Anti Anxiety tip: Smells and memories

This will be a short post about smells and how you can use them as an anti anxiety solution. As you might have noticed, smells can have some powerful emotions attached to them, emotions that are stored in you memory together with that smell.

Your mind took a snapshot of a moment somewhere in the past… that snapshot contains as much information as possible, information from your eyes, touch and smell! So when you smell a certain odor your memory activates the feeling or sensation you had when you first smelled it. This can take you back in time, even as far as your childhood, bringing up memories long forgotten. These attached emotions can be so powerful that they can actually override your current state of mind and act as a temporary anti anxiety remedy.

Imagine having found one of these smells and being able to override your anxiety whenever you want! All you have to do is go to the house or place of you childhood, go to one of your parents… and search for a familiar object from your childhood, once you found it… smell it! If it doesn’t do anything, search for the next one, it won’t be long before you find the object that will pull your memory back in time and bring you back some lost feelings and emotions. That object will now be a portal to that memory… and it’s yours to use it whenever you need it!

How it actually works!

The way our brain creates a link between emotions and smells lies in the way the different parts of our brain are connected. The olfactory bulb is what’s responsible for the perception of odors, this is part of the limbic system, an area so closely associated with memory and feeling it’s sometimes called the “emotional brain”.

The olfactory bulb also has an intimate connection to the amygdala, which processes emotion, and the hippocampus, which is responsible for associative learning. And that’s how these different parts of the brain work together to forge a special connection between smells and memories…

So if you’re ever in the neighborhood of you childhood home, take advantage of the opportunity by finding that one object that can magically conjure up happiness by the mere act of smelling it, create your own anti anxiety remedy!

Anti Anxiety Solutions – An Overview

It is considered normal when you’re feeling anxious every hour or so. This is especially normal when living a stressful life. As soon as you anxiety starts interfering with the normal day to day activities you should consult a doctor to see if you are suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Fortunately in this day and age there’s a wealth of anti anxiety solutions available. They mostly consist of medication and psychological treatment. Because there are so many treatments it can take time to find one that’s suited for you. I’ll list some of the most common ones. Personally I try to stay away from drugs as much as possible but this is not an option for everybody. Again, consult with a professional before deciding on a specific anti anxiety treatment!

Antidepressants

Antidepressants increase the level of serotonin in the brain, serotonin is the substance that regulates our mood and other functions, low serotonin levels have been linked to anxiety and panic disorders. But be careful as antidepressants have wide array of side-effects ranging from insomnia to weight gain and nausea.

Buspirone

This is another anti anxiety treatment that is taken on continual basis. Like with many depressants, it may take several weeks before you can feel its effects. The main side effect is lightheadedness that can be felt shortly after taking it. Other side effects are: nausea, insomnia, headaches and nervousness.

Benzodiazepines

Another anti anxiety treatment introduced these days is the Benzodiazepines. A regular visit to the doctor is important wherein he may prescribe this sedative. This may relieve panic attacks only on a short-term basis. These again have a lot of side-effects if taken for a long period. Consult with your doctor!

Psychotherapy

Other than the aforementioned anti anxiety treatments, it’s also good to turn to psychotherapy. This is usually referred to as psychological counseling. There are many forms of psychotherapy each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Anti Anxiety Medication: History

Using anti anxiety medication is the most common approach for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Most people are very familiar with “Valium”, “Xanax” and others. Other anxiety interventions include biofeedback and relaxation training. Individuals can also learn how to voluntarily control panic attacks and biological processes that may contribute on their anxiety problems. The history of anti anxiety medication for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder started several decades ago.

The history of anti anxiety treatments started from using barbiturates. These are known primarily as biological treatments to all anxiety disorders in the 1950’s. These drugs are sometimes referred to as sedative-hypnotic drugs. They are used low doses to help and calm people during panic attacks. Patients who frequently take anti anxiety medicines may fall into sleep. Barbiturates are known to cause serious side effects, especially in high doses. Eventually, it would lead them to be completely dependent on these drugs.

Going back in the 1940’s, Frank Berger who was known as a pharmacologist tried to make an effective antibiotic medicine. He developed meprobamate that can help reduce anxiety and relax muscles. It was only in the 1950’s that the sedative was released- known as hypnotic medication under the Milltown brand name. This new anti anxiety medication still had its effect of great drowsiness. However, it was much less addictive and less dangerous than barbiturates.

