Question: Dr. Elaine, I have tried and tried to get control of my thoughts.  It feels like they are doing the thinking for me, and I can’t stop them.  The only time I can stop worrying and thinking about something terrible happening is when I am asleep. I am a nervous wreck.  My doctor wants me to take anti-anxiety medication, and I don’t want to.  What can I do?

Answer: You may want to consider a brief use of the anti-anxiety medications, and/or get a second opinion.  You can gain hold of your thoughts, but it is a process, and could take a few weeks, with concerted, intentional effort to do so.  I would suggest that you ask for a referral to a therapist that uses cognitive behavioral therapy to help you with this issue.

While it may seem like your thoughts are in control, they are not.  I would imagine that you’ve focused on negative thoughts—fearful situations for quite some time, and that has led you to this situation, that understandably feels out of control.  You can take charge of your thoughts.

The other aspect I recommend you considering is that there may be nutritional deficiencies that are exacerbating your symptoms.  Key b vitamin deficiencies, vitamin d, and other mineral deficiencies (such as magnesium) can contribute to anxiety.

Also certain supplements such as Theanine (one of my favorites), an amino acid extracted from green tea can help to disrupt the stress response your thoughts are causing.

Exercise, and engaging in activities you find enjoyable will also interrupt you continuously negative thoughts.   Even exposure to Mother Nature is helpful.

Bottom line is  for you to know that it’s never to late to stop this type of thinking no matter how long it’s gone one.  There is help and hope for you.