September 8, 2010

Acid Reflux and Anxiety Attacks

If you suffer from acid reflux or gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), then you are already aware of its painful effects. Even more disruptive than pain, it can cause a variety of unwanted physical and emotional responses. If you are a sufferer, you are familiar with the burning in your chest, upset stomach, nausea, and acid in your throat. Often, taking drugs such as Nexium, Tagamet, Omeprazole, Prevacid, Prilosec and Zantac provide only temporary relief. Indeed, these drugs are only intended to be taken for two weeks at a time, with a substantial break in between. Perhaps you’ve even been that person who constantly chews Tums or Rolaids, hoping for some relief from the burning. There is a psychological component to acid reflux that has been researched and documented. Researchers have determined that acid reflux and anxiety attacks may be related, simply because of the stress and terrible feelings it can cause.

This stress manifests itself in acid reflux sufferers as anxiety, which may even cause greater agitation of the esophagus, stomach and throat. Relaxation techniques have been shown to relieve acid levels in patients, which may be of benefit to anyone who is suffering not only from the acid reflux symptoms, but additional the anxiety and in some circumstances even panic attacks. The unwanted symptoms from acid reflux and anxiety attacks can be increased through lack of sleep. Acid back-flow, which occurs in the prone position one assumes when sleeping, can lead to emotional and psychological as well.

Anxiety can be felt as anxiousness, nervousness, sweating, rapid pulse, rapid breathing, anxious thoughts or actions, inability to sleep, or the feeling that the world is about to end. When you add a physical component such as acid reflux to this mix, you can aggravate both conditions, each feeding off the other, causing heightened symptoms. It can be severe, as the insomnia is caused by the acid that is flowing up into your throat and mouth. Severe burning may occur when stomach acid hits parts of the body it was never intended to meet. Stomach acid is corrosive and causes many problems when it is introduced into the body. This vicious cycle, however, can be abated.

Patients can be taught muscle relaxation techniques to combat the anxiety that aggravates acid reflux and GERD symptoms. Such relaxation eases the anxiety to the point where acid triggers are eased, thereby offering relief from further stomach and esophagus troubles. You can learn to relax your muscles and your emotional state to achieve peace of mind. A holistic approach to acid reflux treatment is possible with simple relaxation and stretching techniques. Acid reflux and anxiety attacks do not have to go hand in hand, but when they do, know that relief is available from a natural, easy-to-access source: your own body.

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