Anxiety Attacks – Physiological Causes

Anxiety and Depression

A reader has submitted the following question in regard to anxiety attacks.

Q. “Before I begin, let me just say that I love your blog as it has helped me understand many things I have been confused about. Thank you. That being said, perhaps you can help me out with my long-time challenge in life.

I am a 26 year old woman diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder and panic attack syndrome. I cannot go too far from my hometown (and indeed sometimes my own home) without feeling anxious and sick to my stomach. It runs in my family, and as I have very little stress aside this, I assume its chemical imbalance. Candida and blood sugar seem not to play a role in this unless testing has failed me.

I have tried conventional, prescription medications (a nightmare!), vitamin supplements for stress, 5htp, and I practice meditation, yoga and spend a great deal of my time reflecting in nature (I’m a tree hugger at heart). I’m just at my imagination’s end on what to try next, as none of these have produced notable results.My conventional doctor wishes to put me on “something else” and I refuse as it has been an awful ride thus far. The local natural foods store suggested Bach’s flower remedy. I haven’t seemed to have much luck with the spray I bought.I’ve tried council, and therapy, and although it was nice, both the doctor and I agreed it’s more chemical issue.

Do you have any suggestions for me? I’m desperate to try anything and give it a good go as this problem has been ruining my life since I was about 20. Thanks! Melanie”

A. Hi Melanie, Yes, I have several suggestions. I lived with anxiety attacks for many years as well. If you haven’t read about my personal experience you can take a look at it at Holistic Treatment for Anxiety.

Anxiety attacks or anxiety disorders are not a mental health problem. Yes, we all experience anxiety from time to time in response to emotional issues, but this type of anxiety passes after the event is over. Anxiety that continues for no reason and occurs out of no where has a physiological basis, not a psychological one.

There are a variety of physiological factors that can be at the root of anxiety attacks:

food allergies

hormonal imbalances

depleted or out of balance neurotransmitters

nutritional deficiencies

low blood sugar

mold allergies

chemical sensitivities

pesticides and herbicides


– caffeine

– cigarettes


Candida is especially important because it can be the cause of food allergies, low blood sugar and hormonal imbalances. It mimics estrogen in the body, eats progesterone and interferes with proper neurotransmitter functioning.

I know you said you had some Candida testing, but keep in mind that there aren’t really any reliable tests out there. Yes, I know there are a variety of them out there you will find practitioners who use them and rely on them, but they are not reliable. Tests quite frequently do not detect Candida when there is indeed a serious problem.

Have you taken the written test in Dr. Crooks book or the Candida Spit Test? They are the only reliable tests. The only way to know for sure if you have Candida is by your symptoms.

There are a few basics that anyone experiencing anxiety attacks should follow:

– remove sugar from the diet
– remove caffeine from the diet (including chocolate and green tea)
– no smoking
– get lots of exercise

Next, go through the list of other possible contributors and begin some detective work. Keep a journal of what you eat, where you go, what you smell and what’s in your environment.

Without a thorough intake of your situation it is not possible for me to say for sure what is the cause of your attacks, however, considering some of the things you said, here are a couple of thoughts off the top my head. It sounds like chemical sensitivities may be a major factor for you because your symptoms exacerbate when you leave your house. That means something in the environment you are entering is a trigger.

This could be car exhaust, off gassing from materials your car is made of, perfumes, air fresheners, pesticides, cleaning supplies or whatever common everyday chemicals are in the environment you go into.

Keep in mind that anxiety attacks usually have a variety of different causes. It’s pretty rare that they would be the result of only one factor. More than likely you have several different physiological aspects occurring simultaneously.

Be sure to read all the pages that are hyperlinked in the list above as each of those pages discusses that particular aspect in more detail.

If you need more personal in depth advice, I’d be happy to help you sort it out on a telephone consultation. You can learn more about my services by visiting the Holistic Counseling page.

5 thoughts on “Anxiety Attacks – Physiological Causes”

  1. Thank you very much for your advice! My former doctor took some bloodwork and asked me a bunch of questions… this amounted to his “candida test”. Immediately after reading your blog, I tried the test by Dr Crook which I found online. It’s middle-ground on the results, so I’m going to treat it as a real possibility.

    Thank you for the link to the Holistic Treatment for Anxiety. I had searched this site for anxiety and must have looked right over this section.

    Although it may be painful, nothing can be more painful than the anxiety attacks and symptoms caused by them, so I’m going to … cut… sugar. ūüôā
    This could be the biggest factor for me, because just as you once were, I am a carbohydrate lover. But honestly, not a single doctor or therapist ever made the suggestion I stop sugar or even cut it down.

    So I am going to read your Holistic Treatment for Anxiety thoroughly now, make some hard changes, and hopefully, will start to see some light at the end of the tunnel soon!

    Thank you very much for your help. It really helps to know that, as you’ve gone through the same thing, you know first hand what works and what doesn’t seem to.

    Thank you!

  2. You’re welcome, Melanie.

    Yes, removing sugar from your diet is the most crucial step you can take. It can instigate anxiety in a variety of ways. Sugar disrupts neurotransmitters, upsets blood sugar, feeds Candida and you can be allergic to it.

    Good luck and let me know how things go.


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