Column: Anxiety And Mild Depression

September 26, 2017

[Written by Dr Kuni Frith]

As an Alternative and Complementary healthcare professional, I am greatly concerned over the number of customers coming into the tea house almost on a daily basis with anxiety and mild depression. In many cases this disorder is crippling members of our community who are desperately searching for ways to address the symptoms without the use of antidepressant drugs.

Anxiety can be a debilitating condition for those living with it on a daily basis. Anxiety has many faces often accompanied with multiple symptoms. The more common types of anxiety people are experiencing can range from generalized anxiety disorder to post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder and phobias.

People who live with anxiety often report they are feeling nervous or anxious, have moments of panic or fear that something awful is going to happen, along with feelings of doom and gloom. They tend to worry excessively, have difficulty sleeping, experience nightmares, bouts of restlessness, dizziness and low energy.

Other overwhelming symptoms include heart palpitations, mood swings coupled with angry outburst and irritability, cold sweats, sweaty palms, cold hands and feet, chest pains, hyperventilating, numbness and tingling in various parts of the body or sensations of something crawling on them. Some cry for no reason or cry for the simplest thing.

The one symptom that is common but seldom reported out of fear of being committed to a mental health facility is the out of body experience.

One woman described it as a floating feeling to the point of not being able to feel herself in her body. “I am afraid to talk about it because people look at you differently. Because they don’t understand the condition they have negative things to say about me.”

There are so many people who tell me they are reluctant to talk about this particular symptom because friends and family think they are going crazy. For many of those who have reported the out of body symptom to a psychiatrist or psychologist they have been put on medication immediately.

The common question for so many sufferers is what causes anxiety disorder? The answer varies according to personal circumstances and experiences. Anxiety can be triggered by something as simple as a food allergy or a vitamin and mineral deficiency. Poor nutrition is on the list along with blood sugar imbalances, neurotransmitter imbalances and genetic predisposition.

There are conflicting scientific reports on just how much genes play a part in the disorder if at all. However, family health histories reveal anxiety disorders existing among maternal and paternal relatives.

Childhood traumas such as physical, mental and sexual abuse that are not addressed at an early age are among the contributors, as well as prescription and illicit drug use, stress, the loss of a loved one and low self esteem. There appears to be no age limit with anxiety disorder.

It is particularly debilitating for young people especially children who are often misdiagnosed with ADHD or ADD. Many of these children fall into the system and are prescribed antidepressant drugs and drugs used to treat ADD and ADHD.

It can be difficult for parents not to defer to prescription drugs to treat the disorder as the first line of defense. Often counseling, along with dietary changes and the introduction of supplements helps to reduce or reverse symptoms. Parents are often pressured into controlling their children with drugs which can lead to long term use and dependence on antidepressants well into adult years.

I am sure I will get lots of pushback from the allopathic healthcare community on this controversial topic, but new clinical information on the treatment of anxiety disorder does not support the use of antidepressant drugs.

I would like to make it very clear that I am not including severe mental illness in this equation. Several psychiatrists and psychologist have seen the dark side of prescription drug use to treat anxiety in adults, children and young teens.

We are bombarded with TV commercials boasting how wonderful psychiatric drugs are in restoring mental health. At the end of the commercial a list of debilitating side effects are mentioned, leaving one to wonder if the health risks associated with taking the drug out weights the devitalizing symptoms they are already experiencing.

The FDA has approved these drugs, but recent scientific research argues that they are merely placebos, with little impact on reducing symptoms associated with anxiety disorder.

According to a quote from an article published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association “antidepressants are no more than placebos for most depressed patients”. I know there are people out there that have benefited from the use of prescription antidepressant meds but this article is for the many who have not and for those who choose a nontraditional route to treatment.

There is simply not enough information available to the public on the side effects and addiction associated with antidepressant drugs. Never mind the dreadful side effects associated with a patient being weaned off the drugs after long term use. Several practitioners in the mental health field are exploring alternative approaches to dealing with the disorder without the use and abuse of prescription drugs.

Although it is a very sensitive subject to address, we cannot ignore that the legal drug trade in Bermuda has the potential to do also do harm like the illegal drug trade to members of our community.

Given the high profit margin attached to the antidepressant drug market, it is expected that scientific research will continue for some time into reviewing ways of addressing anxiety disorder without the use of costly prescriptions. If we are serious about reducing health care costs perhaps we too should explore alternative options.

It is my intention to provide the reader with information that can shed light on new clinical information on a deeper level than presented in this article. Perhaps this information will assist the reader in taking responsibility and seeking out a second opinion or review the efficacy of existing anxiety treatment protocols.

To avoid having this information labeled as quackery, I have included a list of books written by medical professionals [doctors] and researchers who have conducted long term studies into the efficacy of antidepressant drugs. One of these titles has been listed on the New York Times Bestsellers List.

Book titles and authors:

  • A Mind of Your Own by Kelly Brogan, MD
  • Selling Sickness by Ray Moynihan and Alan Cassels
  • The Myth of the Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment by Joanna Moncrieff
  • The Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker

- Kuni Frith ND

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Comments (6)

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  1. Sara says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! You have done a wonderful thing writing this. While researching anxiety due to a family member suffering greatly with it, I noticed that almost every article stated that medication is not a long term solution and certainly addictive medications should not be given as a long term solution. Yet here in Bermuda this seems to be the go to for doctors because they have nothing else to offer.

  2. Karen Simons says:

    I concur with Dr. Kuni Frith wholeheartedly. This is a challenging condition for all concerned. Anxiety and depression warrants a holistic approach which includes viewing the patient with dignity and compassion. It is time that alternative approaches to dealing with these debilitating conditions be embraced, included and regarded as viable options to those dealing with these health challenges.
    This is an excellent article!

  3. Pastor Syl says:

    Excellent article. My personal experience with Big Pharma came with being medicated for ADD, rather than anxiety or depression (although I lived with depression and suicidal ideation and impulses for nearly 30 years, that is another story). The medication produced suicidal thoughts and plans without the depression that usually accompanies such symptoms. It wasn’t until I Googled the medication that I realized such thoughts were a possible side effect. Took me 6 months to be weaned off that poison. I share this because too many of our children are being treated with pharmaceuticals that can actually do more harm than good. Observe your children closely if they are being given any of the common medications for treatment of ADD and ADHD. Also please consider Transcendental Meditation as a non-invasive alternative remedy. It isn’t a magic bullet that acts instantly, but the effects are long term and positively impact more than just the original disorders, and are backed up by research

  4. Healthylife says:

    Anxiety can happen to anybody for small to big reasons. Thanks for sharing your experience. we got a clear information and suggestions, it really helps us.

  5. Susan George says:

    Music is the best option to cure anxiety and bring calmness in you mind, other things like head massage are also helpful.