get sharper.

All of these changes -- which happen in an instant -- give you the energy you need to confront a dangerous situation or get out of harm’s way quickly.

With random panic attacks, your body goes on alert for no reason. Researchers don’t know exactly what triggers them. But the physical effects are real: During a panic attack, the adrenaline levels in the body can spike by 2 1/2 times or more.

Panic attacks may not come as unexpectedly as they seem. The physical changes may start about an hour before an attack. In one study, people with panic disorder wore devices that tracked their heart activity, sweating, and breathing. The results showed lower-than-normal levels of carbon dioxide, a sign of rapid, deep breathing that can leave you breathless, as early as about 45 minutes before the panic attack.


Anxiety: 5 Ways to Reset from Anxious to Zen

When most people think of anxiety , they envision someone having a full-blown panic attack, but the truth is that anxiety may show up in subtle and sneaky ways. In fact, from a more Eastern perspective, any time you move away from a feeling of peace, you are experiencing a form of anxiety.

Consider the following questions. Do any of these occur for you more days than not each week?

  • Are you able to sit still regularly and feel at peace, or do you feel uneasy?
  • Do you feel on edge or like you constantly have something to do?
  • Is it difficult to stop checking emails or social media for 24 hours, because you feel like you’re missing something important?
  • Do you often feel like you are rushing?
  • Do you ever lie awake at night thinking about your “to-do” list?
  • Do you find it difficult to control your worries, or sometimes feel they are out-of-proportion to reality?
  • Is your sense of worried accompanied by any of these other feelings: restlessness, easy fatigability, irritability, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, and/or sleep disturbance?

If you responded “yes” to any of these questions, then you may have suffered from anxiety. Anxiety is a normal response to a stressor, but when prolonged and hard to control, it can become pathological. 1 Jess Rowney, Teresa Hermida & Donald Malone, “Anxiety Disorders”, Cleveland Clinic, … Continue reading My craniosacral therapist has a different name for it: rev. I get overly rev’ed in my body and feel “stressed.” It’s like a throttle that is set a bit too high for my physiology, and my task is to decondition the habitual pattern. Or you may identify the feeling as overwhelm.

Regardless of the term that suits you best, if you feel anxious, you are not alone. Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million adults in the United States and even though it is highly treatable only about one affected person in three get treatment. 2 Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Facts and Stats”, AADA, http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics, accessed June … Continue reading I urge you to talk to your primary care clinician about your feelings and to get help. Natural hacks work best when you’ve been screened first by a knowledgeable health professional.

What’s Wrong with the Worries?

Because anxiety is a form of stress, it causes the release of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. They are designed to give you a quick boost of energy when you need to flee a dangerous situation.

The problem is your body doesn’t know the difference between an overwhelming day and being chased by a deadly beast. For this reason your cortisol levels can remain at “high alert” status even when you are just feeling a little anxious and are not actually in danger. This is an unfortunate artifact of our ancient nervous system.

Over time, chronically high cortisol levels can stress your adrenal glands, create hormonal imbalances, increase your blood pressure, “rev,” belly fat, sugar cravings, and insulin levels.

Before you start feeling anxious about this too, don’t worry! There are several things you can do to prevent these anxiety related symptoms from happening to you. Today I will show you 5 anxiety hacks you can use to get yourself into a healthier anxiety free state of mind naturally.

Anxiety Hack #1 Avoid Blood Sugar Dips

When you go too long without eating, it can cause you to feel anxiety-like symptoms simply because your brain isn’t receiving enough glucose to function properly. 3 Gorman, J. M., et al. “Hypoglycemia and panic attacks.” American Journal of Psychiatry 141 (1984): 101-102. I have found that for many people balancing blood sugar is enough to get rid of their anxiety completely.

Think about it this way: every time you think something like, “I am too busy with this spreadsheet to stop and eat.” or “I’m at my kid’s game right now, I’ll eat later,” you are choosing to allow anxiety symptoms to creep in. Just like your car needs fuel to run properly, so does your brain and it is important that you do not dismiss the importance of regular and nutrient-dense eating.

I also want to be clear that when I say your brain needs glucose to function it doesn’t mean you should eat unhealthy snack bars or a bag of chips. Fake carbs will spike your blood sugar, which activates the release of the hormone insulin. Insulin will then work overtime to reduce your blood sugar quickly often leaving your blood sugar lower than it was to begin with. This creates a blood sugar spike followed by a drop that will just keep the low blood sugar/anxiety cycle going.

