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Anxiety And Weight Gain Through Trying Times

Masked, Overweight Man Standing On A Scale With Arms Raised In Displeasure
Masked, Overweight Man Standing On A Scale With Arms Raised In Displeasure

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a direct effect on the anxiety levels of all of us. Those who suffer from the symptoms of anxiety can find their symptoms heightened further due to the added stresses of trying times. Anxiety produces long term stress. Long term stress has been linked to a host of physical and mental health issues. Long term stress may result in damage to organs and DNA, memory loss, insomnia, and possibly higher blood pressure risk. So, it should come as no surprise that anxiety may also affect a person’s body weight. But weight gain and anxiety have a complex relationship. Below, we will explore how anxiety is related to weight gain and what you can do to maintain a healthier body weight.

Weight Gain Before and After

The first thing to note is that weight gain is not the type of symptom that occurs on a whim, nor is it uncontrollable even when it is related to anxiety.

You should also note that weight gain is still weight gain like any other. Even if it is linked to anxiety, healthy diet and exercise is important, and something you should strongly consider both for your weight and for your anxiety.

Anxiety Can Cause Weight Gain

Weight gain can be a symptom of anxiety. But anxiety does not always cause weight gain. That is because the relationship is fairly complicated. The causes of gaining weight from anxiety are as follows:

  • Cortisol Stress Hormone

    The key reason that some people with anxiety have trouble managing their weight is because of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is released during times of stress, which means that it is also released during anxiety. Cortisol causes fat to build up around the midsection and is one of the primary reasons that those with stress have trouble maintaining their weight.

  • Excess Eating Behavior

    In some people, anxiety can also trigger excess eating. This may occur for two reasons. First, some people find that food provides a valuable coping tool, because it may release endorphins which improve the mood. Second, some people experience more hunger when they are stressed. Not everyone experiences either of these reactions, which is why not everyone gains weight. The differences may also be very subtle, and you may not realize you are eating more than you used to.

  • Inactivity

    In addition, some people find that anxiety is very draining. They may sleep more, or they may sit at home more than they used to. This level of inactivity means that they are burning fewer calories, which in turn means they gain more weight. Due to the restrictions we have had to endure during the pandemic, inactivity has become even more pronounced than usual.

What is interesting is that some people experience the opposite. There are those that struggle to get hungry when they are stressed, and those that find that when they have anxiety they need to be constantly moving. Every person reacts to anxiety differently, which is one of the reasons it does not always seem like weight gain is a symptom.

Weight Gain Can Cause Anxiety

Another reason that anxiety and weight gain have a complex relationship is because weight gain – or rather, the reasons that people gain weight – can also cause anxiety.

Inactivity is one of the reasons that some people develop anxiety. The body needs to move. It was designed to move. Those that do not exercise are considerably more likely to develop anxiety disorders.

Weight gain can also lead to poor breathing habits, which are known to trigger anxiety symptoms and panic attacks. Unhealthy foods may also contribute to anxiety – although they rarely cause it – and poor sleeping habits and aging can lead to both weight gain and anxiety even though the two are unrelated.

Some people also become more anxious when they gain weight simply because they lose confidence in themselves. All of these are reasons why the relationship between anxiety and weight is so complex.

How to Control Your Anxiety Related Weight Gain

It does not matter what causes you to gain weight. Diet and exercise are still the most effective solutions. Make sure that you are eating healthy with the right calories, and that you are exercising regularly. There is no magic pill that will cause you to lose weight – in fact, many diet pills and diets can actually increase anxiety. You simply need to start taking care of your body, and your weight will follow.

The good news is that exercise and healthy eating are actually incredibly effective tools for combating anxiety as well. So, in a way, it does not matter which comes first – you are reducing both when you start exercising regularly.

A Final Thought About Stress and Anxiety Treatment

Combining regular exercise, healthy eating, and Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) give you an enhanced way to combat anxiety-related weight gain. Data from clinical studies and practical application reflect the positive results that may be gained by applying low amplitude, extremely low frequency (ELF) electric currents, through the Vagus nerve system. The CES Ultra cranial electrotherapy stimulator device incorporates both ELF currents and ear clip attachments, as part of its standard application to treat stress and anxiety without medication.

