Lightning Process and Anxiety and Phobias

Does the Lightning Process work for anxiety panic attacks and phobias? The Lightning Process is an expensive course that blends various therapies and schools of treatment, including Osteopathy, NLP and CBT, to create a technique that can be used to cure anything from anxiety to chronic fatigue, and claims to be beneficial in other physical diseases as well.

It is a three day course and normally taught in groups. It is wrong to refer to the Lightning Process as a therapy. Really it is a technique that you learn to apply to your life, or in this case to anxiety, panic and phobias.

The basis for the Lightning Process is that we have got into patterns of behaviour which have lead us to be for example anxious or phobic at a particular time, or given particular cues. The idea is that you can effectively override these patterns of behaviour and choose how you want to feel. You do this through using posture, old memories and associations, and determination.

Through this, and self-coaching, you can bring about a change in feeling. And surprisingly, it does indeed seem to work for anxiety! It doesn’t necessarily work instantly, and you might have to go through the process again and again, but I did make definite improvements and quickly. My anxiety is now much less of a problem and of course I will make more improvements as I persevere.

The course itself seemed rather long, and I did think it could have been pushed into a single afternoon and therefore made cheaper. It’s a great technique, and a breath of fresh air from all the many expensive therapies that don’t work at all. If you can afford it, go for it!


Anxiety Disorder Herbal Remedies

What are the best herbal remedies for anxiety disorders? There are various options available. Let’s have a look at some of the most effective ones.

One of the most widely used is Valerian. It is thought to work on the GABA receptors just like Benzodiazepine drugs like Valium. It is more subtle than Valium but is rated by many people for anxiety disorder. Usually it needs to be taken regularly for a week or so before the effects become apparent, but it can also be used on an as needed basis, although it is probably not as effective that way.

Passiflora is also popular and tends to be helpful for anxiety disorder. Like Valerian it should be taken regularly to become fully effective.

My personal experience with Valerian and Passiflora (but Valerian most of all) is that it works rather well and gives a pleasantly relaxed sensation. I didn’t notice any benefit for insomnia, but for general anxiety I am sure it helped.

Other herbs commonly used for anxiety I am less impressed with, Chamomile is a nice drink but does little for anxiety in my experience. In fact I found it as relaxing as drinking warm water (actually, that’s not as silly as it sounds, a cup of warm water is a very relaxing drink and surprisingly enjoyable!).

If your Anxiety Disorder effects your sleeping then Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) might well be helpful. You can buy it as a tea and drink it before bed.

Although it’s not a herb, you might also be interested in L-Theanine which you can buy in caplets or by consuming green tea or green tea extract. It has actually been shown in studies that Theanine can promote relaxation. It is also a natural and well-tolerated product which is available in health food stores.

Magnesium for Anxiety

Magnesium deficiency can result in anxiety. There are several reasons for this but the main one is that we tend to produce more adrenaline when we are magnesium deficient and more adrenaline equals more anxiety.

But the  relationship between magnesium and anxiety is more complex than that. Magnesium is something of a “wonder” nutrient, performing more than three hundred critical roles in our bodies. Many of those roles can actually aid anxiety and keep us calmer. For example magnesium is important for relaxing muscles. The easier it is to relax our bodies the less anxiety we will have.

There is no doubt that we all need to get sufficient magnesium into our bodies. The fact is that several generations ago people got more magnesium naturally through their diet. Convenience and Fast food is often low on magnesium so obviously eating more natural and whole foods will go some way to increasing your magnesium intake, and this is an important part of an anti-anxiety diet. But, some people argue that there is still not enough magnesium available in a healthy diet. It’s not just diet that has changed over the generations, its farming practices as well. Intensive farming has robbed the soil of nutrients like magnesium, so even organic food doesn’t have enough.

So if you ave a magnesium deficiency that is linked to anxiety then supplements might be your only option.

