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Anxiety Symptoms and Treatments

Many individuals use the term anxiety to refer to a great deal of worry. But what does anxiety really mean? And what does anxiety look like? Awareness of anxiety symptoms and treatments can increase the likelihood of getting help and relieving any stress you may be feeling.


What is Anxiety?

Anxiety means an excessive worry or anxiousness that lasts for more than six months. The fear and worriedness manifest themselves in various extreme forms. These forms could look like physical and emotional ailments or psychological unrest. The toll that anxiety takes on an individual is very severe. For many individuals, it may not seem clear or evident that he or she is experiencing an anxiety disorder due to the lack of knowledge and information about its manifestation (


Research suggests that women are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder in their lifetime than men (McLean, 2011, pp. 1). Gender differences and anxiety has shown that the manifestation of anxiety in both women and men could be presented in a similar fashion. However, research suggests that the main difference is “the observed differences between men and women are somewhat influenced by gender-related differences in the conceptualization and reporting of symptoms” (McLean, 2011, pp. 11).  


Common Anxiety SymptomsAnxiety Symptoms and Treatments

Anxiety’s most common psychological symptoms are: excessive worriedness, nervousness, irritation, racing thoughts, and a sense of panic. On the other hand, anxiety could take a much more physiological form in certain individuals. These common symptoms are: increased heartbeat, difficulty sleeping or remaining asleep, loss of appetite, tense muscles, and sweating. “These shared physiological states suggest a shared underlying biology and that anxiety maybe a whole-body condition” (Jovanovic, et al., 2018).


Treatment for anxiety could include various options. When combined, evidence-based therapy (EBT), cotemporary and alternative therapies have been shown effectiveness in the treatment of anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an example of one type of EBT. “It teaches people different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to anxiety-producing and fearful objects and situations. CBT can also help people learn and practice social skills, which is vital for treating social anxiety disorder.” Typically, some therapies are combined to increase their effectiveness in treating anxiety. CBT and exposure therapy have been utilized quite a bit together to treat social anxiety disorder (SAD) (NIMH, 2018).


Another form of treatment for anxiety disorders that has been researched intensively is the use of medical marijuana. The research that has been complied thus far suggests that medical marijuana is capable of reducing anxiety, relaxing muscle tension, and stimulating appetite (Lava, 2018). Pennsylvania is one of the 33 states that has legalized the medical use of marijuana, “short-term use of medical marijuana with low THC and high CBD content has been shown to be most effective in treatment of anxiety disorders” (Sasko, 2019).  


How Can We Help? Anxiety Symptoms and Treatments

Rahmah Albugani is a doctorate intern who is conducting evaluations and ongoing counseling here at Makin Wellness. She is a nationally certified counselor with experience in setting goals for clients that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time manageable. If you are interested in mental health counseling for anxiety, please contact our office at (412)-532-1249 to schedule with Rahmah!




Jovanovic, T., Lott, A. P., Michopoulos, V., Stevens, J., Rooij, S. van, Keller, J. M., … Sierra Carter. (2018). What Is Anxiety & How to Treat It – Anxiety Definition. Retrieved from


Lava, N. (2018). Medical Marijuana FAQ. Retrieved from


McLean, C. P., Asnaani, A., Litz, B. T., & Hofmann, S. G. (2011). Gender differences in anxiety disorders: prevalence, course of illness, comorbidity and burden of illness. Journal of psychiatric research45(8), 1027–1035. Doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2011.03.006


National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2018). Anxiety Disorders. Retrieved from


Sasko, C. (2019). People with Anxiety Disorders Can Soon Get Pa. Medical Marijuana Cards. Retrieved from



About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.


Rahmah Albugani Makin Wellness

Social Wellness: Meaningful Relationships for a Healthy Lifestyle

“The secret to a meaningful life is meaningful relationships” – Anonymous

Sociologists have noted that the people you spend the most time with largely impact your life. For example, surrounding yourself with those who smoke may make your more likely to start smoking. The five people we spend the most time with can influence our mindset, and other habits too – both good and bad. Choosing friendships with people who you admire or want to imitate can help support the lifestyle you desire. Social wellness involves meaningful, balanced relationships with family, friends, and co-workers.

It takes mindfulness and careful time management to prioritize healthy, meaningful relationships. In the pursuit of financial success, it’s all too easy to lose connection with friends and family. Interestingly, social wellness is a key aspect to mental health, and largely plays into our financial success. Close friends and family help us put things into perspective, keeping our goals and pursuits in line with our personal values.  social wellness

What really is social wellness?

