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, followed by 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 increase significantly in certain situations such as social events, uncontrollable events, and loneliness just to mention a few. With everyone that suffers from anxiety, a ‘trigger’ can come from different life events. I recently added a supplement called GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) to my Program when I came across a study geared towards PTSD as I researched this topic. Interestingly, those who suffered from PTSD in the US Army reserves and National Guard were given GABA leading to impressive results.
Many symptoms can arise from a lack of a neurotransmitter called GABA. Some of these symptoms include insomnia (trouble sleeping), anxiety, depression, PTSD, and ADHD. In the study mentioned above (click here to view), 27 US Army Reserves and National Guard participants suffering from PTSD brought the following conclusion:
“… 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. “
Thankfully such brave men and women are finding the benefit of what GABA has to offer.
Many in my family take GABA, myself included, which is more of a natural remedy since our body already produces this. GABA not harmful, especially compared to other medications such as Xanax, clozanapam, Valium ‘helping’ with anxiety. I’ve witnessed first-hand how harmful an 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. In my opinion these other drugs relax too much especially if over done. 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 commented, “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 medications 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 through personal experiences. GABA has been a life saver for my family (just as glutathione is our family’s ‘Windex’), with the high anxiety that our family experiences. I don’t know how we could have otherwise endured the trials without GABA a part of our daily Program. Remember there are many natural ways to calm 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 started a weekly meditation and yoga at work. There are many ways to help calm your nerves as in all these natural remedies and I encourage all to give it a chance. Once you find the right daily amount, you can feel the sense of taking control back of your life and emotions.
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 have helped many patients get 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.
-Dan Purser MD
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