Eating small protein/fat snacks throughout the day is one way to keep your blood sugar stabilized. I keep almonds and macadamia nuts in my purse and car. Keep in mind that nothing works better than clean protein to stabilize your blood sugar.

Anxiety Hack #2 Stop Drinking Coffee

When you first drink a cup of coffee your adrenaline and epinephrine levels go up, this is why you feel like a rock star for the first 15 to 20 minutes. But after that something happens. You start to feel jittery, anxious, and just all-around bad.

This caffeine crash isn’t surprising since after about 15 to 20 minutes your adrenaline and epinephrine levels start to go down while your cortisol levels stay up. This is called the “cortisol switch” (a term I heard from Brendon Burchard ), and it can cause anxiety symptoms to increase.

Consider this: using coffee to increase your energy levels is like using a credit card to buy something you cannot afford. It feels really good… until the bill arrives! In this case “the bill” is out of whack hormones, jitters, anxiety, and belly fat. We know the most adverse symptoms occur in people who are genetically programmed to be slow metabolizers of caffeine. But if you suffer from anxiety or overwhelm, the pros simply do not outweigh the cons.

As I describe in my new book, The Hormone Reset Diet, on page 133, coffee may make you anxious owing to contamination with mold toxins. Approximately 52 to 92 percent of coffee beans tested positive for mold, 4 Martins, M. L., et al. “Incidence of microflora and of ochratoxin A in green coffee beans (Coffea arabica).” Food Additives and … Continue reading and about 24 percent of the population is especially vulnerable to symptoms of mold toxicity, based on the HLA DR gene. 5 Surviving Mold: Lab Tests, SurvivingMold.com, http://www.survivingmold.com/diagnosis/lab-tests, accessed June 29, 2015 Richie Shoemaker & … Continue reading These problems motivated my friend Dave Asprey to create a new form of coffee that is vanishingly low in mold toxins. Still, you may be sensitive to coffee’s cortisol effects . . . .

Have decaf coffee instead. It still contains a small amount of caffeine, which I find it is enough to feel noticeably more alert but without the anxiety. My favorite is Dave Asprey’s Decaf Bulletproof ® Upgraded ™ Coffee, which is low in mold.

Consider switching out your coffee for organic black and green teas, which contain much less caffeine than coffee, and green tea in particular has many health benefits, including modest risk reduction of cancer, diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, stroke, genital warts, and obesity. 6 Hayat K., et al. “Tea and Its Consumption: Benefits and Risks.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 55, no. 7 (2015): 939-54 Henning, … Continue reading .

Anxiety Hack #3 Learn to Say “No”

I think it’s safe to say that if you only had one thing to do every day you probably wouldn’t feel anxious or stressed out. Generally, it is your long to-do lists that cause you to think, “How the hell am I going to get through today?”

Many people are suffering from, what my good friend Dr. Pedram Shojai calls, “Time Compression Syndrome,” which he says occurs when you constantly try to fit too many things into a given amount of time. I am sure you can relate to cramming your schedule so tight that you don’t have enough time to get from point A to point B without running late and feeling anxious.

If you think you are a stellar multitasker, guess again. Research shows that multitasking is associated with poor attention skills, depression, anxiety, and a decrease in gray matter density in the brain. 7 Loh, K., R. et al. “Higher media multi-tasking activity is associated with smaller gray-matter density in the anterior cingulate cortex.” … Continue reading

This is why, as hard at it might be, it is so important for your anxiety levels that you learn how to say “no.” Or an alternative that a therapist friend recommends, described shortly.

Often, we say yes to things simply because we do not want to hurt someone’s feelings or we feel we should be able to do all things for everyone all the time. However, living this way only exhausts you mentally, physically, and emotionally.

If you have a hard time saying “no” you might find it easier to say “probably not” instead. For example if you are asked to volunteer for something at your kid’s school but you know you can’t fit it in your schedule you can say, “Probably not, but let me get back to you.”

Anxiety Hack #4 Take a Deep Belly Breath and Anchor in the Present

Stress and anxiety cause shallow breathing (breathing that is high in the chest rather than low in the belly) because they trigger your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) to activate.