Get Your Own CES Ultra for only $299
Rated 4.8/5 based on 18 user reviews

Feel Like A New Person

My body had actually lost its ability to fall asleep naturally and now, just the thoughts of going to sleep had become a great source of daily stress and anxiety for me. So bad was this problem that when it was actually time for me to go to bed… I would lie there wide awake for hours. The CES Ultra gave me my life back, and I feel like a new person again.

Wayne R.

Citations

Last Modified: May 18, 2021

Coping with Anxiety Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Stressed Man in Home Quarantine, Coping with Anxiety During Coronavirus Pandemic
Stressed Man in Home Quarantine, Coping with Anxiety During Coronavirus Pandemic

Living through the uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic is raising anxiety levels, especially among people sheltering in place. This is a new experience for people who do not suffer from anxiety disorders under normal circumstances. Their anxiety can act as an innate tool to aid in adapting to situations or circumstances, preparing them to move forward in an appropriate manner. For people who suffer from anxiety disorders even in the best of times, the current pandemic adds layers of stress, thus making coping with anxiety extremely difficult.

Coping with Anxiety Strengthens You and Your Social Network

Increased stress and anxiety during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your friends and loved ones
  • Changes in sleep and eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia) or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Worsening of mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Increased use of alcohol, or other drugs.

The CES Ultra is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulated medical device with allowable medical claims for anxiety and insomnia. As such, the CES Ultra is an ideal method of treatment (modality) for our current shelter in place experience.

Get Your Own CES Ultra for only $299

Everyone Reacts Differently to Stressful Situations

Person Coping with Anxiety by Using a CES Ultra Device
Person Coping with Anxiety by Using a CES Ultra Device

How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community in which you live. People who might respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for severe illnesses from COVID-19
  • Children and teens
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, such as doctors, nurses, other health care providers, and first responders
  • People with pre-existing mental health conditions including PTSD, Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Chronic Anxiety and problems with substance use.

Having the right information is imperative for peace of mind and taking proper action. Passing useful information to those we meet can be helpful in calming some of the fears and anxiety.

Great Uncertainty Heightens Fear and Anxiety

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we find ourselves in a position of great uncertainty. Physical isolation, changing facts and financial insecurity heighten fear and anxiety.

Physical Isolation (Quarantine)

Human beings are social creatures. For the majority of us, isolating from friends, family and the rest of our fellow travelers is contrary to who and how we are. This fact alone can make physical isolation mentally challenging, even for the most stable among us. Physical isolation becomes precarious for people with pre-existing physical or mental challenges. Not knowing how long we will need to maintain our status of relative quarantine adds to the angst of the situation for all of us.

The Constant Changing Facts of the Illness

Every week the experts are giving us new and different information about the virus itself. The range of possible COVID-19 symptoms is ever widening, making it more difficult to identify treatments.

The fact that the science on COVID-19 is unknown makes the situation even more difficult for the average person to understand. It is unnerving to know that the best minds on our planet have yet to identify solid facts.

Financial Insecurity

With no immediate end to the pandemic in sight and the world economy halted, people naturally are concerned about their financial security. The consequences already have become dire for some people. Twenty-six million people have lost jobs, many living a day-to-day existence. Having no idea what will come next or when things will begin to improve can lead one’s mind to worst possible financial scenarios.

Get Help Coping with Your Anxiety

Get help coping with anxiety amid the coronavirus pandemic. Your suffering is both real and natural. Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) is a safe and effective way to reduce your anxiety, without medication. The CES Ultra is an FDA regulated and registered CES device for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia. Experience the relaxing benefits of the CES Ultra device when coping with your anxiety.

