Can Anxiety and Stress Cause Us to Be Temporarily Insane?

Category: Patient Engagement Written by Dr. Charles Shively / February 24, 2020

What say you? And you? And you? I say we need relief from our everyday challenges!! Agree? What can we do? Perhaps there are three or four corrections we can implement to align our life to reduce the impact of anxiety and stress. Some individuals believe these challenges can cause anyone to go “temporarily insane”. Are you with me? Let us take the journey to daily sanity! OK?

What does the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) describe as temporarily insane? Often not included in the definition is a wide range of disorders including genetics, neurochemical disorders, life events, etc. The range of events can include panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and phobias. How does this anxiety or stress challenge occur? What causes an individual to become temporarily insane or temporarily anxious or temporarily stress challenged?

Often times, this condition occurs when the physical symptoms of anxiety are continuous for six months or more. Is this a common occurrence for many? Yes! According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders is the most common mental illness in the US affecting 40 million adults 18 and older (18% of the population) every year. Only 37 percent of these afflicted seek treatment.

Stress also is responsible for creating other symptoms that cause primary care physician visits. One of the most widely studied result is sleep deprivation. Research has indicated that more than 70 percent of the US population is sleep deprived…which leads to more stress. Increased stress stimulates the release of cortisol which further challenges sleep quality. Also known is that disrupted sleep patterns can negatively affect the gut flora balance and impact the production of melatonin which typically increases during the evening hours and encourages sleep and relaxation.

Stress also affects digestion and bowel habits. Digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are often the result of stress and anxiety and increase worsening of these conditions during periods of stress. Stress can also cause or enhance the impact of many other non-digestive conditions such as migraine headaches, auto immune conditions and atopic dermatitis on the arms and back. Many of these individuals also suffer from a microbiome imbalance due to faulty gut-brain axis communication (poor hormone coordination) called dysbacteriosis.

The faulty gut-brain axis communication is known to be impacted by diets low in fiber and high in sugars, including antibiotics, environmental pollutants, chronic stress, excessive alcohol use and even lack of appropriate exercise.

Various over-the-counter (OTC) supplements have been studied in consumer clinicals for improvement in sleep deprivation to provide relief from an overactive brain and calm the balance of neuro transmission systems involved in deprived quality sleep, erratic digestive conditions and migraine aura relief, with surprising success using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), the Migraine Disability Assessment Score (MIDAS), and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Score (HADS) as success indicators.

Naturally occurring ingredients found to support and improve both stress and anxiety scores, in human trials, which impact sleep deprivation, erratic digestive conditions, and migraine headaches include gamma-aminobutyric acid (a butyrate) in combination with valerian, chamomile and passionflower herbs, live multi-strain probiotic bacteria, Echinacea angustifolia extract, magnesium and vitamin B6 combinations and in selected conditions hemp oil derived cannabidiol (CBD).

Managing stress and anxiety in everyday life can involve lifestyle adjustments, natural supplements and remedies. Conversation with your pharmacist or healthcare practitioner about these issues is always a good first step. It can assist with the best approach for your day to day quality of life. Are you with me?

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brain health
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