The history of anti anxiety treatments continued until the 1950’s. Later then, Lowell Randall discovered the chlordiazepoxide. This was considered a member of the drug family called benzodiazepines. It served as a tranquilizer to animals without making them tired. This drug was discovered in the 1930’s. It was known as relatively useless at that time. It was marketed as a hypnotic drug under Librium after its discovery.

Later on, another medication has been developed under the name of Valium. Most patients and doctors considered these anti anxiety medications as safe especially as sedative hypnotics. In the end they became the most prescribed medication in the United States!

Drugs like Valium are the result of decades of research and discovery leading to a better understanding of the problem that we now know as anxiety. Imagine a world without any of these anti anxiety drugs, it would be so hard for affected people to live normal lives!

Annual Checkups

Many people in the United States appear to place their own health far below other priorities in their lives. They seem to forget that if they are not healthy they may be unable to continue working, and instead of being able to support their family they may face substantial medical expenses. Furthermore, many such individuals may not know that taking care of one’s health does not immediately mean they will have to completely rearrange and restructure their daily activities. Even something as basic as an annual check up may allow you to stay informed about your health status, and properly deal with a wide range of medical conditions in their early stages. Considering that virtually all diseases and conditions are easier to treat before they spread or before your immune system becomes further compromised, sometimes undergoing such annual physical examination may prove to ultimately be life saving.

Every adult individual, whether they are male or female, should undergo a medical checkup once every year. During these types of check ups the assisting medical professionals will normally perform a physical examination measuring one’s height and weight, as well as measure the individual’s blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate and glucose levels. These simple measurements can in fact tell the doctor about a wide variety of underlying medical conditions affecting the examined individual. There are also some additional tests that may be performed depending on the individual’s gender and their age. Males 40 years of older may be tested for prostate cancer, while females are advised to undergo breast cancer examinations. Both types of cancers, when discovered in the early stages may be susceptible to far more types of treatment, and do present much higher 5-year survival rates than for their later diagnosed counterparts.

During such annual medical check ups, the doctor performing the examination may also perform more advanced tests, such as taking the patient’s blood or asking for the scans of the individual’s chest. The laboratory examination of one’s blood will be able to provide a wide range of medical information, from the patient’s red and white cell blood count to the possibility of thyroid disorders or kidney problems.

The patients showing low levels of red and white blood cells may be affected by Anemia as well as certain types of cancers. Chest x-ray pictures on the other hand may tell the health professional about the possibility of the patient being affected with TB.

ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frequently shortened to ALS or called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a terminal illness of the nervous system. In the United States, it is also sometimes referred to as motor neuron disease. Worldwide, only 1 in 100,000 people is diagnosed with this debilitating disease. One such person was famous baseball player Lou Gehrig, who was diagnosed in 1939, and shortly thereafter died from the illness. The majority of the time, in around 90 to 95% of cases, physicians are unsure as to the cause of the ALS when it is diagnosed. In the remaining few instances, the disease can be determined to have been inherited.

The symptoms of the disease usually begin with weakness or twitching in a single limb, or sometimes with problems speaking. Over time, the symptoms progress until all muscles are affected, including those needed to move about, speak, and even breathe. It is the loss of this ability which often leads to death in those with ALS. Early on in the progression of the disease, sufferers may notice symptoms such as problems moving the forward part of the foot, weakness in the legs or hands, general clumsiness, problems speaking or swallowing, and cramps and spasms in the arms or shoulders.

Often, the symptoms will start in the hands or feet and then spread upward until they affect parts of the body that are less peripheral. Muscles continually weaken over the course of time until the ability to use them at all is lost, effectively causing paralysis.

The causes of ALS are not precisely known. Researchers are working on several potential causes, though. Gene mutation is one suspect, and may be responsible for the inherited cases of ALS. In these cases, a mutation leads to the symptoms, and the mutation may be passed from generation to generation. Chemical imbalances are also suspected in the seemingly random cases of ALS. Glutamate, a chemical in the brain that is in involved in movement, is typically found in toxic levels in those with ALS. One avenue of research has looked at the process of the disease beginning its progression in an otherwise healthy person. It is though that those with the propensity for the disease may develop it when an improper autoimmune response triggers it. A final suspect is the accumulation of improperly metabolized proteins with cells, which then build up and kill the neuron.

Currently, the drug riluzole is used to delay the progression of the disease. It is the only such drug approved for use by the FDA. It appears to work by lowering levels of glutamate. Other medications are prescribed to help cope with the symptoms of ALS, though they cannot reverse the damage.