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THE “SILENT DISEASE” – Stress, panic attacks and anxiety

stress, panic attacks and anxiety

We usually tend to pay attention to physical health and well-being. However, in the recent past, there has been a significant increase in mental health issues including stress, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression, affecting the functionality of millions of individuals at both workplace and home. Typically, workplace administration is more likely to approve a leave for someone who caught the flu, in comparison to an individual dealing with severe stress. Even at home, opting for a quick break is common in cases of a headache when compared to taking one because of poor emotional or mental state.  

Moreover, a lot of us are also not keen on admitting that we are dealing with stress, depression, or anxiety. It is only when these issues tend to turn into serious problems, affecting their functionality, that we unwillingly seek help.

It is necessary to look into stress, panic attacks, anxiety, and depression, as mental health problems can cause adverse implications.  

What is stress?

In technical terms, our bodies’ responses to the events that unfold in your everyday life are known as stress. Stress is something that all of us experience. On one hand, stress can act in a positive manner and motivate women like us to go after their dreams and goals. On the other hand, negative stress is common too and it affects various aspects of life. Chronic or excessive stress makes it harder to cope with life.

Moreover, some of us allow chronic stress to build up to the point that stress becomes a norm in our lives. As women, our busy lives do not allow us to take a step back and explore the way in which life is affecting us.  

What are the symptoms of stress?

The symptoms of stress are different or different women, and usually, they manifest in these forms:

  • Physical. Headaches, trouble falling asleep, fatigue, back and neck pain, either excessive eating or under eating, abuse of drug and alcohol, skin issues, absence of energy, stomach issues, decreased interest in sex and other previously enjoyable activities.
  • Emotional. Anxiety, depression, short temper, sadness, constant irritability, the feeling that you are out of control, constant mood swings, frustration.
  • Mental. Problems with memory, excessive worrying, inability to make decisions, negative thoughts, inability to focus, boredom.
  • Occupational. Working excessively, continuous work for long periods, work-based relations are tense, inability to focus, unfulfilling job.
  • Social. Decreased intimacy, increased isolation, issues with family, loneliness.
  • Spiritual. Meaninglessness, apathy, emptiness, unforgiving, doubt, guilt, despair.

What are panic attacks?

Panic attacks are when you face abrupt bouts of terror, which occur without any warning. Such episodes may take place at any point in time, including when you are asleep. An individual who experiences a panic attack might feel like they are experiencing a heart attack or are dying. During a panic attack, the fear that you may experience is not proportional to the actual trigger, and may even be unrelated to what is occurring around them.  

What are the symptoms of a panic attack?

  • Racing or pounding heart
  • Sweating
  • Shaking or trembling uncontrollably
  • Shortness of breath or feelings of being smothered
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Feeling as though everything is unreal and detached from your own self.
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
  • Fear of dying

The feeling of serious anxiousness in a few scenarios, bordering on panic, is extremely uncomfortable. Any situation that you are uncomfortable with and which causes nervousness, anxiety or worry can cause panic attacks. However, you may also experience an attack without any reason or warning. In case you experience a minimum of four of the aforementioned symptoms, particularly when engaging in an activity that causes anxiousness, such as public speaking, you may be dealing with a panic attack.

What is profound anxiety?

If you are stressed, anxiety is a normal response. However, if you find it difficult to control this anxiety, and if it disrupts your everyday life, this may end up disabling you.  About 1 in 5 adults in America suffer from anxiety disorders.1 Women are more prone to suffer from anxiety disorders than men, and the likelihood is two times more.2 Often, counseling or medication, or both are used to treat anxiety disorders. For some women, yoga or meditation works wonders too.

