Some recent statistics reveal a worrisome reality: over 300 million people worldwide suffer from anxiety and another 300 million people suffer from depression, most of whom are women. Granted that some of these cases overlap in one person, the reality is that hundreds of millions of people are dealing with issues that can be treated naturally and wholesomely instead of the poisons of the pharmaceutical industry. Today you will learn about alternative options that actually work based on the research and on personal experience.
My Own Experience with Panic Disorder
When I was in college I had a minor injury playing racquetball, which later developed into a major problem. I slammed up against a wall while running backwards, and as a result a few ribs in my sternum got dislocated. It sounds painful, and it really was. Even minor distances like 1mm can make a drastic difference, and within 12 hours I was experiencing excruciating pain in my chest without understanding where it came from.
At the exact time this was happening, I was also in a heated argument with someone and, together with the pain, it made me think I was having a heart attack and dying. I was about 19 and had no clue about anything, and the ensuing years were filled with a debilitating panic disorder full of useless ER visits, pulling over on the side of the freeway, sleep problems and even an eating disorder when I almost choked to death during a panic episode.
In my first ER visit I was given a tablet of Ativan, which is a very powerful anti-anxiety drug, and within a day my body had serious withdrawal symptoms. It was horrible. My doctor at the time recommended Lexapro, another drug used for depression, and I refused because I had a friend who had been on anti-depressants his whole life and I saw the results. Thinning hair, unpredictable mood, lethargy and just overall a lack of vibrant health.
These experiences ultimately led me to find answers in the alternative health field, and I believe God brought the right people into my life at the right time as He always does. Over 20 years later I am helping others find natural solutions and I have created books, research articles, podcasts and even a health and nutrition course that arms people with the truth in matters of health and skips past the hype.
So, my first point today is that regardless of where you are at: remember that our problems and challenges always lead us to greater things.
A Complex Problem
The next thing to immediately understand is that depression and anxiety are complex problems. Today mental health, like all of mainstream health, is so focused on diagnosis and identifying specific problems that it forgets to consider the issue in light of the whole. Human beings have an integrated body, mind and soul. This means that all problems must be looked at from all 3 lenses, with an effective approach being comprehensive in nature.
In regards to depression and anxiety, an easy thing to list that is often overlooked is the health of the gut. Our gut microbiome produces the majority of serotonin, which is involved in regulating our feelings. The gut also produces most of the melatonin we use, which influences sleep. Research has found that the Vagus nerve, which is a central component to the parasympathetic nervous system (the "rest and digest" part of your nervous system) can be activated by gut bacteria, which can affect a variety of functions in the body.
I know that when I took Cipro, a very dangerous antibiotic in the class of fluoroquinolones (fluoride based drugs), I was shocked at my reaction. I foolishly took it on an empty stomach, which you should never do, and within a few hours I was having suicidal thoughts and massive depression. This goes to show you that the influence of the gut is significant when it comes to depression, and it also shows you that toxins play a major role in upsetting the precious chemical balance within our highly sensitive bodies.
Besides the impact of all of these offenses, there are also the mental and spiritual components that we cannot forget. How you deal with problems and your ability to tolerate change or difficulty is a major factor in whether you feel depressed or anxious. Having a sense of purpose is also important, because if you lack purpose you will inevitably drift into unfruitful and even dangerous activities. Lastly your ability to be grateful is another key, and this is why I created a powerful 10 day course on gratitude to help people master this habit in their lives.
This is just the nature of the human mind. It is fickle and falls easily off balance, and ultimately it is why we need a relationship to God as an anchor in our lives.
The world itself is ruled by death and suffering and change. Nothing significant is in our control, and we are dying every day. These aren't pleasant things to think about but they are the truth. This existence is naturally anxiety provoking and naturally depressing when you come to the truth of it all. But this is by design. The bible says we were cursed with the curse of death because of our disobedience to God, and through this we realize our need for a Savior. Having come to Christ through the gospel has been the most life-changing event that has happened to me, and I can tell you that there is no greater peace then the peace of Christ.