Get Your Own CES Ultra for only $299
Rated 4.8/5 based on 18 user reviews

My body had actually lost its ability to fall asleep naturally and now, just the thoughts of going to sleep had become a great source of daily stress and anxiety for me. So bad was this problem that when it was actually time for me to go to bed… I would lie there wide awake for hours. The CES Ultra gave me my life back, and I feel like a new person again.

Wayne R.

Citations

Last Modified: December 28, 2020


Vagus Nerve Stimulation And Inflammation

Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation Conceptual Representation
Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation Conceptual Representation

Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a medical treatment that is routinely used in the treatment of epilepsy and other neurological conditions. VNS studies are not just clinically, but also scientifically informative regarding the role of the vagus nerve in health and disease.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Device and Method

Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulator Attached to the Auricular Concha via Ear Clip
Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulator Attached to the Auricular Concha via Ear Clip

Vagus nerve stimulation works by applying electrical impulses to the vagus nerve. The stimulation of the vagus nerve can be performed in two different ways: a direct invasive stimulation, which is currently the most frequent application and an indirect transcutaneous non-invasive stimulation. Invasive VNS (iVNS) requires the surgical implantation of a small pulse generator subcutaneously in the left thoracic region. In contrast to iVNS, transcutaneous VNS (tVNS) allows for a non-invasive stimulation of the vagus nerve without any surgical procedure. Here, the stimulator is usually attached to the auricular concha via ear clips and delivers electrical impulses at the subcutaneous course of the afferent auricular branch of the vagus nerve (2).

A pilot study that examined the application of VNS in 60 patients with treatment-resistant depressive disorder showed a significant clinical improvement in 30–37% of patients and a high tolerability (3). Five years later, the stimulation of the vagus nerve for the treatment of refractory depression was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (4). Since then, the safety and efficacy of VNS in depression has been demonstrated in numerous observational studies as can be seen below. In contrast, there is no randomized, placebo-control clinical trial that reliably demonstrates antidepressant effects of VNS.

The vagus nerve represents the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system, which oversees a vast array of crucial bodily functions, including control of mood, immune response, digestion, and heart rate. It establishes one of the connections between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract and sends information about the state of the inner organs to the brain via afferent fibers. In this review article, we discuss various functions of the vagus nerve which make it an attractive target in treating psychiatric and gastrointestinal disorders. There is preliminary evidence that vagus nerve stimulation is a promising add-on treatment for treatment-refractory depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and inflammatory bowel disease. Treatments that target the vagus nerve increase the vagal tone and inhibit cytokine production. Both are important mechanism of resiliency. The stimulation of vagal afferent fibers in the gut influences monoaminergic brain systems in the brain stem that play crucial roles in major psychiatric conditions, such as mood and anxiety disorders. In line, there is preliminary evidence for gut bacteria to have beneficial effect on mood and anxiety, partly by affecting the activity of the vagus nerve. Since, the vagal tone is correlated with capacity to regulate stress responses and can be influenced by breathing, its increase through meditation and yoga likely contribute to resilience and the mitigation of mood and anxiety symptoms.

VNS In Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Vagus nerve stimulation attenuates the systemic inflammatory response to endotoxin (5) and intestinal inflammation (6). The VNs also indirectly modulates immune activity of the spleen through connections with the splenic sympathetic nerve (7). In rats with colonic inflammation, the 3-hour long daily VNS for a period of 5 days led to a reduction in inflammatory markers and an improvement in symptoms of colitis (8).

Vagus nerve stimulation should be of interest in other inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, another TNF-α-mediated disease. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, a study that demonstrated an improvement of symptoms in the early and late stages of the disease through 1–4 minutes of VNS daily (9). This study was also the first to show that VNS inhibits the production of TNF-α (also known as TNF-alpha) and other cytokines in humans by stimulating the inflammatory reflex, leading to an improvement of symptom severity. These data argue for an anti-inflammatory role of the vagus nerve and provide potential therapeutic applications for patients with IBDs (10, 8, 11).

Conclusion

The interaction between the gut and the brain is based on a complex system that includes not only neural but also endocrine, immune, and humoral links.