Correcting a magnesium deficiency takes time.  I have heard people say that they felt better after three days, but I suspect this is the placebo effect. Normally you would expect to wait three months at least before seeing any change in your anxiety.

There are lots of types of magnesium on the market, and choosing can be confusing. Typically, nutritional science hasn’t yet decided whcuh type is best. Generally, magnesium citrate is the one to go for, offering a good balance between cost, absorbency and side-effects.

Dose-wise I recommend using 2-300mg per day divided into at least two doses. If you find magnesium causes insomnia (some people do find it over-energizing) then take it earlier in the day.

Some books suggest higher doses, even as high as 6-800mg a day. I have it on good authority from a doctor that your body can’t absorb much beyond 300mg a day so I suggest saving your money and being patient for results!

Magnesium works with Calcium (Calcium is also important for anxiety) and you need to have both. If you supplement Magnesiums try and supplement at least as much Calcium. The ideal ratio of Magnesium to Calcium is much argued about, and I suspect that different ratios are correct for different people. If you feel you have a high calcium diet then you nay want to supplement less calcium or none at all.

If you are interested in the physical causes of anxiety then Killing Anxiety From The Roots will be of interest to you.

Does Anxiety Go Away?

Does Anxiety Go Away is one of the most frequently asked questions. And the answer is yes. Anxiety has a cause and that cause has a remedy or a solution and therefore the anxiety does go away, when that cause has been treated.

We are not yet terribly successful in treating anxiety quickly. More often than not people report having had anxiety for years, even decades. So for them, this question is asked more in desperation.

Most people do find a solution to their anxiety and either live with minimal anxiety that they can cope with, or live anxiety-free. It is a treatable condition.

The quickest way to make anxiety go away is with drugs. But of course there are drawbacks. Benzodiazepines are too addictive for long term use and can cause rebound anxiety, which is worse than the initial anxiety! SSRI’s like Celexa often have unbearable side-effects and many people report putting on weight.

But the big drawback of drugs is that they treat only symptoms, not problems, so you always need them.

CBT likewise treats symptoms, negative thinking and avoidance. Psychologists will tell you that these are the cause of anxiety, but believe me, they are wrong. I believe that anxiety doesn’t have psychological causes when it is free-floating (it does for specific phobias). Anxiety is largely physical and you need to treat the root physical cause. I recommend Killing Anxiety From The Roots.

I also recommend checking out The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook USA Editionand UK/Europe Edition. I think this is the best all round practical book on dealing with anxiety disorders.

But even in your darkest hour, when you ask the question does anxiety go away, i can assure you that it does. Keep seeking a solution and you shall find it.

Weight Loss After Antidepressants

Losing weight while on anti-depressants is extremely hard. Many anti-depressants, including Celexa, Zoloft, Prozac and Seroxat/Paxil commonly cause weight gain and some people gain as much as 7-10% of their initial body weight.

While you are taking these medications it can be very hard to keep the weight down. Obviously careful eating and regular exercise will help, but many people find that exercise and diet are not enough to actually lose the weight they put on. Probably, the only sure-fire way to lose weight is, under your doctors supervision, to come off the drugs or at least reduce the dose.

If you or your doctor are not sufficiently happy with your progress in terms of the depression or anxiety that the drug was treating, then you will have to decide whether short term weight-gain is more or less important than your mental well-being. You could also see if your doctor would be prepared to move you to another anti-depressant, Serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are not so frequently associated with weight gain however the doctor may not be prepared to prescribe these due to cost or may not feel they are right for your symptoms.

If you do stop taking antidepressants altogether then losing the excess weight you gained becomes much easier. Lots of people make one common mistake: they think that coming off the drugs is all they need to do. Wrong.

Coming off the SSRI’s is just the first step. Normally, your metabolism will return to normal so you won’t put more weight on, but the weight you have gained can be stubborn. Over time, it will decrease on its own but that can take months and years depending on how much weight you gained.