Alternatively, lower belly breathing stimulates your vagus nerve, helping to counteract the sympathetic nervous system by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system. Deep breathing also causes the release of your body’s own form of valium, a neurotransmitter called GABA (short for gamma-aminobutyric acid).

Deep breathing is even more beneficial when it is coupled with meditation or mindfulness. Meditation lowers cortisol levels and raises serotonin, the “happy” brain chemical that is in charge of your moods, sleep, and appetite.

Meditation can also increase the density of the gray matter in your brain. One study found that as little as 8 weeks of meditation may significantly increase cortical density. 8 Hölzel, B., K. et al. “Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density.” Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging … Continue reading This is particularly valuable for anyone who is a recovering multitasker (see anxiety hack #3).

If you think you don’t have time to devote to deep breathing and meditation, start with 5 minutes. Download the free trial of the popular app Head Space onto your smart phone, or simply take a sacred pause of three belly breaths whenever you enter your passcode on a hand-held device. Even just a few minutes of quiet contemplation and deep breathing will help you hit the reset button.


Anxiety Hack #5 Try Yoga

Most of us like quick fixes but with this article, more than anything, I want to show you that there are natural ways to control your anxiety before resorting to medication. For example, studies show that yoga is as or more effective than tranquilizers such as Xanax or Ativan. In Germany, a group of 24 women with anxiety were randomized to two 90-minute yoga classes per week for 3 months or a wait list. Significant reductions in both anxiety symptoms and salivary cortisol levels were found in the yoga group. 9 Michalsen, A. et al. “Rapid stress reduction and anxiolysis among distressed women as a consequence of a three-month intensive yoga … Continue reading In another randomized trial from UCLA, 28 women with mild depression were treated with yoga twice/week compared to a control group who did not do yoga. The yoga group had significant improvements in mood and anxiety after only 2.5 weeks in class. 10 Woolery, A. et al. “A yoga intervention for young adults with elevated symptoms of depression.” Alternative Therapies in Health and … Continue reading

Start going to a yoga class once per week at your gym. Begin your day with “ Just One Pose ,” a free series of single poses that I created on YouTube. Often, movement is helpful for anxious people, rather than sitting on a cushion and trying to meditate.

As a yoga instructor and functional medicine practitioner, I love the studies I’ve described however, I am not suggesting that you dump your drugs without first consulting your clinician. It’s not either/or. I suggest that you incorporate these 5 hacks and see if your anxiety lessens, or even that your need for medication falls away. Maybe you’ll need less Xanax to feel in the present moment. You might find that managing your cortisol and anxiety levels naturally works even better for you than medication, without unpleasant side effects. I find that natural remedies help dampen the rev more effectively than prescriptions.

References
↑ 1 Jess Rowney, Teresa Hermida & Donald Malone, “Anxiety Disorders”, Cleveland Clinic, http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/psychiatry-psychology/anxiety-disorder/Default.htm , accessed June 29, 2015.
↑ 2 Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Facts and Stats”, AADA, http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics , accessed June 29, 2015 Kessler, R. C., et al. “Prevalence, Severity, and Comorbidity of Twelve-month DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R).” Archives of General Psychiatry 62, no. 6 (2005): 617-627.
↑ 3 Gorman, J. M., et al. “Hypoglycemia and panic attacks.” American Journal of Psychiatry 141 (1984): 101-102.
↑ 4 Martins, M. L., et al. “Incidence of microflora and of ochratoxin A in green coffee beans (Coffea arabica).” Food Additives and Contaminants 20, no. 12 (2003): 1127-1131 Studer-Rohr, I., et al. “The occurrence of ochratoxin A in coffee.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 33, no. 5 (1995): 341-355.
↑ 5 Surviving Mold: Lab Tests, SurvivingMold.com, http://www.survivingmold.com/diagnosis/lab-tests , accessed June 29, 2015 Richie Shoemaker & Matthew Hudson, Suriving Mold : Life in the Era of Dangerous Buildings. Otter Bay Books, 2010.
↑ 6 Hayat K., et al. “Tea and Its Consumption: Benefits and Risks.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 55, no. 7 (2015): 939-54 Henning, S. M., et al. “Epigenetic effects of green tea polyphenols in cancer.” Epigenomics 5, no. 6 (2013): 729-741 Yang, C., S. et al. “Recent scientific studies of a traditional Chinese medicine, tea, on prevention of chronic diseases.” Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine 4, no. 1 (2014): 17 Khan, N., et al. “Tea and health: studies in humans.” Current Pharmaceutical Design 19, no. 34 (2013): 6141.
↑ 7 Loh, K., R. et al. “Higher media multi-tasking activity is associated with smaller gray-matter density in the anterior cingulate cortex.” (2014): e106698.
↑ 8 Hölzel, B., K. et al. “Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density.” Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 191, no. 1 (2011): 36-43.
↑ 9 Michalsen, A. et al. “Rapid stress reduction and anxiolysis among distressed women as a consequence of a three-month intensive yoga program.” American Journal of Case Reports 11, no. 12 (2005): CR555-CR561.
↑ 10 Woolery, A. et al. “A yoga intervention for young adults with elevated symptoms of depression.” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 10, no. 2 (2004): 60-63.

