We all worry about problems that occur in our lives, especially when it comes to family, health, and money. These worries tend to be useful because they allow us to create plans to overcome obstacles. These worries serve us well. However, people with generalized anxiety disorder take these worries to the extreme. They will worry about various topics constantly and think that things will always go badly.  In fact, these people worry so much that they exhibit physical signs of stress.

Common symptoms include worrying about everyday things, even if there is no reason to worry about them.  People with anxiety can’t control their constant worries and they know they worry more than they should. This prevents them from relaxing and concentrating, and can even cause trouble sleeping.  People with anxiety may feel tired, have headaches, be irritable, sweat, feel nauseous, and experience hot flashes.

It is important for people who suffer from anxiety to speak to a doctor about their symptoms.  It is the doctor’s job to determine what diagnosis explains what the patient is experiencing because many other disorders cause similar symptoms.  These include panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, amongst others.  The exact cause of anxiety may not be known and can be different for each individual.  This is why it’s important to make sure each patient is treated uniquely, based on their own presentation.

Help is available.  Many natural therapies have been shown to provide significant relief for anxiety patients.  Naturopathic doctors utilize therapies such as dietary and nutritional supplementation, herbal remedies, and counselling, to name a few.  These therapies have been validated and supported by evidence found in scientific literature.

One example is a supplement called 5-HTP.  5-HTP is an all-natural supplement derived from the seed extract of the plant Griffonia simplifolia.  It is the precursor to the important signalling molecule serotonin.  Low serotonin levels have been implicated in various mood disorders.  Many studies have shown that 5-HTP increases serotonin in the body and is an effective therapeutic tool for mood disorders.  It may also act more quickly than conventional medications.

Another example is a herb called Rhodiola, which is known as an adaptogen.  It helps with anxiety by helping the body cope with stress.  It allows the body to endure stress for a longer period of time without leading to burnout.  It also allows the body to respond to stressful events appropriately without becoming overly stimulated.

GABA is a nutritional supplement which inhibits the production of excitatory impulses from reaching the brain.  These impulses enhance panic, alarm, and fear.  Anti-anxiety drugs that are normally prescribed for similar conditions can sometimes be abused.  This risk is non-existent with GABA supplementation. GABA has been shown to be effective in helping treat anxiety.

It is important for people who experience anxiety to be monitored by a health-care practitioner so that an appropriate and safe treatment is selected that does not interfere with other medications. 

Naturopathic doctors seldom use one therapy. They combine many therapeutic modalities together to create a synergistic treatment plan. These plans are discussed and explained in detail with patients.  Patients are listened to and well-supported.  The outcomes of combined naturopathic therapies mean that patients feel less anxious and more relaxed.  They are able to resume their daily lives without worrying about the little things.