Stress, anxiety and panic disorders are more widely diagnosed now than ever before.
Often resulting from traumatic experiences, it’s estimated that one in five adults are living with the realities of trying to cope with a wide range of symptoms from issues like these which can range from heart palpitations and panic attacks to hysteria, nausea and psychotic episodes.
Doctors are often quick to prescribe a plethora of pharmaceuticals to modify their patient’s condition, but this often leads to serious side-effects that can often outweigh the initial problem.
Furthermore, it has become abundantly clear that medicine alone is not enough to treat mental health issues. Every year an increasing number of people around the world seek professional support and advice to help them find balance and stability in relation to their mental health, through therapy, support groups and innumerate wellbeing ideologies, with many people now combining their counseling and therapy with CBD to enhance their levels of calm.Many of these conditions manifest in numerous ways, but perhaps the most impactful one for many sufferers (i.e. the most frequent or prevalent manifestation) comes in the form of intrusive thoughts which trigger psychological, emotional or physiological responses.
In essence, intrusive thoughts are sometimes referred to as something which is ‘floating’ around in your brain and comes to the forefront of your mind suddenly and often with no provocation. Depending on the individual and their own experiences, these thoughts can relate to all manner of things but they usually focus on the absolute worst-case scenario in relation to any given thing. Intrusive thoughts can be violent, sexual, terrifying ideas which are often taboo in nature and this results in the sufferer feeling very isolated as they cannot separate the intrusive thoughts from what they have chosen to contemplate and therefore they don’t feel comfortable discussing what they think for fear that they will be viewed in a negative light.
Imagine, for example, someone obsessing over hypothetical situations to the point where they cannot function out of fear that their thoughts will become a reality. It can be a very scary place to find yourself and incredibly traumatic to experience.
Traditionally, the treatment of any issue surrounding mental health has been heavily-driven by counseling and psychotherapy. Most of us would imagine that having to ‘see someone’ about how we are thinking and feeling is still the ‘go to’ method of seeking help and support, however there is now far more focus on teaching aspects of mindfulness and ways that a patient can manage their own wellbeing in between their appointments. At any given moment, sufferers may find themselves struck down by an episode while they are isolated or in a place which requires them to maintain their composure.
Having struggled with depression and high-functioning anxiety for many years myself, finding ways to cope in difficult situations has never been easy and I have a tendency to shutdown and fall into silence when I get overwhelmed (part of the fight/flight/freeze response).
That being said, I class myself as incredibly fortunate that this condition has not impacted on my day-to-day life to the same degree as many others.Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT as it is commonly referred to as, is not exactly a new approach to dealing with anxiety disorders and its many counterparts, but in recent years it has evolved dramatically. Having initially been championed and pioneered in the 1960s, it wasn’t until the 1990s that it became more widely-used.
Over the past few decades, more research into its impact has revealed that there are countless benefits to teaching CBT to patients and it is now available much more widely. The other advantage to this expansion of provision is that the more widespread its use becomes, the more widely acknowledged these issues are and, consequently, there is more understanding and appreciation for how people are affected by these types of issues.
With its focus often relating to the impact of spontaneous thought and how incapacitating this can be if troubling and/or unwanted, CBT teaches sufferers new pathways of thinking which allow them to better manage their response to their thought patterns. In essence, although an incredibly simplified summation, CBT can be thought of as a range of strategies which can be applied in different situations and individual patients will find that different strategies work better for them. One of the major benefits of CBT is that it can be used to reduce the need for and even replace more traditional medicines in favor of homeopathy and herbal treatments.
Over the past few years, CBD’s impact on the health supplement scene has been nothing short of phenomenal. Suddenly it seems like the whole conversation around cannabis as a potential healer has accelerated and this has certainly been spurred on by the paradigm shift in opinion brought about by all the hype surrounding THC’s non-psychoactive cousin. The idea of using CBD to treat anxiety has been increasing in popularity and it is now being widely reported that patients across the US and Europe are combining their CBT with CBD to achieve levels of wellness they never thought possible. Despite its lack of psychoactivity, CBD is widely reported to bring a sense of ease and calm to those who use it and it also frequently results in people feeling more relaxed in situations which might usually prove stressful.
A combination of CBT and CBD has the potential to put people into a safer and more secure state of mind than either of them may achieve when used separately. Furthermore, studies have found that CBD assists in the regeneration of neurons in the hippocampus and this is important because sufferers of anxiety are often found to have a reduced hippocampus in comparison to non-sufferers.
As research into this potent combination of treatments continues, it will be interesting to see what impact CBD has on the long-term recovery of patients and to what extent CBD can help the body to repair the damage.Due to its non-narcotic and non-addictive traits, there are very few negatives to using CBD to help in the alleviation of symptoms relating to a whole host of conditions.
As with anything in life, there are always precautions which you should adhere to (such as verifying that your supply of CBD comes from a reputable source and that it is what it says it is) and if you are already using prescribed medication then you should always consult your physician before combining your medicine with anything else. Our mental health and wellbeing is just as important as maintaining our physiological wellness, so it’s imperative that we look after ourselves and each other.
Written and Published By Bethan Bee Rose Weed World Magazine Issue 146