As we are more prone to suffer from anxiety than men, it is crucial for us to understand the common symptoms that women dealing with anxiety disorders experience. For each woman, the symptoms can be different. But typically, these are the symptoms that women commonly experience when they have anxiety issues:

  • Issues with the stomach, which includes consistent nausea, decreased appetite, and pains.  
  • Particularly during events that are stressful, there is an increase in the heart rate
  • Fatigue, exhaustion, or weakness
  • Difficulty focusing
  • The feeling that there is an impending danger
  • Behaviour is jumpy, irritable, and nervous  
  • Issues with a sleep schedule and prominent insomnia
  • Palpitations, trembling and sweating

Why is it important to pay attention?

Symptoms are not always obvious

Unfortunately, the symptoms of mental health issues are not apparent immediately. That is because, more often than not, we may confuse them with other ailments. For example, many mental health conditions come with headaches, insomnia, exhaustion, or problems focusing. As these symptoms are generic in nature, we may either end up overlooking them or attributing them to other problems such as stress and overworking.    

Mental Health Influences Physical Health

There is a common misconception among us that mental health is a distinct aspect, which is exclusive of the other parts of our lives. However, mental health significantly affects physical well-being. If you are suffering from mental issues, it is highly likely that you will also frequently deal with physical issues such as regular sickness and soreness of muscles. Your bodily functions and health are significantly affected by the state of your mental well-being. In case you want to work on your overall physical health, you cannot overlook mental health.

You Owe it to Yourself

Regardless of who you are, you owe it to yourself to feel happy and feel like your best self. This includes physical, emotional, and mental well-being. While your physical health can be enhanced by engaging in regular exercise and turning to a good diet, it is crucial to remain focused on your mental health as well. To ensure this, you must constantly monitor yourself, talk with your loved ones, and if required, seek professional help. Do everything you must to ensure that your mental health is protected.

If you want to remain well mentally, seek help as soon as you notice any discrepancies. Moreover, it is crucial to remain proactive, work on your hobbies, and foster relationships with a close set of friends. The best thing you can do for yourself is to protect your mental well-being, as it can ensure that you live a healthy, happy, and productive life.

Why is medication not the first option for stress, panic attacks, and anxiety?

Are you someone who consumes psychotropic drugs? Currently, 17 per cent of adults in America consume some form of psychotropic drugs. Such drugs basically change the way in which your brain functions in order to effectively treat a mental illness.

However, one negative aspect that is attributed to them is that the theory upon which they were formulated is false. The premise is known as the chemical imbalance myth, according to which, mood disorders are caused by simple chemical imbalances. (2)

Moreover, a particular review conducted on different clinical trials has established that only about 10 to 20 per cent of participants experienced the “true drug effect” of antidepressants, while the rest most likely showed no effect or experienced a placebo effect. (6)

With time, we continue to learn that the effectiveness of antidepressants is way lesser than the perceived effect. Moreover, several physicians and researchers have also expressed concerns that the side effects usually outweigh the benefits demonstrated by these medicines, which includes antidepressant withdrawal symptoms. (3, 4, 5)

After conducting substantial research, even I have arrived at the conclusion that the benefits that these psychotropic/psychoactive/psychiatric drugs (or psychopharmaceuticals) demonstrate are not worth the risks in most cases. Moreover, the risks associated with the consumption of psychoactive drugs cannot be determined before usage.  

A few risks are major side effects, risks of resorting to suicide, problems with the heart, as well as a rise in mental illness. Hence, we do consider that looking at natural substitutes for these drugs is a good idea today.

What is the alternative treatment?

One useful step towards healing is talking to your doctor or mental health professional. However, in some cases, you might want to resort to other forms of unconventional therapies.  

Let us look at a few natural remedies that can help deal with anxiety, which is backed by research.

1. Chamomile

Most of us know that chamomile is commonly used as an ingredient in herbal tea. While some women drink chamomile tea as they enjoy the taste, others usually turn to it as it works effectively to soothe and calm the mind.

A study conducted in 2016 deduced that consumption of chamomile tea can lead to the reduction of symptoms of a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

However, it is important for us to understand that merely consuming chamomile every morning cannot lead to the prevention of anxiety in the future. In fact, the research regarding chamomile’s effect on anxiety is conflicting.

