Todd A. Born is a naturopathic doctor, certified nutrition specialist and co-owner and medical director of Born Naturopathic Associates, Inc. in Alameda. Dr. Born’s clinical focus utilizes integrative medicine to treat chronic disease. Make an appointment to find out more at 550-4023, or visit www.bornnaturopathic.com.
How Naturopathy Can Help with Anxiety
Let’s face it: we live in very stressful times. Whether it is the economy, our jobs, inclement weather, our health, the health of loved ones, or even our pets, anxiety can present in many different ways and forms. This time of year, anxiety may be more present for individuals, as well as worse than what one normally experiences.
Anxiety can be acute (lasts more than two days and doesn’t last more than four weeks) or chronic (occurs more days than not, for at least six months). It can be a beneficial part of our existence when used in the short term, for example, alerting us to danger. But sometimes it can take over one’s life and interrupt daily activities, sleep, diet and lifestyle, to the point one just doesn’t even want to go out and socialize. This can lead to serious health concerns and cause relationship issues.
Anxiety can stem from a myriad of causes or a combination of them: caffeine, poor sleep habits, poor diet, lack of exercise and other reasons can worsen symptoms.
For many a decade, conventional medicine has ignored the mind-body connection. Naturopathy, on the other hand, has seen mind, body and emotions as one, working interchangeably and as a whole. Only until recently as conventional medicine and research paid more attention to these matters.
Conventionally, anxiety, regardless of etiology or form, tends to be dealt with anti-anxiety medications, anti-depressants, sleeping medications and, at times, counseling. Naturopathically, we tend to go a step further.
We encourage counseling, but at the same time will look at the whole person: diet, lifestyle, nutrition and social support. We follow a therapeutic order, utilizing the less forceful, least invasive means possible. We have nutrition and lifestyle modifications at our fingertips. We might use botanical medicines or physical medicine. We can utilize other methods such as cell salts (tissue salts) or flower essences.
Many patients may already be on medications and might be worried about potential interactions. These are logical, justifiable and legitimate concerns. This is where homeopathy can play a significant role in your healthcare.
Homeopathy is a system of medicine that has been around for more than 200 years. In fact, before the advent of Penicillin in 1928 and its more widespread usage in the 1930s and ’40s, all medical schools in the U.S. taught homeopathy. Homeopathy sustained as the major form of medicine until the 1950s as pharmaceutical medications became more widely used.
Homeopathy is considered an “energetic” medicine and therefore, does not interact with any medications, supplements or herbs. Much like naturopathy, it takes a person’s physical, mental and emotional picture, much like a jigsaw puzzle, and puts the pieces together to match them to one of about 5,000 remedies — a seemingly daunting task, indeed. Although the science and art behind homeopathy is very challenging, a good naturopathic doctor that utilizes homeopathy doesn’t tend to have much difficulty finding a good remedy to match the entire self.
The constitutional homeopathic is the jigsaw puzzle metaphor. Again, more of a reason to see a trained physician to get a good remedy that helps with not only your anxiety, but with all health concerns. Homeopathy is all about optimizing one’s genetic potential.
To give an example of how powerful this medicine can be, consider a case I had about a year ago. This was a 49-year-old female that presented to my office with concerns of peri-menopausal symptoms, panic attacks, extreme anxiety, chronic migraines and insomnia. Her anxiety presented in the form of inability to cope with day-to-day interactions and circumstances and these lead to panic attacks. The icing on the cake for her was that she had insomnia from the racing thoughts, which worsened her anxiety and lead to more panic attacks.
Upon speaking with her and getting a good picture of her mental, emotional and physical self, I gave her Arsenicum album 1M, three pellets dissolved under her tongue, in office, one time and to return in two weeks. She returned in two weeks and said she didn’t know what I did or gave her, but she had not had one migraine, went from four to six hot flashes a day, to just two in two weeks and no episodes of night sweats.
She only reported one episode of crying and that was because her dog got sick and she had to take him to the vet. She reported that her boyfriend commented on how stable her mood was. Her sleep was the best it had been in years. I told her to return in two more weeks.
Upon follow up, she reported that she still had no peri-menopausal symptoms, was able to cope 95 percent more in her day-to-day interactions and had no further panic attacks.