Anxiety and The Stress Effect Combo!

These two “sisters” as I like to refer to them can really be heavy hitters when it comes to the quality of our health factor. Anxiety is the most common psychiatric disorder in North America. 65% of North Americans take prescription medications daily, 43% take mood altering prescriptions on a regular basis. Paxil and Zoloft (two of the more popular anti-anxiety medications) ranked 7th and 8th in the top 10 percent of prescribed medications. These two medications totaled almost $5 Billion in sales in 2002. While anxiety is a symptom that everyone experiences at some point in their life, in some individuals it can be more than just occasional nervousness or stress. People with anxiety disorders often have symptoms that go beyond a simple response to stressful situations. The manifestations of an anxiety disorder are extremely debilitating and can prevent the individual from engaging in a fully functional life. The consequences of anxiety excompass all areas of life including emotional, occupation and social.


  • allergy problems, increase in allergies (number, sensitivity, reactions, lengthier reactions)
  • back pain, stiffness, tension, pressure, soreness, spasms, immobility in the back or back muscles
  • blancing (looking pale, loss of color in the face or skin)
  • blushing, turing red, flushed face, flushed skin, blusing, red face or skin
  • body aches, parts of or your entire body feels sore and achy, feels like your body and muscles are bruised.
  • body jolts, body zaps, electric jolt feeling in body, intense body tremor or “body shake”.
  • body temperature increase or decrease, change in body temperature
  • buring skin, itchy, “crawly”, prickly or other skin sensations, skin sensitivity, numbness on the skin.
  • burning skin sensation on the face, neck, ears, scalp or shoulders
  • buzzing sensation in the feet, toes, hands, fingers, arms, legs
  • chest pains, chest tightness
  • choking
  • chronic fatigue, exhaustion, super tired, worn out
  • clumsiness, feeling clumsy, co-ordination problems with the limbs or body
  • cold chills, feeling cold
  • craving sugar, sweets, chocolate, usual craving for sugar and sweets
  • difficulty speaking, moving mouth, talking, co-ordination problems with the mouth or tongue
  • dizziness, feeling lightheaded
  • excess of energy, you feel you can’t relax
  • falling sensation, feel like you are falling or dropping even though you are not
  • feel like you are going to pass out or faint
  • feel wrong, different, foreign, odd or strange
  • flu-like symptoms, general malaise, feel ill, like you are coming down with the flu
  • frequent urination
  • heart palpitations, racing heart
  • hyperactivity, excess energy, nervous energy
  • increased OR decreased sex drive
  • muscles that vibrate, jitter, tremor, or shake when used
  • muscle twitching
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • neck, back, shoulder pain, tightness/stiffness
  • night sweats, waking up in a sweat, profusely sweating at night
  • startle easily
  • urgency to urinate, frequent urination, sudden urge to go the the washroom (similar to urinary tract or prostate infection symptoms)
  • difficulty concentrating, short-term memory loss
  • difficulty thinking, speaking, forming thoughts, following conversations

That is just covering what “Anxiety” can feel like. Now lets tackle “THE STRESS EFFECT”…

Stress can be defined as any perceived physical or psychological change that disrupts an organism’s metabolic balance. In today’s society, people are faced with constant exposure to stress. Stress automatically activates a chain of events which occur in order for individuals to respond to the stress. Signals are sent throughout the body through the communciation efforts of the neuroendocrine system resulting in “fight or flight” responses. Some of these signals cause positive changes in order for the body to respond to the immediate or acute stress. Long term or chronic stress poses too many challenges which overload the circuits and cause the systems of the body to eventually shut down.

Surveys and research reports conducted over the past 2 decades reveal that 43% of all adults suffer adverse effects due to stress. Infact, 75% to 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are in some way related to the adverse impact of psychosocial stress. Furthermore, an estimated 1 million workers are absent on an average workday because of stress-related complaints. The market for stress management programs, products and services has skyrocked in the past two decades and is estimated to currently exceed $11 billion annually. While all age groups are affected, the aging population faces compounded susceptibillity to stress-induced disorders because of the accumulation of problmes mediated by chronic, long term stress.


The autonomic nervous system which is a brach of the nervous system is automatically activated when the stress response is initated. The autonomic nervous system activities are involuntary and take place completely beyond our conscious control. The functions of the ANS include digestion, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperatures.

The two branches of the ANS that regulate the fight or flight response are the sympathethic and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic is the part of the ANS that is responsible for initiating the fight or flight response. With each perceived thought of danger or pain, the sympathetic nervous system automatically initiates the fight or flight response so that the body can handle any potential danger or pain.

The parasympathetic returns the body back to balance. During parasympathetic activity, blood concentrates in the central organs for such processes as digestion and storage of energy reserves. Breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, muscl;e tension and body temperature are all decreased back to normal.

The Master gland or hypothalamus controls the ANS. When it receives the message of danger from the higher order thinking component of our mind, a signal is then sent to the hypothalamus. The message is then delivered through the nervous system that connects, like a hard wired neuron system, to every other system of the body. Hormones are secreted as the hypothalamus stimulates the endocrine system to initiate the secretion of hormones. The adrenalin and cortisol hormones are then secreted into the blood stream and travel throughout the body to deliver information to cells and systems.

Epinephrine (adrenalin) and norephinephrine (noradrenalin) are released into the blood stream from the adrenal medulla. The adrenal medulla is the part of the adrenal glands positioned on top of our kidneys. Cortisol is the other key hormone released from a portion of the adrenal glands called the adrenal cortex. Together, these hormones flood every single cell in the body with the specific message to prepare for fight or flight.


  • increased mental activity
  • increased heart rate
  • increased cardiac output
  • increased breathing rate
  • increased metabolism
  • blood is shunted away from the digestive tract and directed into the muscles and limbs
  • increased circulation of free fatty acids
  • increased output of blood cholesterol
  • increase blood sugar released by the liver to nourish the muscles
  • release of endorphins from the pituitary gland
  • pupils of the eyes dilate
  • blood thins
  • immune system is suppressed
  • reproductive and sexual systems stop functioning normally
  • digestive system stops metabolizing food properly
  • excretory system turns off
  • kidneys decrease output
  • bowel and bladder sphincter close

There are some stages the body will move through:

  1. alarm stage
  2. resistance stage
  3. exhaustion stage

This is a serious combination or the One/Two punch that many people are struggling with today.

There are some natural remedies that can assist; as will diet and lifestyle changes. We know stress isn’t going anywhere, but how we deal and respond to it can make all the difference. Also, equipping our bodies to be stronger and more nutritionally fit to be able to bounce back faster when faced with stress and/or anxiety issues is critical.

If you find yourself dealing with chronic stress/anxiety and you’d like to incorporate some natural/ nutritional avenues into the mix. You can reach me through my website, or by calling my office 219-879-5437 to schedule an appointment. (I also offer tele-visits). I have multiple office locations available:

Healthfully yours,

Dr. Jodi Barnett N.D.

Harvested Health LLC

6646 W. Johnson Rd, LaPorte, IN 46350 Office Number: (219) 879-5437

Michigan City, IN, and Highland, IN office locations. Office Number: (219) 713-4789


Published by harvestedhealth

I am a Doctor of Naturopathy, BCHHP; passionate about helping others improve the quality of their health by empowering them with knowledge of how to incorporate a more natural/holistic approach towards better quality of health.

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