Anxiety is something we humans developed as a way to warn us of danger. Stress helps us take the temperature of a situation and use that to gauge the probability of risk. However, now that we're not (generally speaking) in danger of being hunted, captured, attacked, or otherwise put in peril, that adaptive mechanism hasn't totally adjusted to our "safety first" world. So, where does all this useful anxiety go when we have no use for it any longer? For some people, it wells up with seemingly nowhere to go and gets turned into physical manifestations, like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, PTSD, panic attacks, phobias, and excessive worrying over even the most innocuous events.
What causes anxiety?
Anxiety disorders are born from stress, but that stress can come from all areas of life: environmental, medical, genetic, brain chemistry, and even substance abuse. But it's typically the environmental factors that tend to affect us the deepest and for the longest period. When anxiety comes from environmental factors, it can even be difficult to pinpoint what those factors are, especially if they are from our past. We can also amp up anxiety with something called "negative self-talk," focusing on the possible negative outcomes as opposed to the positive ones.
External factors include trauma from events such as abuse, victimization, or the death of a loved one; stress in a personal relationship, marriage or friendship; work or school stress; financial stress; losing home or family to a natural disaster; and even lack of oxygen from intense exercise or thin air.
Medical factors include such things as stress from a serious medical illness; medication side effects; medical illness; and lack of oxygen from a medical ailment.
To be diagnosed with anxiety, a person must exhibit some of the following symptoms.
Excessive worry over events for at least six months
Difficulty controlling worry
Restlessness and irritability
Physical habits (anorexia, Trichotillomania, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, etc.) to help cope with anxious thoughts.
How does CBD help?
Pharmaceutical companies have developed numerous drugs to treat anxiety-related disorders, including a subset called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). But with the discovery of the endocannabinoid system and the wonderful plant-based cannabinoid called Cannabidiol, or CBD, we now have another way to combat anxiety by quelling the chemical imbalances that cause it. CBD is a compound found in marijuana, considered the yin to THC’s yang. It is not psychoactive like the mind-bending THC compound, and it even helps to mitigate some of THC's profound effects. Similar to SSRIs, CBD boosts serotonin receptor signals, although most studies that show this used animal subjects. A separate animal study found that CBD may also help the hippocampus regenerate neurons, which could be useful for treating both anxiety and depression. A CBD regimen goes well with other methods of anxiety maintenance, including talk therapy, meditation, acupuncture, yoga, and exercise.
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