You have to face it, there are no short cuts. Losing weight will take some effort on your part. You should:

Cut down on calories, but not too drastically. You don’t want to loose weight quickly as it has a habit of coming back. Make a note of your average daily food intake and reduce the number of calories by about ten percent.

Then you have to start an exercise regime and make sure you include plenty of cardiovascular exercises. Running and swimming are best, but cycling and walking are also good. It is important not to overdo it as you will just born out or lose motivation. Start of just with short exercise periods you can cope with and move up gradually until you can exercise for about an hour. There are some good books on the subject The Eden Diet: You Can Eat Treats, Enjoy Your Food, and Lose Weight is a best seller in the USA. You Can Be Thin: The Ultimate Programme to End Dieting… Forever is a best seller in the UK. 

The other useful thing is to add some anaerobic exercises which build muscle. Although muscle is heavier than fat it acts to increase metabolism, meaning you burn more calories and therefore more fat!

It’s hard to know how long weight loss will take as everyone is different. But you have to be patient.

It would be great if people shared their personal experiences below.

Rebound Anxiety

Rebound Anxiety is anxiety that is caused by stopping taking some form of medication. It is most common to get rebound anxiety from tranquilisers such as benzodiazepines (see Does Xanax Work for Anxiety) and also anti-depressant SSRI’s such as Prozac and Celexa.

Rebound anxiety is thought to be caused by the fact that many drugs (including benzodiazepines and SSRI’s) achieve their goal by fooling the brain into believing that levels of certain brain chemicals are higher than they really are. The brain then cuts down on its own production of said chemicals leaving you deficient unless you keep taking the drugs.

The answer is to not get hooked in the first place. But failing that, it is best to withdraw slowly, to taper off from the drugs. This will allow your body to compensate by making more and more of its own chemicals.

That is why medication alone is never the answer to anxiety and panic attacks, only a symptomatic cure and one with major downsides.

Anxiety in Children

Anxiety in children is not uncommon, in fact some anxiety during childhood and adolescence is the norm rather than the exception. Children have a lot to learn and a lot to explore, and some of that can be stressful. This is part of the learning process and the growing up process and parents and caregivers shouldn’t try to completely protect a child from it, children need to learn to do that themselves. What I am talking about thus far is normal low level anxiety that arises from the everyday harshness of real life.

More of a problem is when children start to experience unreasonable anxiety. Unreasonable anxiety is hard to define, but if it is interfering with education, development or socializing then you can be pretty sure it has gone too far.  Some children can develop phobias of school or of going out alone. These insecurities may manifest as panic attacks or move in different directions like eating disorders or self-harm.

Often childhood anxiety can manifest as irritability, panic attacks, phobias, fear of being alone, difficulty sleeping, bed wetting.

The most important thing to do is to get help. Schools, doctors surgeries and health clinics should all be able to offer advice. If the school has a counseling service then that is a good place to start.

Treatment wise, children are generally not prescribed medication such as SSRI’s or Benzodiazepines unless it’s really necessary. Indeed drugs like prozac may cause psychological symptoms to worsen in children.

Luckily, children are quick learners and can respond well to therapy and counseling, and can be taught to relax.

Lastly, it is important for parents and caregivers to make sure the child feels loved and accepted. This in itself can be a big part of the solution to childhood anxiety.

Xanax Anxiety

Xanax, also known by the generic name Alprazolam, has been licensed in the USA to treat anxiety and panic attacks since 1981. It is used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, panic disorder and, in some cases, depression. It is a member of a family of drugs known as Benzodiazepines. It is a mild tranquilizer.

Many people who have experienced drugs like Valium may be aware of how Benzodiazepines can make you feel doped and sleepy. Xanax is not like this for many people. In my own personal experience Xanax didn’t make me feel very different at all, just much much calmer. I didn’t get any of the side effects listed, and in an ad hoc experiment to see how my reaction times were effected I actually found my reactions to be almost exactly as good as when I wasn’t on Xanax.

Some people do suffer from side effects, sleepiness, dizziness and vertigo, nausea. But these drugs are rather well-tolerated.