PRAISE

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“You don’t have to settle for being stressed out, binging on sugar and chocolate, and aging prematurely. Stop blaming yourself and step into sacred action. It’s your birthright. You can have the joyous, mission-driven life you want, and Dr. Sara is here to show us how.”

– Marci Shimoff, New York Times Bestselling Author of Happy for No Reason and Love for No Reason

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“Dr. Sara Gottfried is a modern-day healer goddess if ever there was one, and she also happens to be a Harvard Medical School graduate and rigorous physician-scientist.”

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“Dr. Gottfried’s book and detox came at a time when I was ready to give in to old age. Hot flashes, low energy and libido, weight gain, increasing blood pressure and cholesterol levels were unacceptable to me. I now know that hormone levels and what I eat are a huge influence on how I feel and look. To now be able to control something that was out of control is empowering…”

Cheryl V., Dr. Sara’s Detox Challenge Participant

“My health coach told me about your book and I took the [hormone] test, and lo and behold, I found I was a mess, hormonally speaking. Now I’m getting on track and I love your videos and your book. I feel like I’m getting my life back again, when not long ago I truly thought I was losing it!”

-Tracy, Registered Nurse

“You don’t have to accept the hormonal hell of being tired, stressed, overweight, and never in the mood for sex as you grow older. In her fabulous new book, the brilliant Dr. Gottfried gives you an effective, easy-to-follow plan to balance your hormones and become lean, energetic, and loving life again. Stop settling and reclaim your sexy!”

JJ Virgin, Author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy and The Virgin Diet

“I lost 10 lbs., reset my hormones and metabolism and eliminated my sugar cravings! I have also found that I respond to stress much differently, I feel it, notice it and move on from it. Stress no longer has a grip on me. Dr. Sara’s conference calls and detox information was invaluable. I am so grateful for this program. Thank you Dr. Sara!”

Sophia, Dr. Sara’s Detox Challenge Participant

“The Hormone Cure is the playbook for your mojo, your mind, and your bootie. With every chapter I thought, ‘So THAT’s how that works.’ I wanted to call every girlfriend and give them the goods on how to glow… now and always.”

-Danielle LaPorte, Author of The Fire Starter Sessions and The Desire Map

Instagram

Saragottfriedmd

Precision medicine, performance + optimization, bioidentical hormones, NYT bestselling author & physician


Negative Health Impacts of an Adrenaline Rush

The sudden onset of stress and excess stress hormones released in your body can have negative effects. The physical and emotional stress placed on your body and heart can be damaging to your heart. A condition known as broken-heart syndrome happens when your blood flow is reduced because of intense emotional distress.

Adrenaline rushes are hard to measure, so the exact negative impacts are not fully understood. However, continuous stress and epinephrine released into your body can have negative impacts. These impacts can include high blood pressure and anxiety.

Continued

Another negative impact of the adrenaline rush is the feeling of dizziness, light-headedness, and vision change. As your adrenaline rush passes, you may start to feel irritable or unable to stay still.

If your body is getting a lot of epinephrine regularly, your potential for heart damage could increase. Inability to sleep and nervousness are common effects of too much adrenaline.

If you have a pre-existing condition like cardiovascular disease, the added stress of an adrenaline rush can be damaging to your heart.

Whether you're seeking out chances to feel an adrenaline rush or you’re feeling anxious, too much adrenaline can be hard on your body. If stress or panic attacks are common in your day-to-day life, talk to your doctor about ways they can be managed.

