Author: David Casteleijn
Why is it that when my anxiety gets worse there is often a change in how my digestion works?
Well this is not surprising. Naturopaths have long understood that there was a strong connection between the nervous system and the digestion, however, this has now been demonstrated in the research, where it has been found that 95% of the body’s serotonin (an important mood-regulating hormone) is produced and utilised in the gut.
A strong correlation between the incidence of Depression and or Anxiety and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) has also been identified, with one of the common treatments for IBS being medication which is more usually used to treat Depression.
So when serotonin is out of balance in one system it is going to affect the function of other systems.
I am not keen on taking pharmaceuticals, is there anything you can offer?
Yes there is plenty we can do, we have some very good anti-anxiety and anti-depressant herbs which can work as a good alternative, although your practitioner will always be aware that it may be necessary to refer you to your Doctor for a second opinion if you are not making sufficient progress.
Often we find that chronic stress can play a significant role and here Naturopathy has a lot to offer to support your body’s response to chronic stress. Adaptogenic herbs for instance help your body adapt to chronic stress potentially reducing chronically elevate stress hormones.
When you are stressed it is very common for all your good intentions to go flooding out the window, but by working to support your body in how it responds to stress and very simple food suggestions initially, it is surprising how quickly you can get back on track
But I am already taking medicine from my Doctor is there any point coming to see you?
It is a common misunderstanding that if you are currently receiving treatment for Anxiety or Depression then there is very little else a Naturopath can offer.
The opposite is true and Naturopathy is indeed an ideal support for medical treatment. The herbs we have available to assist here support the nervous system and help rebuild resilience. One way to look at it as filling in the gaps where pharmaceuticals are very focused on one very clearly defined action, herbs and nutrients are board and supportive.
There are a number of herbs and nutrients (like St. John’s wort for instance) which do need to be used with caution or not used at all when you are using pharmaceuticals to treat Anxiety or Depression, but you practitioner will be careful to avoid using these.