The vagus nerve is an essential part of the brain–gut axis and plays an important role in the modulation of inflammation, the maintenance of intestinal homeostasis, and the regulation of food intake, satiety, and energy homeostasis. An interaction between nutrition and the vagus nerve is well known, and vagal tone can influence food intake and weight gain.

Moreover, the vagus nerve plays an important role in the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders, obesity as well as other stress-induced and inflammatory diseases.

Vagus nerve stimulation and several meditation techniques demonstrate that modulating the vagus nerve has a therapeutic effect, mainly due to its relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Extinction paired with VNS is more rapid than extinction paired with sham stimulation. As it is currently approved by the Federal FDA for depression and seizure prevention, VNS is a readily available and promising adjunct to exposure therapy for the treatment of severe anxiety disorders.

Vagus nerve stimulation is an effective anticonvulsant device and has shown in observational studies antidepressant effects in chronic treatment-resistant depression. Because the vagus nerve sends information to brain regions is important in the stress response (LC, orbitofrontal cortex, insula, hippocampus, and amygdala), this pathway might be involved in perceiving or manifesting various somatic and cognitive symptoms that characterize stress-related disorders.

Psychotropic drugs, such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors, have effects on both the brain and the gastrointestinal tract and consequently should be understood as modulators of the brain–gut axis.

Research investigating the interaction between nutritive factors, somatic factors, such as heart rate, psychological and pharmacological treatments, and vagal activity has the potential to lead to integrative treatment options that incorporate VNS, nutritional approaches, drugs, and psychological interventions, such as mindfulness-based approaches, which can be tailored to the needs of the individual patient.

A Final Thought About Vagus Nerve Stimulation And CES

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) has been engaging Vagus nerve stimulation for decades, through the use of ear clips to stimulate the nerve endings in the ears. Recent data from clinical studies and practical application reflect the positive results that may be gained by applying low amplitude, extremely low frequency (ELF) electric currents, through the Vagus nerve system. The CES Ultra cranial electrotherapy stimulator device incorporates both ELF and ear clip attachments, as part of its standard application to treat anxiety and insomnia without medication.

Get Your Own CES Ultra for only $299
Rated 4.8/5 based on 18 user reviews

Several months ago I suffered with severe insomnia. I couldn’t get more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night, and sometimes I couldn’t sleep at all. I tried all kinds of sleep medications and supplements without success. I saw a neurologist who specializes in sleep problems, but she was of little help. I did some research on the internet and came across studies with CES. I decided to buy a CES Ultra. Within 2 weeks I was able to get 7 hours of sleep a night. I used it every day for two months and during that time I had no insomnia. Now I find that using it 2 or 3 times a week is sufficient for me to get a good night’s sleep.

Ray W.

Citations

  1. Frontiers in Psychiatry – Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain–Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders (original publication)
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine – Effect of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation on major depressive disorder: A nonrandomized controlled pilot study
  3. Springer Nature – Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS™) for Treatment-Resistant Depression: Efficacy, Side Effects, and Predictors of Outcome
  4. ScienceDirect® – Safety and efficacy of Vagus Nerve Stimulation in treatment-resistant depression. A systematic review
  5. Springer Nature – Vagus nerve stimulation attenuates the systemic inflammatory response to endotoxin
  6. Springer Nature – Stimulation of the vagus nerve attenuates macrophage activation by activating the Jak2-STAT3 signaling pathway
  7. American Association for the Advancement of Science – Acetylcholine-Synthesizing T Cells Relay Neural Signals in a Vagus Nerve Circuit
  8. ScienceDirect – Anti-inflammatory effect of vagus nerve stimulation in a rat model of inflammatory bowel disease
  9. PNAS – Vagus nerve stimulation inhibits cytokine production and attenuates disease severity in rheumatoid arthritis
  10. The Physiological Society – Anti‐inflammatory properties of the vagus nerve: potential therapeutic implications of vagus nerve stimulation
  11. Clinical Medicine Insights: Gastroenterology – Bioelectrical Stimulation for the Reduction of Inflammation in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  12. Medium Elemental – Science Confirms That the Vagus Nerve Is Key to Well-being
  13. CES Ultra – The Role of CES in Fighting Inflammation
  14. CES Ultra – Non-Drug Relief From Anxiety.