Sources

American Association for the Advancement of Science: “Anatomy of an Adrenaline Rush.”

American Heart Association: “Can you really be scared to death?”

British Heart Foundation: “How adrenaline can be a heart breaker.”

Hormone Health Network: “What is Adrenaline?”

People, Ideas, and Things Journal: “Animal Instincts of the Human Body: A Psychological and Skeletal Muscular Analysis of Adrenaline on the Human Body.”


Can MS cause anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion, and causes the body to go into a ‘fight-or-flight’ response which enables us to respond to what we think are danger and threats. This in turn means the body starts to produce adrenaline which can lead to physical side effects. These can include:

If you are experiencing anxiety you may feel worried, nervous or tense. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life, but for some it may be hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives. These people may receive a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, these include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), specific phobias and separation anxiety disorder. These can range from mild to severe.

Receiving a diagnosis of MS understandably will cause most people to experience anxious thoughts. Due to the unpredictable nature of MS, it’s understandable that the feeling of the unknown can make you feel anxious. A common fear for people with MS is around their future and how it might be affected by increasing levels of disability. This is a completely understandable fear, which can leave you feeling persistently or excessively anxious. Feelings of anxiety at certain times are completely normal, see a GP if anxiety is affecting your daily life or causing you distress.

According to a study by the UK MS Register, over half people with MS reported symptoms of anxiety such as feeling tense or restless or sudden feelings of panic.

Generalised anxiety disorder is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed.


The Biochemistry of Anxiety

Anxiety may be a difficult disorder to live with, but it's also a fascinating one. Anxiety can be caused by life experiences, by the chemicals in your brain, or by both. Regardless of the cause of your anxiety, it is treatable.

The neurotransmitters in your brain are affected by anxiety. In this article, we'll give an introduction to the biochemistry of anxiety, and what that means for treatment.


The most common link between anxiety and tremors is adrenaline. Anxiety is the activation of your “fight or flight” response to danger, even when no danger is present. The response triggers a rush of adrenaline, which feeds your body with energy and prepares you to flee or fight. It also constricts your blood vessels.

All of these can cause your body to start shaking/tremor. Most often this shaking is directly associated with your anxious moment, and while temporary, it usually lasts just as long as the threat is present. Do not be alarmed, if the tremor extends despite resolution of other anxiety symptoms.


Hormones That May Reduce Social Anxiety

If you think hormones are all bad—think again! There are actually some ways in which certain levels of hormones can help to reduce your anxiety.

Estrogen

Estrogen is known to calm the fear response in women.   Specifically, research has shown that women trained on a fear-extinction task do better when the level of estrogen in their blood is higher. As a female, you may have also noticed that your ability to feel calm and relaxed (versus anxious and afraid) is better at certain points during your menstrual cycle.

Oxytocin

You've probably heard of the "love" or "bonding" hormone, oxytocin. This is a peptide hormone, which acts as both a hormone and a brain neurotransmitter. It is known as the love hormone because it is released during contact with a loved one.

Oxytocin is made in the hypothalamus and transported and secreted by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. Its release also helps with childbirth and breastfeeding.

In terms of its relation to mental health, oxytocin is known to have an anti-anxiety effect and may help to relieve social anxiety. Research shows that oxytocin promotes relaxation and trust, which makes it easier to manage social situations.   In fact, studies are ongoing on the role of oxytocin and how it could be used in the treatment of social impairments (including the social challenges of autism).

Testosterone

Just as too little testosterone may increase social anxiety, increased testosterone may help to reduce it.   Administration of testosterone, a steroid hormone, has been shown to reduce socially fearful, avoidant, and submissive behavior. Indeed, in general, men have half the reported rate of anxiety disorders as women this may be partially due to the role of testosterone in levels of anxiety.

Testosterone boosts the action of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin. These two brain chemicals are related to social anxiety disorder.

Vasopressin

Finally, vasopressin is a hormone that regulates the body's fluid balance. In addition, it is involved in the regulation of anxiety, stress, and social behavior. Vasopressin is produced within the hypothalamus and released from the pituitary gland.  

Some researchers think that a balance must be struck between oxytocin and vasopressin for optimal social functioning. Vasopressin is particularly related to social behavior, sexual motivation, pair bonding, and maternal responses to stress.



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