So together all these things are important to remember, since this article is focused on the physical. Anxiety, panic, trauma, depression and obsession are very real. They have natural causes that can be fixed, and they have mental causes that need to be addressed as well through changes to behavior and thinking. They also have spiritual causes, often because we have separated ourselves from God. Because I am a Christian I also believe many of these cases are cases of demonic attack and oppression with the goal of squeezing the life out of a person so they shrink and do not call out to God for help.
Remember that a comprehensive solution will address all aspects of a problem and to always work every angle.
10 Natural Remedies for Anxiety & Depression
To create an exhaustive list of every possible thing that can help anxiety and depression would be beyond the scope of this article, but I will give you several good places to start and investigate because everyone's journey is different. They are in no particular order:
Magnesium. Magnesium is responsible for over 300 reactions in the body. It is a foundational mineral and it is impossible to get in therapeutic amounts in the diet. It is also what your body uses to relax and manage the other electrolytes, like Calcium, which are also involved with depression and anxiety. The best magnesium is chelated, and this product has a great dosage per pill of 175mg.
B Vitamins. B Vitamins are crucial for energy production, focus and mood. There are many B vitamins and each must have their particular form for optimal absorption. For a detailed article on how to pick a quality B Vitamin supplement go here.
Probiotics. As I mentioned previously, the bacteria in your gut are central to your mood and mental performance. Probiotics is one thing that people know, in the sense of supplementing with beneficial bacteria, but there are many other considerations. For a detailed article on how to reset your digestive center go here.
Digestive Enzymes. Digestive enzymes are mentioned because foods that are not digested lead to imbalances in the gut and even inflammation, which gets transmitted to the rest of your body through a leaky gut, the Vagus nerve connection and other ways. Digesting your food doesn't sound like it would relate to depression and anxiety but remember that everything is interconnected. That's why I recommend this product as a comprehensive and potent digestive enzyme for daily use.
Healthy Fats. Having a good deal of healthy fats and Omega 3 in your diet helps to rebuild the brain. Inflammation of the brain from toxins or foods that we eat leads to brainfog which can lead to depression and lethargy. Because the brain is mostly fat, the kind of fats you eat will determine your brain health. If you eat inflammatory fats you will have an inflammatory brain. For a detailed article on making healthy choices with fats go here.
Herbs & Herbal Medicine. Herbs can be a powerful addition to your routine and efforts at healing, but they must be used carefully. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is a great way to explore this, but if you don't have anyone then read this article on some important guidelines on how to use herbs effectively.
Comprehensive Nutrition Program. Ultimately our bodies are under attack every day by toxins, inflammation, aging and a million other things. These things whittle away your body's ability to thrive and that is why supplementation is not an option but a necessity in today's world. Having a complete nutrition program that address the 5 Pillars of Optimal Health is the key, and that is why I always focus on the basics: minerals, enzymes, vitamins, probiotics and antioxidants.
Iodine. This poor mineral has been more demonized than any other, yet it holds the key for natural energy and focus. Iodine is vital for the brain and for every organ in the body, not just the thyroid. Using iodine can be a little tricky and requires some knowledge, this is why I've put together a guide on how to do it right.
Managing Carbs. Being smart about your carb intake (and quality) is very much related to depression and anxiety. Why? Because blood sugar high's and low's are often related to anxiety and depression for many reasons. If you eat too much sugar you train your body to be in "defense" mode with insulin, which causes drastic spikes and crashes in your blood sugar pattern. This results in lethargy after eating and low blood sugar symptoms that can be very anxiety provoking - not to mention the damage to your adrenal glands and stress response. For a detailed article on how to make healthier choices in this area go here.
Tryptophan. The turkey protein that everyone knows and loves. Tryptophan is one of the amino acids and it gets converted through a series of reactions into serotonin and melatonin. There are many ways to implement tryptophan into your routine, and natural products like this one use both normal tryptophan and a little 5HTP for boosting serotonin while also calming the nerves with things like chamomile, hops, lemon balm and valerian. This can be taken during the day when you feel anxious or as a natural sleep aid.
Overall these are research backed, safe interventions that anyone can try with minimal risks. Remember to always consult your health team and do your research thoroughly before implementing any new intervention. Remember that depression and anxiety are a complex problem that must also involve mental and spiritual cleaning. If you're struggling with these issues or implementing a plan, don't be afraid to reach out.