Last Modified: March 23, 2021

Chionophobia and how to cope with it

Fresh, deep snow blanketing a home, yard and evergreen trees
Fresh, Deep Snow Blanketing A Home, Yard And Evergreen Trees

Chionophobia is defined as an intense fear of snow. As in most phobias, Chionophobia is driven by anxiety and categorized as a Natural Environment Phobia. According to a study carried out by the American Meteorological Society, Chionophobia is the second most prevalent Natural Environment Phobia subtype.

The name originates from Greek chion meaning snow and phobia meaning fear, aversion or dread. People with Chionophobia often understand that their fear is unfounded. Regardless of logic, those who suffer are unable to halt its symptoms.

Overview

Chionophobia is not just a dislike of snow or a rational fear of severe weather forecasts. It incorporates an irrational fear of snow that is typically linked to a fear of bodily harm or death. Though phobias can and do manifest themselves differently in different people’s experiences, there are typically two primary fears behind Chionophobia: the fear of becoming snowbound and the fear of being stranded in snow.

Chionophobia Symptoms

Like all phobias, Chionophobia can bring rise to a variety of symptoms, most commonly:

  • Paying undue attention to weather reports
  • Refusing to leave home during snowy weather
  • Experiencing panic attacks.

For people with true Chionophobia, the mere forecast of a winter storm or snowfall can induce the physiological symptoms of fear, anxiety-like cold sweats, panic attacks, and unrealistic feelings of doom.

Coping With Chionophobia

The best methods for coping with the fear of snow depend on the severity and the level of impact that the fear has on one’s life. Sufferers of Chionophobia often find that becoming educated about different types of snow and their effects on local conditions can calm their fears. Others find that gradual exposure to winter activities can be helpful. Living with Chionophobia is difficult. Friends and family are often non-empathetic to the irrationality of its effects. However, for the phobic it is real and serious phobia that interferes with everyday life.

If the associated fear were to become severe or life-limiting, it is wise to seek the guidance of a trained mental health professional. Winter weather is a fact of life. With proper assistance and the right tools, symptoms of Chionophobia can be lessened, thus improving one’s quality of life.

When thoughts of an oncoming storm begin to make one anxious, the progression of the anxiety can be halted through the use of Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES). CES works by using a light electrical frequency for balancing neuro-chemistry. Some CES users experience relief immediately during the course of treatment, particularly if use has gone on daily for a week or so. CES results are accumulative and lasting.

The effect of CES use differs from pharmaceutical treatments in that users report not only being more relaxed but that their minds seem more alert and clear. Unlike drugs, CES has no negative side effects and it is non-addictive. CES can be used safely as often as you like.

CES Ultra – U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulated and Registered

The CES Ultra is an FDA regulated and registered CES device for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia. Experience the anxiety-reducing benefits of the CES Ultra device when coping with a fear of snow.

Get Your Own CES Ultra for only $299
Rated 4.8/5 based on 18 user reviews

…just the thoughts of going to sleep had become a great source of daily stress and anxiety for me. So bad was this problem that when it was actually time for me to go to bed… I would lie there wide awake for hours. The CES Ultra gave me my life back, and I feel like a new person again.

Wayne R.

Citations

Last Modified: March 20, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving: What I’m Thankful For

Thanksgiving is here, so our minds have turned
To what time has taught us, to what we’ve learned:
We often focus all our thought
On shiny things we’ve shopped and bought.
We take our pleasure in material things,
Forgetting the pleasure that friendship brings.
If a lot of our stuff just vanished today,
We’d see the foundation of each happy day
Is special relationships, constant and true,
And that’s when our thoughts go directly to you.

We wish you a Thanksgiving you’ll never forget,
Full of love and joy—your best one yet!