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What is Anxiety?

Technically, there are several different types of anxiety disorders. However, for the purposes of this article we will look at anxiety in very general terms that could encompass most of the individual types. In this respect, anxiety can be thought of as an emotional imbalance where lingering feelings, emotions, and mental energy are unresolved and thus staying in the body. However, unlike depression disorders, anxiety disorders manifest as hyperactive symptoms as opposed to depressed symptoms.


Natural Treatments for Anxiety

The natural treatments for anxiety are designed to treat the underlying causes and mechanisms contributing to the anxiety. In most cases there are underlying emotional issues that need to be identified and worked with to truly treat and overcome anxiety. However, there are many other non-emotional factors that may perpetuate anxiety and these factors can be addressed with natural treatments.

Nutritional modifications to ensure optimal nutrient intake, removal of food allergies, and stabilizing blood sugar can have profound impacts for people with nutritionally-induced anxiety. Acupuncture and neural therapy can be wonderful to help support the nervous system and let go of emotions stored in the nervous system. Counselling techniques like cognitive behavioural therapy help identify the emotional causes for anxiety and develop effective coping mechanisms. Exercise therapies like yoga and meditation can be very helpful with the physical connection to anxiety. Botanical remedies may be used to help calm the mind and possibly restore neurotransmitter balance. Intravenous infusions of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and homeopathic remedies can support the adrenal glands, nervous system, hormonal system and other organs that may be in need of support for people with anxiety disorders.


Pharmaceutical Treatment Options

The first-line pharmaceutical approach to treating most anxiety disorders in adults is anti-depressant medication. Typically, an SSRI like Prozac, Celexa, Paxil, or Zoloftwill be prescribed to raise serotonin levels in the brain but other forms of anti-depressants like SNRIs to raise norepinephrine levels may be utilized. All SSRIs and SNRIs are considered to be equally effective although it may take several tries to find the medication that works best for an individual.

Acute anxiety disorders like panic disorder are typically managed over the long term with anti-depressant medications and acute attacks are often treated with benzodiazepine medication. Most physicians consider benzodiazepine treatment appropriate only if SSRIs or SNRIs are not effective at controlling anxiety attacks. They are typically used only in acute situations for 2-6 weeks but some physicians may use low doses over long periods of time to prevent attacks. However, this use is controversial as benzodiazepines are associated with side effects, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms.

Buspirone is a medication that has been used to treat panic attacks. It has similar anxiolytic properties to benzodiazepines but is associated with less severe side effects, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms.



Identifying the causes and underlying mechanisms contributing to anxiety symptoms is extremely important in designing successful therapy for anxiety disorders. Natural treatments like dietary modification, counselling, acupuncture, intravenous nutrient infusions, and neural therapy are designed to treat the underlying causes of anxiety, support the body during episodes of anxiety, and prevent future episodes. Pharmaceutical medications are designed to manage symptoms and prevent severe episodes of anxiety attacks.

Natural treatments and pharmaceutical treatments can be used in conjunction to provide successful treatment. However, relying solely on medications for treatment typically masks the symptoms but does not support the treatment of the underlying causes to prevent anxiety in the future. In this way, medication may be best to help a person with severe symptoms get through a rough patch but the natural treatments should be utilized to work on a deeper level.

Read more Natural Health News articles


About the Author

Dr. Brent Barlow is a Naturopathic Physician practicing at The Kelowna Wellness Clinic in downtown Kelowna. Dr. Barlow has been in practice in Kelowna since graduating from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver in 2009.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians, and primarily use natural medicine to treat disease and promote wellness. Dr. Barlow believes strongly in identifying and treating the causes of disease rather than focusing on the treatment of symptoms.

Naturopathic medicine utilizes diet therapy, botanical medicine, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other physical medicine treatments to treat the causes of disease. Dr. Barlow also trained in the specialized treatments of prolotherapy, neural therapy, intravenous nutrient infusions, and chelation therapy.

Dr. Barlow is in general practice and welcomes all individuals and families. As a naturopathic physician he is trained to treat all health conditions in the manner that best suits the goals of each individual patient. He also has special interests in natural treatments for pain management and digestive health.

To learn more about Dr. Barlow's treatments or to schedule a consultation, visit his website at or call 250-448-5610.


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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