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Managing High Anxiety Without the Drugs - Mix your own cure

Sunday, 22 August 2010 20:51

Written by Joseph Hart

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Managing High Anxiety Without the Drugs
The myth of magic cure
Mind Body Connections
Mix your own cure
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Mix Your Own Cure
After her first panic attack on the freeway in Wisconsin, Jenny Arthur went on to experience several more. After that, she says, “I started recognizing this vicious-cycle pattern. I would start to feel anxious and then I would think, Oh God, am I going to have a panic attack?” In turn, her increased anxiety about having one would fuel the onset of an actual panic attack.

This cycle was finally interrupted when her general practitioner recommended CBT treatments. CBT taught Arthur to calm her mind and put her physical reaction to stress in context. “I still use what the therapist taught me,” she says.

On the advice of her CBT therapist, Arthur also cut back significantly on caffeine. “The way he put it is, if I’m at a normal anxiety level of 30, then I’m stressed by work or school to level 60, then that cafe au lait puts me up to level 90 “that’s a lot closer to a panic attack at 100,” she says.

Arthur also uses yoga and controlled breathing to keep herself calm. “I find that yoga keeps my anxiety at a baseline yogaso I don’t have to really think about it much. If I start to feel anxiety building, I do some yoga breathing and it goes away. I’m much more likely now to intervene quickly to keep it at a manageable level.”

Ultimately, regardless of whether or not you choose to treat your anxiety with medication, it makes sense to avail yourself of the full spectrum of other interventions, too from good nutrition and regular exercise, to yoga, deep breathing and psychological approaches like CBT.

In any life, anxiety is bound to come and go. But when it comes on strong enough to impede our health and happiness, it’s comforting to know that the remedies of modern science, ancient wisdom and simple self-care can all offer relief and smart ways to keep future anxieties at bay.


Joseph Hart is a freelance writer in Viroqua, Wis.

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