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Non-Psychiatric Approach To

Calming and Stopping Anxiety


    An excerpt from Chapter 11 in the book,

My Action Plan for Stopping the Symptoms of

Mitral Valve Prolapse







Anxiety: Physiological not Psychological

To my thinking, physiological reactions to adrenaline release comprise a common feature of MVPS, not a psychiatric problem of anxiety. Though commonly secreted during times of stress and fear, adrenaline release is not necessarily caused by emotional factors or tied to a psychiatric disorder.


Adrenaline Causes the Feeling of Anxiety and Panic

Physiologically, the hormone adrenaline causes anxiety and fear. Gratuitous or unprovoked adrenaline release underlies dysautonomia, which causes the majority of MVPS symptoms.

Anxiety can cause numerous symptoms: an impending sense of doom or danger, accelerated heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, shaking, a feeling of weakness, nervousness, and panic.


The Benefits of Adrenaline

In many instances, adrenaline prepares the body to react to danger and trauma in a lifesaving way. The hormone can temporarily block the pain from severe injury and constrict blood vessels to lessen life-threatening bleeding until medical attention can be obtained.

People suffering from heart attacks experience anxiety. The same adrenaline that causes that feeling can, under different circumstances, help a heart to continue to beat.


For more information on these characteristics of adrenaline, see: “What is Adrenaline?” Hormone Health Network


“Heart Attack Symptoms: Know What’s a Medical Emergency,” Mayo Clinic.

“Adrenaline Can Restart the Heart but is No Good for the Brain,” 4 September 2018,National Institute for Health Research.


Adrenaline: Not Always a Good Thing

I can calmly watch a happy movie on television when an unexpected adrenaline surge triggers anxiety and fear followed by one or more MVPS symptoms. This happens in the absence of upset, fear, nervousness, or worry.


The incident cannot be traced to childhood memories or PTSD. No amount of therapy will stop such episodes, and an anxiety diagnosis followed by drug treatment will not find or address the unprovoked physiological event.


In a stressful situation, my sympathetic nervous system can cause the release of extra adrenaline in my body which can turn nervousness into anxiety which then can trigger a panic attack.


Now, I can deal effectively with anxiety symptoms with the help of Captain Tom Bunn who developed the SOAR program for nervous flyers and is the author of the book Panic Free, The 10-Day Program to End Panic, Anxiety, and Claustrophobia.


Below are links to Bunn’s articles. Now I understand that sequence where anxiety causes more anxiety so, with the help of Bunn’s methods, I no longer overreact, which helps calm everything down instead of getting worse.


(Captain Tom Bunn, L.C.S.W.,“How To Stop A Panic Attack and Keep It From Happening Again,” Psychology Today, June 15, 2020.)

(Captain Tom Bunn, L.C.S.W.,  “The Psychological Discovery That Can Keep You Calm During This Crisis.”, July 20, 2020.

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