Treating Anxiety without medication

1. Get checked by your primary care physician for any medical problems, for
example hyperthyroid,
food allergy, blood sugar or heart problems.
2. Psychotherapy can greatly help in the treatment of anxiety. Many types of
therapy have anecdotal evidence for working. One form of therapy in particular,
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, has been shown to benefit patients with all kinds
of anxiety problems. You can read more about it at Wikipedia.
3. Deep breathing. This improves blood flow, oxygen delivery and helps diminish
the adrenalin response of the nervous system. There is a description of this and
other relaxation techniques at http://www.umm.edu/sleep/relax_tech.htm.
4. Good sleep is very important in managing anxiety. There are tips to help with
sleep at the website referred in #3, or on my website “education page”, under the
tab “sleep tips”.
5. Get at least 15 minutes of sunlight exposure per day. This helps increase Vitamin
D in the body; low levels of Vitamin D may contribute to anxiety and depression
as well as other medical problems. In addition, if you are outside getting some
sun, you are likely taking a break and/or removing yourself from a stressful
environment.
6. Substance use can cause anxiety, especially cocaine or other stimulants and
withdrawal from alcohol or marijuana. Caffeine should be avoided as well; it has
been associated with exacerbating or causing anxiety.
7. There are several natural or “complementary alternative” medications available.
Most have minimal data for efficacy, such as Kava, St. John’s Wort, and Valerian.
Avoid taking any of these until you can discuss them with a provider who is
experience with using them.
8. Magnesium, which is abundant in green vegetables, nuts, some beans, tofu, soy
milk, and whole unrefined grains may help in decreasing stress.
9. Supplementation with Inositol, a natural occurring substance that is considered a
B Vitamin, has been shown in studies to help reduce anxiety problems, especially
panic and obsessive compulsive issues.
10. Eat a healthy diet with a wide variety of fresh produce. Avoid fried foods,
processed foods, and sugars. A diet like this will be replete with vitamins and
minerals such as Magnesium and Inositol.
11. Engage in regular exercise; evidence shows that exercise can improve symptoms
of anxiety. It likely helps balance neurochemicals
in the brain that balance mood
and anxiety. Research suggests that any kind of physical activity that increases
heart rate is good and should be at least 30 minutes three to five days per week. If
you do not exercise regularly, you should work up to this, may be best to consult a
personal trainer. Do not exercise within three hours of when you plan to go to
sleep for the night.
12. Stay active socially. This tends to be distract from the anxious thoughts or
feelings; additionally, having social supports is protective against anxiety.
13. Yoga has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety.
14. Take time to yourself; get away from your stressors, and learn to manage stressors
you can. Taking a break is a good time to practice deep breathing.
15. Meditation may help. This is a process that takes practice and effort in order to
clear the mind. The more you do this, the easier it gets.
16. Some people benefit from acupuncture, hypnosis, and biofeedback as well.

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