In terms of dose, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions. I personally worked my way up from the 0.25mg dose which is the lowest available and now take 1.5mg on an as needed basis.

Initially I took a tiny amount of one Xanax tablet to see how I tolerated it. As I was fine I took the rest. Some people who suffer from anxiety may have a psychosomatic side effect of feeling a sudden onset of anxiety or panic whenever they try something new. This can mean that at first a Benzodiazepine has a paradoxical effect. If I were you I would persevere, as for the short term relief of temporary anxiety and panic attacks this drug is very useful and very effective.

A word of caution. Like all Benzodiazepines, Xanax can be habit forming. If you take it for too long you may need to taper off slowly to avoid withdrawal effects. Also, if you take it often you may find you need to take more to get the same effect. Your doctor will be able to advise you on this.

I don’t recommend you buy from online pharmacies without prescription, you don’t know what you are getting or how safe it is, or even if it will arrive or not!

See also:

Xanax for travel anxiety.

Treatment for Anxiety

Choosing the best treatment for anxiety is a potential minefield. There are two many treatments out there to name ranging from the clinically proven to the wacky and bizarre.

My first piece of advice is to do some Cognitive Behavior Therapy. I am not saying that CBT cures anxiety or that it is the best treatment for anxiety. What I am saying though is that the cognitive skills learned in CBT form the back bone of positive thinking and changing thought patterns.

It the bad old days CBT was expensive and your insurance or health service would only let you have a few miserable sessions. Now CBT is much more in your control. You can read some great books on CBT which have practical exercises and seeing an expert might not be necessary at all. There is another option that has become increasingly popular and that is computerized CBT. You can use this online and it takes you through various exercises. There are many websites offering this service for free or a nominal price. Moodgym is one such.

In an article about treatments for anxiety it would be normal to talk about drugs, medication and herbs. i won’t talk about any of those because they don’t treat anxiety, they mask the symptoms.

I will however talk about nutrition. Anxiety can be causes or exacerbated by a lack of Omega 3 fats and some vitamin and mineral deficiencies. You should consider supplementing with a good quality fish oil that has a high EPA content. Also, make sure you are getting enough B vitamins.

If you have IBS your stomach may not absorb vitamins and minerals well enough. This could lead to deficiencies so a modified diet which avoids food which you can’t tolerate may help in the long term. There is certainly a link between IBS and Anxiety.

For more on drugs read Anxiety Medication Over The Counter.

Lastly you need to learn how to relax. A CBT therapist will teach you breathing and relaxation exercises but in my opinion there is nothing better for anxiety than mindfulness meditation. The simple act of becoming aware of what is around you, living in the present moment, observing thoughts without letting them become you or take you over, is the most calming thing. Like all good things it comes to those who wait, or to be more precise those who are patient and can practice mindfulness regularly.

Avoid weight gain SSRI’s

Lots of people have had weight gain problems with  Celexa (citalopram) and Cipralex/Lexapro (escitalopram). Indeed most psychotropic drugs can potentially cause weight gain.

Advice for  avoiding weight gain.

Firstly let’s cover the basics: try to eat well, make sure you eat whole foods, complex carbohydrates and keep refined sugars and processed fats to a minimum. Also, take plenty of exercise. Whether you are taking an SSRI for depression, panic attacks or anxiety, you are almost guaranteed to feel better to some extent just by exercising. It also of course keeps weight off.

Now the clever part: One hour or so before meals it a high carbohydrate snack. This could be some fruit, some oatcakes, even high cocoa content chocolate. Don’t eat too much, say a couple of hundred calories, and try to eat something that isn’t too refined, so your body burns it slowly.

You should then find that this carbohydrate snack has boosted the Serotonin levels in your brain and that this will limit your food cravings. (click here to understand why carbohydrates boost Serotonin levels.) Your appetite will return to more reasonable levels and you should keep/gain control of your weight. Worth a try anyway!

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