However, we do recommend trying it out as it is highly unlikely for you to experience any side effects from this. Hence, even if it doesn’t reduce anxiety, you know that it won’t cause further damage.

2. CBD (Cannabidiol)

There is an increase in the use of Cannabidiol (CBD), as there are more and more studies concluding that this can work to decrease anxiety levels. Although there isn’t holistic information regarding the association between CBD and anxiety, the studies look quite promising.  

Studies conducted on animals have deduced that CBD can work to decrease stress in rats. Many human studies were also conducted in this context, which deduced that  CBD can work to support individuals with the following anxiety disorders:

According to studies, for the most part, CBD is safe. Moreover, this also does not lead to feeling “high,” unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products. But, you must not consume it in large quantities as it can lead to mild side effects.

Moreover, CBD might engage with other medications. Hence, it is important for you to consult your doctor before you begin consuming it.

3. Herbal supplements

For anxiety issues, another popular herbal supplement is valerian root. According to some studies, the herbal preparation of this plant can help deal with anxiety. However, the results are inconclusive.  

In 2002, a small study was conducted, which deduced that consuming 50 milligrams of valerian root thrice a day, for four 4 weeks, slightly affected the anxiety levels of those suffering from GAD. In another study that was conducted in 2011, it was found that when valerian root is consumed, the symptoms of OCD decreased, without causing major side effects in participants.

But, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor these supplements, and hence, it is possible that they lead to side effects. However, you should consider this alternative if you are trying to treat mild anxiety symptoms.

However, always consult your doctor before taking a supplement, as they may engage with some of the medications that you are on.

4. Journaling and mindfulness

One effective way to process your emotions is by writing down your thoughts. This process is cathartic for many people.

In a study conducted in 2011, it was established that tends to suffer from anxiety felt better after journaling, and their scores were also better on test day.   

There are many other mindfulness practices, such as meditation, which are capable of mitigating stress.   

In 2014, one systematic review deduced that psychological stress can be decreased through meditation. But, you should not substitute medications and therapy with meditation.

5. Exercise

Although exercising and therapy are very different activities, several studies have deduced that it can substantially decrease anxiety.

According to evidence, if you are someone who feels perpetually anxious, you may feel better if you begin working out.

However, exercise cannot work independently to treat your anxiety. It has to be coupled with other forms of remedies and treatments.

Moreover, the amount of exercise that helps tackle anxiety varies from person to person.

6. Other treatment options

It is important to remember that natural treatments may not always work for you. In case you are dealing with severe anxiety, which impacts your daily life, you must consult your doctor and consider these treatment options:

7. A mix of treatment options

It is safe to juxtapose natural treatments with mechanical therapies.

But, if you mix your medications with natural supplements, they may pose risks. Thus, consult your doctor before you combine these two elements.

Takeaway

When it comes to finding an appropriate CBD product, it comes down to personal requirements and choices. The fact is that you may have to experiment to a certain extent before finding an appropriate CBD product that best suits you. Thankfully, there are abundant options. If we have missed out on some vital information, drop a comment, and help out others!   

Disclaimer:

This article was written by an independent and third-party author specialising in CBD, hemp and cannabis research. Any opinion, advice or recommendation expressed in the article does not reflect the opinion of Kana Biosciences LLC. or any of our employees. 

All information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice or instruction nor meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. We do not make any health claims about our products and recommend consulting with a qualified medical doctor or physician prior to consuming our products or preparing a treatment plan for any and all diseases or ailments. It is especially important for those who are pregnant, nursing, chronically ill, elderly or under the age of 18 years of age to discuss the use of these products with a physician prior to consuming. 

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Sofia Milanova

Sofia Milanova

Sophie is an independent writer with a passion for holistic wellness, mental health, gender justice and women's rights. Since 2019 she is an active part of the cannabis movement in Europe, spreading awareness of its health benefits.

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