Did you know 40 million people are affected by anxiety disorders? This is a fact according to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America. I personally think anxiety and depression walk a fine line. And I suffer from both. For me, this really started to come out when my Mom passed of breast cancer, then her older sister a few years later. I’m the first in my generation to fight cancer and so far, the only one to survive. As long as I keep my anxiety under control my depression is easier to manage.
My anxiety levels hit the roof in certain situations such as social events, what I can’t control, loneliness, the list can go on. With everyone that suffers from anxiety their trigger, I’m sure, comes from different life events. I recently added a supplement called GABA to my Program and as I was researching on this topic I came across a study that is geared towards PTSD. I believe the life events we have suffered from to cause anxiety can also be related to PTSD. I will talk about this study more in a moment, but do you know what helped those US Army reservists and National Guard participants that suffered from PTSD? GABA - Gamma-aminobutyric acid.
I have learned that there are many symptoms of having a lack of a neurotransmitter called GABA. Some of these symptoms include insomnia, or trouble sleeping, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and ADHD. In the study I came across (click here to view) there were 27 US Army Reserves, and National Guard participants that suffered from PTSD. Part of the conclusion was
“… low GABA concentration is related to both worse sleep quality and higher depressive symptomatology .... Thus, low GABA in this region does not appear to be a specific biomarker of PTSD but a phenomenon possibly related to sleep disturbance and/or anxiety in general. These new findings may imply that enhancing endogenous GABA levels may be a good strategy to alleviate PTSD sleep problems. “
I was elated to find that such brave men and women who have served our country and experienced such tragic events are finding the benefit of what GABA has to offer.
Many people in my family take GABA, including me, which is more of a natural remedy since our body already produces this. I personally find GABA not harmful, especially compared to getting hooked and addicted on medications such as Xanax, clozanapam, Valium, and any others to help with anxiety. I’ve witness first-hand how harmful addiction is to these drugs and how it affects someone, especially if they go into withdrawal. GABA, once you find the right dose for you keeps you alert, you aren’t drowning yourself in medications that inhibit your thought process. Will these other drugs relax you, yes, maybe a bit too much in my opinion, especially if you over do it, you are comatose. GABA helps to keep your levels of anxiety leveled on a daily basis from my experience.
Have you ever noticed how families that go through the same tragic events all are affected differently? I’ve noticed that we may all have PTSD and high anxiety, but one may have major OCD, and other social anxiety. But the end result is the same – anxiety, depression, PTSD. I was visiting with a relative recently who takes GABA daily and wanted to hear about her experience with GABA, she said this, “It helps, it doesn’t make everything perfect, but it reduces my anxiety. It calms things down, it makes my issues not as intense.” We continued to discuss her experience with other medications and she mentioned, “trying other meds were the scariest days of my entire life and wouldn’t want to try anything else.”
I think that the only way to truly know if something works is by experiences of others and of course your own experience of trying what works for you. GABA has been a life saver in my family, just like Glutathione is our families Windex, with the high anxiety that our family experiences with all the trials we’ve endured I couldn’t imagine not having GABA as part of your daily Program. And you don’t need a doctor’s note to get it! There is no need to get hooked on medications like Xanax, there are many natural ways to add to calming your anxiety, depression, PTSD, and sleep. I even keep lavender oil at my desk at work and many of my coworkers do as well for that calming factor in a high stress work place. We’ve even started to add weekly meditation at work for those to join and have done yoga before that. There are many ways to help calm your nerves as in all these natural remedies. I encourage all to give it a chance, once you find the right amount for you on a daily basis you can feel the sense of taking control back of your own life and emotions.
My thoughts? (This is Dr Purser): Thanks and great article Melissa! GABA hits the GABA receptor which is the receptor for benzodiazepines (such as Xanax, valium, or others) so GABA works much better and is not addicting. I’ve gotten many patients off their benzodiazepines by allowing them to take all the GABA they wanted – no real downside (except may make your drowsy – then back it off a little). Also you may want to try GLUTAMINE (an amino acid that is the precursor for GABA) – might work better or help GABA work better too.
-Dan Purser MD