What Is Anxiety, and How Do You Treat It?
People talk about depression, talk about PTSD, and about bipolar disorder. But how do you talk about anxiety? How do you know if you have anxiety, and how do you find anxiety treatment that won’t make you sleepy so you can do things without being tired…or without being overwhelmed?
What is it, really?
Anxiety Shatters Innocent Trust
Seven-year-old Chrissy climbed the stairs to take her bath…. It was dark upstairs. She wondered what could be lurking in the shadows. Surely there was nothing to be afraid of. She tried to convince herself that this is home, and her parents kept the doors locked, so no one could have crept in to wait for her upstairs in the dark.
There was nothing to be afraid of!
But her reasoning didn’t seem very convincing. As she reached the top stair step, and turned past the landing, groping in the darkness to find the bathroom doorway so she could flip on the light, her eyes tried to adjust.
Out of nowhere, two hands grabbed her in a sudden burst and she screamed in terror. Her 12-year-old brother burst into laughter and fell to the floor rolling around in glee.
“That’s not funny, Ben!!”
Anxiety Builds Obstacles to Moving Forward
…Eleven years later, Chrissy hugged her mom and dad goodbye, after they’d unloaded the car of all her boxes. They were about to drive back home and leave her to unpack and set up her dorm room. She would register tomorrow for classes. This was her first time living away from home.
She climbed the stairs of the dorm, walked down the long lonely hall, and stood before the door to her room.
Her throat went dry, her stomach cramped, her palms sweaty.
The key was in her hand but she couldn’t bring herself to push the key into the lock. A nightmare of some kind awaited her … she just knew it. What if her roommate didn’t like her? What if she wasn’t welcome…? Or worse, what if there were people inside who made fun of her?? This would have to be her home now, and what if she couldn’t relax here?
Why did she come? She wasn’t ready for this. She was too insecure, too shy. This was never going to work.
What had she been thinking????
Chrissy continued to stand in the hall. Looking at that closed door. Off behind her, she could hear voices. Chatter. Laughing….
She knew they were laughing at her. NO ONE goes to college without the maturity to walk into a dorm room.
She was going to be the laughingstock of the entire campus.
Finally, in one big moment of resolve, she wiped her wet palms on her jeans, shoved the key into the lock, opened the door, and walked in.
Anxiety Can Erode the Foundations of a Solid and Resilient Life
Nine years have passed since that day in the dorm hallway. Chrissy thinks sometimes she’ll never be able to manage her own life. She’s been to college, completed her degree, although there were some shaky times.
She’s held a couple jobs, but something always seems to go wrong. She keeps thinking she needs to build a career … but hardly knows where to begin.
Her self-confidence isn’t great, and she tries to hide it behind flashy clothes and makeup. She tries to appear to “have it all together,” but deep inside she wishes she could hide from the world.
Her live-in boyfriend works hard and works out, but with abuse in his childhood and PTSD from combat in Afghanistan, there isn’t much peace at home. His hyper-vigilance and flashbacks make the nights like a terror movie. She never knows when he’ll fly into a rage … or come at her. It’s a living nightmare, but she doesn’t want anyone to know what goes on…so she keeps it all to herself.
Over time, it seems to get harder and harder to just leave the house. One day last week she was at work and panic rose up inside her. She was shaking, trembling, and just couldn’t see much besides bright lights. She grabbed her purse and walked out. Got in her car and drove home. She hasn’t left the house since.
Not that she hasn’t tried. This morning she even put her things in a bag to go see a friend. Got into her car. And sat there. Why was this so hard? She reached into her purse to get the key. But couldn’t get it into the ignition. Just …couldn’t.
So she sat there. And cried…and cried….
Severe Anxiety Can Prevent You From Finding Your Place in This World …and Flourishing
Anxiety comes in lots of forms. It can be a nagging dread about entering a public place, or about joining a group of people. Sometimes the dread is worse than other times.
Sometimes it’s a sickening feeling that interferes with your good intentions.
Other times it’s a crippling terror that plants your feet – as if they’re concrete – bolted to the sidewalk.
Sometimes anxiety turns on faucets of sweat that run down your face and sides while you ride an elevator. Or makes your mind go blank when you stand up to give a presentation you’ve worked on for weeks.
A date with a someone new can lead to abdominal cramps, headache, and diarrhea.
But anxiety symptoms can get much, much worse. A rapid heartbeat and sweaty hands, face, and torso, along with severe chest pain and shortness of breath can mimic a heart attack. Many people wind up in the emergency room — and they’re shocked when they’re told they’re having a panic attack, not a heart attack.
How Can You Get Ahead of Anxiety…???
The traditional treatment for anxiety has been antidepressants, anxiolytics, and therapy.
But. Unfortunately, only about one third of people who suffer with depression, anxiety, or both, get better with antidepressants or therapy, or both. Another third are believed to be helped with a second medication or combination of medications.
So about a third of all people with anxiety continue to suffer, lose their jobs, and sabotage their relationships with symptoms they can’t control.
Is There An Anxiety Treatment that Doesn’t Make You Sleepy?
Because IV ketamine works on different parts of the brain than traditional antidepressants, ketamine treatment can now make the difference for 80% of those people who’ve been left untreated. And un-helped.
And it yields extraordinary results in people who suffer from mood disorders by:
- clearing away and rebuilding the synapse connections, dendrites and dendritic spines,
turning on mRNA to turn on DNA and turbo boost brain-derived-neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and
speeding up the movement of G proteins off the lipid rafts in the cell membranes
All in all, ketamine helps rebuild brain structures that support communication through the prefrontal cortex and deep into the brain.
Ketamine Brings Your Brain to Life
Ketamine doesn’t make you sleepy. In fact, ketamine wakes up your brain. As the synapses are restored, signals travel faster and faster deep into the brain, bringing a sense of well-being along with initiative, creativity, and order.
Your brain will function at a much more effective and efficient level. You’ll feel like your best self. Your sleep will improve when you’re sleeping, and your alertness will improve when you’re awake. It’s pretty extraordinary.
This is anxiety treatment that doesn’t leave you sleepy. There’s no fatigue, no weight gain, no sexual dysfunction, no constipation or diarrhea, and none of the other side effects you can see with other medications used to treat anxiety.
Ketamine is an anesthesia medicine that’s been used in emergency and surgical settings for 50 years, and has been found to be safe and reliable. It’s only been in the last several years that it has emerged as a remarkable treatment for depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
Ketamine’s rapid and robust antidepressant action is restoring the lives of those who’ve suffered with treatment-resistant psychiatric mood disorders.
At Innovative Psychiatry, we’re seeing a consistent response rate of 80% to IV ketamine treatment. So, while ketamine isn’t for everyone, chances are pretty good that it can really help you.
We’re not able to take on new patients who need medication management. That arm of our practice is just too full. However, we are accepting patients who want to see if they can benefit from ketamine for severe depression, crippling anxiety, and other serious mood disorders.
Let’s work together to help you get better.
To the restoration of your best self,
Lori Calabrese, M.D.