Generalized Anxiety Disorder
BY JONATHAN BOWEN
Areas of the brain that affect anxiety
The Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a mental health disorder that causes a person to experience excessive anxiety and constant worry about many issues.
According to author Dr. Joseph Mercola, anxiety is a healthy and natural response which can become unhealthy if overstimulated:
Anxiety is a natural, normal response to potential threats, which puts your body into a heightened state of awareness.
When felt appropriately, anxiety is beneficial and can keep you out of harm’s way… the anxiety you may feel while hiking near a steep drop-off, for instance, will cause you to be more careful and purposeful in your movements.
For an estimated 40 million US adults, however, anxiety may occur even when there’s no real threat, causing unnecessary stress and emotional pain. While many believe anxiety and stress to be the same, persistent anxiety actually evokes quite a different experience in your brain. (1)
Anxiety is a defensive mechanism that is designed to trigger hormones to heighten reflexes, raise the heart rate, and increase circulation to allow you to respond more quickly. Anxiety is usually the result of fear from internal thought mechanisms. The National Institute of Mental Health describes some of the mechanisms involved in anxiety:
“Several parts of the brain are key actors in the production of fear and anxiety… scientists have discovered that the amygdala and the hippocampus play significant roles in most anxiety disorders. The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure deep in the brain that is believed to be a communications hub between the parts of the brain that process incoming sensory signals and the parts that interpret these signals. It can alert the rest of the brain that a threat is present and trigger a fear or anxiety response. The emotional memories stored in the central part of the amygdala may play a role in anxiety disorders involving very distinct fears, such as fears of dogs, spiders, or flying. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that encodes threatening events into memories.” (2)
Sometimes the things worried about are real, sometimes, they are trivial, but the anxiety experienced can be all-consuming and affect the quality of life of the person with GAD.
Problems with Concentration and “going blank.”
If untreated, GAD can lead to severe depression, which may result in loss of interest in life, loss of appetite, loss of self-esteem, and even suicide. The condition is not to be taken lightly. Generalized Anxiety Disorder can affect all ages and walks of life.
There are many individual and group therapies, mostly aimed at teaching the individual to confront their fears as a coping mechanism. These require a significant time commitment, and it may take several rounds to focus on the most effective area. However, not all causes are phycological, and even ones that still involve the chemistry of the brain.
As with most mental health issues there are myriads of drugs are manufactured to alter the chemistry of the brain to treat anxiety and stress.
Some medications are designed to block the reabsorption of serotonin to improve mood. However, the side effects include insomnia or sleepiness, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, stomach upset, headaches, increased blood pressure, etc.. In addition, anxiety can be a side effect and can mitigate the benefit of the medication.
Other medications such as Benzodiazepines (alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, valium and lorazepam) are designed to promote calming and relaxation, plus reduce physical symptoms of anxiety such as muscle tension. These drugs work on the brain the same way opioids such as heroin and cannabinoids such as cannabis do by turning on the dopamine hormone in the brain. However, many of these are not tolerated well and will lead to dependence.
Due to the problems with the Benzodiazepines, other antidepressants are used, which include the tricyclic family. These side effects include dropping in blood pressure when standing up (orthostatic hypotension), constipation, urinary retention, dry mouth, and blurry vision.
Many medical solutions only add to the anxiety of the person suffering. Therefore, we would like to take a moment to consider how PEMF can help with stress, anxiety and depression.
The most common treatment is medication - but it has many side effects.
PEMF electrically excites the neurons to dispense their natural chemicals and restore normal brain function.
PEMF and Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Pulsed Electro Magnetic Fields (PEMF) are very effective in treating GAD, depression, and general anxiety without the side effects that medications can cause. Rather than introducing foreign substances into the brain, PEMF electrically excites the neurons to dispense their natural chemicals, helping to balance out deficiencies and restore normal brain function.
Clinical studies have shown the effect of PEMF on Generalized Anxiety Disorders:
“…studies have found low-energy emission therapy to be effective in the treatment of chronic insomnia, and suggests that it may also be of value for patients suffering from generalized anxiety disorders. (3)
The benefits have also been found for depression and Parkinson’s disease: