Eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate may benefit health in many ways. In fact, some research suggests that chocolate is now considered an anti-aging, anti-inflammatory “superfood” for the brain and body. Although we need a lot more research before experts agree, some studies examining the health benefits of chocolate suggest … Read More
Anxiety is an emotional and physical response to a stressful situation. For example, right before an important presentation at work, you might notice that your breathing quickens, your heart starts to beat faster, your palms sweat, and you feel sick to your stomach. Some anxiety is normal, but when it?s continuous it can become overwhelming and damaging.
Anxiety symptoms are triggered by the body?s fight or flight mechanisms. In response to a stressful encounter or situation, the body releases chemicals such as cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. These chemicals prepare your various body systems to run away, or to stay and fight the challenge. Your heart rate and breathing speed up, sending oxygen to your brain (for planning) and muscles (for action).
The changes that occur in your body as a result of these chemicals produce anxiety symptoms such as a fast heartbeat, nausea, sweating, trembling, chest pain, hot skin, shortness of breath, tense muscles, and weakness in the legs or butterflies in the stomach. People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a condition that causes persistent worry, have more continuous anxiety symptoms. These can include muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, shakiness, muscle tension, sweating, and a need to use the bathroom frequently. In people with panic disorder, anxiety symptoms come on suddenly, feel intense (racing heart, trouble breathing, dizziness, chest pain), and cause extreme worry.
When these anxiety symptoms strike day after day, they can become too much for your body to handle. Excess anxiety and stress can cause wear and tear on your heart and blood vessels, increasing your risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke. Continuously tense muscles can lead to headaches and back pain. Chronic stress and anxiety also contribute to body-wide inflammation, which increases the risk for conditions like heart disease, asthma, arthritis, and depression.
It has long been known that women are twice as likely as men to suffer from generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder. What has not been understood, however, is exactly why. But medical research is beginning to uncover the explanations for this gender-based paradox, giving us as clearer picture of … Read More
It's normal to feel a little apprehensive from time to time. Let’s face it—life can be stressful. All of us worry about things like financial problems, work, family struggles, or health. But sometimes anxiety can become so severe that completing simple, everyday tasks is difficult. When this occurs, it may … Read More
It’s hard to believe that by altering the bacteria in your gut, you can better handle stress, improve your mood, and even treat your anxiety or depression. But an explosion of research into the fascinating world of the gut-brain connection is showing just that. We now know that you can … Read More
Lavender is believed to have an exotic history dating back as far as 2,500 years. The ancient Greeks commonly referred to lavender as Nard, after the Syrian city of Naarda. The Romans used lavender—much like we do today—as a pleasing aroma for linens, soaps, and shampoos. In fact, the name … Read More
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the brain’s most abundant inhibitory, or “calming,” neurotransmitter. While GABA is known primarily for its ability to put you in a relaxed state, it actually plays a crucial role in regulating many aspects of mood, attention, cognition, and sleep. GABA deficiency symptoms may involve any of these … Read More
What is a panic attack, and how do panic attack symptoms affect us? It's an important question, because so many of us experience them: "Each year, about one in 10 people experiences a panic attack," according to data published by the Department of Psychology at Northern Illinois University. First, let's … Read More
It might not surprise some, but there’s actually considerable evidence that men are physically less vulnerable to stress and anxiety than women. Research suggests, for instance, that the body’s stress response is less readily activated in men than women and less long-lasting. In addition, fluctuations in female hormones such as … Read More
Around the time of menopause, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy significantly lessens not only women’s menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, but also symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to a study at the University of Texas Health Center recently published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Compounding. Menopause can cause symptoms … Read More
People who struggle with feelings of anxiety frequently turn to medications to help ease their symptoms. However, the large number of medications and their varying characteristics can sometimes make it challenging to find the one most likely to restore normal mood with a minimum of side effects. We asked a … Read More