Managing Anxiety– So It Doesn’t Manage You, with Elizabeth Owings, MD

Elizabeth Owings, MD

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Job Title / Position: Board Certified General Surgery (Additional training in Critical Care Medicine and Pediatric Surgery)


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Anxiety, stress, unrest in your mind and body, as science is finding out, can wreak all kinds of damage on your body. It is therefore crucial that we understand how best to deal with it.

In this webinar, one of my favorite teachers, Dr Elizabeth Owings will show that, with good nutrition, an intelligent and judicious use of specific drugs and supplements, and limiting our ingestion of certain foods and stimulants, we – doctors, as well as laypeople – can make a huge difference.

“Sounds crazy, but I’ve got people claiming I’ve changed their lives just by telling them how their body works!”


  1. Q: There are times after eating, sometimes, that I get this fuzzy/dizzy/displaced sort of feeling accompanied with a sort of cycle of anxiety. I asked my doctor about getting blood tests to ensure it wasn’t a blood sugar problem or poor insulin response, diabetes, etc., and he told me with certainty that what I said sounded like classic anxiety… anyway I guess my question is what and why is this happening after I eat?

    A: And you thought, “If it’s classic anxiety, why is it associated with eating?”

    OK, I can’t be your doctor long-distance, but I have some ideas which may help you. Your question is right up my alley… my board certification is in general surgery, and what you are describing sounds like “dumping syndrome”, named because the food is “dumped” too rapidly into the small intestine. (The classic syndrome has diarrhea, another reason to call it ‘dumping’, but not everyone who has it has diarrhea.) It is most common after gastric surgery, but I have encountered it in people who have never had an operation. Also CCK (the hormone that is released after you eat, which makes your gall bladder secrete bile) is associated with anxiety—it is actually used in medical studies to CREATE anxiety.
    Yes, it sounds like your symptoms may be associated with eating, and possibly with blood sugar peaks and valleys. You could keep a diet journal of what you eat and any symptoms you may feel. Or you could just eat so as to minimize the symptoms: (this is straight from wiki)
    Dumping syndrome is largely avoidable by avoiding certain foods that are likely to cause it. Treatment includes changes in eating habits and medication. People who have gastric dumping syndrome need to eat several small meals a day that are low in carbohydrates, avoiding simple sugars, and should drink liquids between meals, not with them. Fiber delays gastric emptying and reduces insulin peaks.
    (So the #1 combo with fries and a shake or sugary soda is right out!)

    One other thought–I have a few patients with bulimia. After binging they describe feeling very uncomfortable (emotionally) until they purge. One, in particular, usually follows a diet closely for religious reasons. When she eats something she knows she shouldn’t, she feels a strong urge to purge. She describes this urge as feeling just like anxiety or apprehension; it is relieved by purging. Interestingly, she says it does not feel like guilt, which is what I would have expected from someone who feels they have broken a religious rule.

    I’m not saying that you are bulimic; but if this client’s story resonates with you, you might be better served with an eating disorder approach. I hope some of this is helpful.

    Q: How much magnesium & vitamin d should most people take for supplementation?

    A: magnesium—400mg to 1000 mg daily SO LONG AS KIDNEY FUNCTION IS NORMAL (people on dialysis shouldn’t take magnesium); vitamin D 5,000 IU (International Units) daily

    Q: Can you recommend ways I can better understand how to help a son understand that illegal drug use causes irritibility, anger, depression and anxiety….the symptoms he then tries to cover by using drugs? We’re at a point that we don’t know what came first.

    A: First, recognize that you may be dealing with an addict who is actively practicing, who also has anxiety. (not just an anxious person who has found a way to self-medicate, the side-effects of which disturb you)
    Addicts of any kind who are actively practicing their addiction cannot be reasoned with. He will never understand what you are trying to tell him. Please realize that you didn’t cause his condition, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it. Yet there is hope. I sincerely recommend that you attend at least six Al-Anon meetings; go to the “Newcomer’s Meeting”, and talk to the people there. Find a sponsor—someone whom you can talk with freely, who doesn’t know you or your son. People are people; you may find that one particular group you feel very comfortable with, and another group you aren’t as happy with. But I suggest you go to at least 6 before you decide whether the meetings or system have any value for you.

    Q: What is wrong with attivan?

    A: Ativan, used correctly, is a wonderful drug. I generally recommend benzodiazepines be used only on an “as needed” basis, not 3 times a day, as sometimes occurs.

    Q: Suzie has taken a magnesium to drop Xanax , but too much caused diarrhea. Xanax- my wife is down toa .25 mg, but struggles to quit.

    A: Magnesium oxide pills seem to cause less diarrhea, but even Milk of Magnesia, can be taken in small doses throughout the day (like ½ teaspoon 2 or 3 times daily). Even another benzodiazepine may be needed, such as klonopin. She could also look into natural progesterone supplementation. Progesterone is the “calming hormone”. A good book to check into would be “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Pre-menopause.” It doesn’t matter whether she is premenopausal or menopausal; it is a very good book and a good reference.
    Also, it occurs to me that if she is struggling, then this may be something she cannot do alone. Sources of assistance might be counseling, cognitive behavior therapy, 12-steps (Al-Anon is probably the best for people with generalized anxiety without active addiction–even if she doesn’t have an addict or alcoholic in her life); also please check into the Emotional Freedom Technique. If she chooses to use the EFT, she should definitely find a qualified practitioner to work with.



    A: Accad You Tube Demo—should work on google or yahoo search engines.


    Emotional Freedom Technique—Accad YouTube Demo
    Google for practitioner in your area
    12-steps; Anxiety to Serenity
    Belly breathing
    Fear-fighter CBT (
    Wheat Belly by Willliam Davis, MD
    Finding Your Flow by Steve Jackon & Steven Covey
    Potatoes Not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaisons

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