Anxiety is part of the human evolutionary heritage. In the early days, humans learned which animals and plants to fear, avoid, and run from when necessary, thus saving them from constant threats.
Anxiety is still a useful emotion. Modern-day humans have threats, but they’ve changed in form from millenia ago.
Anxiety is good only up to a point, because when you’re constantly anxious, the stress damages bodily systems and makes you fearful of non-threatening things.
At ReYou Ketamine Treatments in Howell, New Jersey, we understand how an anxiety disorder can disrupt your normal life, making you fearful of innocuous things. That’s why we strongly recommend you seek professional help to manage symptoms and beat the problem.
And if conventional treatments fail to help, we offer an unconventional but effective option: ketamine infusion therapy.
The problems of anxiety
Anxiety falls under the category of anxiety disorder if the symptoms you experience start to interfere with your daily life. People with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, overwhelming, and persistent worry about everyday situations.
In the most severe form of anxiety, you experience repeated episodes of sudden, intense anxiety and fear that peak within minutes of exposure to the trigger. These are called panic attacks.
Panic attacks are responses out of proportion to the actual threat, are difficult to control, and can last a long time. To prevent them, you may avoid places or situations you know will act as triggers. Symptoms can start during childhood or the teenage years and continue into adulthood.
There are many different types of anxiety and anxiety disorders, but two of the most common are:
Generalized anxiety disorder
People with GAD persistently and excessively worry about anything and everything, no matter how routine. Your threat-response system overreacts, so the worry is completely out of proportion to the actual event.
It’s difficult to rein in the fear, and you even experience physical effects, such as a rapid heartbeat or shortness of breath. GAD often occurs with other anxiety disorders or depression.
Panic disorder involves discrete but repeated episodes of intense anxiety that escalates quickly. You may have a sense of impending doom as well as physical symptoms. And the attacks feed on themselves, leading you to worry about them happening again or avoiding situations in which they’ve occurred before.
Warning signs of anxiety
Though there are many types of anxiety and anxiety disorders, they often share many of the same symptoms. These include:
- Elevated heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Difficulty concentrating
- Heart palpitations
- Lack of engagement in routine activities
- Avoidance of trigger situations
- Complete withdrawal from social interaction
If you experience any of these, you need to seek medical help.
There are two main treatments for anxiety disorders: psychotherapy and medications, and most people benefit from a combination of the two.
Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches you to think in new ways about your anxiety, helping you work through specific symptoms. It also exposes you to your triggers gradually, so you can build the skills necessary to encounter the trigger without an anxiety response.
Which medication we prescribe depends on the type of anxiety disorder you have and whether it’s accompanied by other mental or physical health issues. The problem with medications, though, is that they come with side effects such as:
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Dry mouth
In addition, some 30-40% of people don’t respond to first-line treatments or have too many side effects. It can take trial and error over a months-long period to determine if a medication will be effective. That’s where ketamine comes in.
Ketamine works directly on the brain, usually within about 24 hours. Normally, the NMDA receptors increase communication between nerve cells, but anxiety can destroy the receptors and cause faulty signaling.
Ketamine allows the brain to create new pathways and synapses, and it restores levels of a calming transmitter called GABA.
Ketamine also activates the AMPA receptor, which leads to the release of molecules that benefit mood, thought patterns, and cognition.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, and your current regimen isn’t helping your symptoms, ketamine might be a good choice for you. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, call us at 908-638-1133, or book a consultation online today.