Anxiety and the Adrenals

Well, I was watching TV again. It’s hard to watch without being inundated with drug adds. I see now they are pushing SSRI’s at anxiety disorders. Again, numbing the mind so you don’t care about your problem. Well, most anxiety problems are due to weakened adrenal glands.

What are the adrenals?

These are glands that provide the hormone adrenaline among others. This is used when you are stimulated to action – the fight or flight reaction. Normally, the fear generated by these hormones stimulate you to save your life and is a very important function. When your adrenals have been weakened, this reaction is no longer functioning properly. One of the possible problems with poorly functioning adrenals is non-functional worry, fear, anxiety and panic – all variations of the same feeling.

In Chinese Medicine, the Kidney organ includes the adrenal gland (the adrenal gland is attached to the kidney) so we often refer to this as Kidney deficiency.

How you weaken your adrenals:





Adrenals seem to get weakened naturally as you get older – I’m not sure that is inevitable. I have seen people near 100 years old with excellent adrenals. But the problem is definitely seen more in the elderly.

One way to weaken the adrenals is to use stimulants. One common adrenal stimulant is caffeine. This is why people drink coffee. In the short run the coffee makes you feel better from the stimulation. Over time, the constant stimulation drains the adrenals leading to fatigue, low back pain, sleeping disorders and anxiety.

Another way is with sugar and other refined carbohydrates. These empty calories not only deplete B vitamins from the body, they can also drain the adrenals – especially when the normal blood sugar regulatory mechanisms are overloaded.

Other things that drain the adrenals are trauma, overwork, poor sleeping habits, prescription medicines and any chronic disease.

How do you help the adrenals?





Well, first stop draining the adrenals – reread the above paragraphs.

Make sure you are getting good nutrition, especially the B vitamins – lots of organic vegetables and whole grains. You may want take supplements to get your vitamins.

From here on it gets tricky and you should get help from a practitioner. In my clinic I use herbs and glandular extracts.

Is there anything else I can do myself?





One thing useful is the application of heat over the low back to warm the adrenals. Be careful to not burn yourself – don’t fall asleep on a heating pad!

You could try two mild herbal formulas:

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (Rehmania Six or Six Flavor Tea) – Kidney Yin Deficiency (if you run warm)

Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan (Rehmania Eight or Golden Book Tea) – Kidney Yang Deficiency (if you run cold)

For anxiety I would recommend you first try Liu Wei Di Haung Wan no matter what your temperature. When self-treating, stop taking the herbs if you notice any side effects – the formula may not be right for you.

Are there any other reasons for anxiety?





Certainly. Often mental issues can be sources for anxiety. One simple approach is alternative nostril breathing. This can help balance the brain.

Another quite useful tool is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). This is acupressure for the emotions. It is a practice of tapping on the acupuncture channels while focusing on an emotional problem. It is very effective and a wonderful alternative to counseling that often provides permanent results. I have been using these techniques more lately since recent versions have become very simple. You can learn more here. I will be writing more about EFT on this site soon.

The bottom line:





If you have an anxiety disorder you can mask the symptoms by taking some drug or you can try to treat the cause with some of the advice here. It is usually best to see a Chinese Medicine practitioner to help guide you through the process.