Social wellness refers to the quality and stability of your relationships with others. It includes a positive social network of friends, family, professional contacts, and casual acquaintances. Those who encourage and support you in being your best self positively impact your social wellness. social wellness

Quality over quantity is key. Deep and meaningful relationships provide a higher degree of social wellness over unhealthy, superficial relationships. A strong support system of people you trust provides you greater ability to overcome hard times, whether it be the loss of a loved one, loss of job, or other difficult life circumstance. Research has shown social wellness to correlate with longer life expectancy and improved overall health. Consider some ways to improve your social wellness.

Improving Social Wellness:

Spend Quality Time – A happy, fulfilled life is dependent on healthy and meaningful relationships. This may require a little extra effort in prioritizing these relationships. In the long run, giving of your time will allow for deeper, more meaningful relationships with others.

Successful relationships involve give and take. Think of it as making deposits and withdrawals in your bank account. At times you may be on the receiving end, and other times you may be offering support to someone else.

Maintaining a Balance Finding balance between the amount of time spent with friends, family, and coworkers is essential. Depending on whether your married with children or single will effect who you’re spending the most time with. Making time for yourself and practicing self-care is necessary too in being able to give your best to others.

Prioritize Your Mental Wellness – Mental illness can be as debilitating as physical illness. Modern medical science has proven that the traditional approach of separating the brain from the body is not entirely effective – mental health is just as important as any other part of the body, with the mind and body working synergistically. Prioritizing your mental wellness will improve your overall health and ability to have a better quality of social wellness. social wellness

Building a strong social network will support a happier, healthier, more resilient lifestyle. If you’re looking for support in making more meaningful connections, improving communication skills, and finding greater balance to support overall wellness, contact us today and start living your best life!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

The Benefits of Adding Juice to Your Diet

Our founder, Sara Makin, recently did a juice feast with The Pittsburgh Juice Company! This allowed her to get firsthand experience on how healthy, organic juices can benefit your body. This juice “feast” lasted five days and consisted of about six organic juices and smoothies per day. Each juice contained a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Only a very small amount of food was eaten during the feast.


A juice cleanse is a big diet change, and in order for it to go smoothly, it is important to prepare ahead of time. A few days before the cleanse begins it helps to cut out harmful substances like coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, and sugary drinks. The purpose of the cleanse is to remove the toxins that some of these drinks put into your body. In order to help your body be ready for a large intake of liquids, you should be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water a day or two before the cleanse. Continuing to stay hydrated during the cleanse will also aid in the removal of toxins. Since adjusting to a juice cleanse takes a lot out of your body, getting plenty of rest before the start of the cleanse will be beneficial. Make sure to listen to your body during the process and change exercise/sleep routines to fit your energy levels.

Day 1

On the first day, Sara reported that it was challenging to stick with all the juices. It takes adjustment in order to get used to not eating and only drinking liquids. However, since she was busy without the day,

there wasn’t much time to think about food until she came home for the night. Although, the thoughts of food subsided once she continued the cleanse.

Day 2

The second day showed the first signs of the benefits of a juice cleanse. Sara started to feel a little better and more adjusted. She felt like she gained a bit more clarity mentally. In the afternoon, she usually takes a B12 vitamin or gets a coffee in order to gain more energy to make it through the day. On the cleanse, she did not feel the need to take a supplement to boost her energy.

Day 3

Day three built upon the progress already made from the previous days on the cleanse. Sara began to feel much better and reported having better digestion along with more energy throughout the day. She noticed her skin gradually clearing up. Mentally, she felt sharp and focused but not stressed. She reported her mind feeling clear but relaxed.

Day 4

On the fourth day, digestion continued to improve. Her skin looked clear and glowing. Her appetite decreased, but her energy level remained high. Again, she was able to work through the day without feeling drowsy or drained. She didn’t need as much sleep as she previously did but was still able to maintain mental clarity and sharpness.

Day 5

This was the last day of the “juice feast”. Juice cleanses take dedication and effort, so at the end of the five days, Sara felt ready to be finished. However, the benefits of the juice reached their maximum levels on the fifth day. She felt very energetic while only needing five hours of sleep, the least amount of sleep that she had gotten that week. She woke up refreshed in the morning and ready to take on the day. Her mind was focused and clear, making the afternoon tiredness completely disappear. She no longer felt the need to take vitamin supplements or coffee in order to push through the day.


As a whole, the juice cleanse raised energy levels, increased digestion, and improved the look of her skin. Along with the many benefits, Sara had her favorite drinks. Witch’s Brew, a juice made from cucumber,

Granny Smith apple, kale, spinach, celery, lemon, ginger, and Drink Me, which was said to taste like a vanilla milkshake. Drink Me is a juice made from Blue Majik spirulina, house-made cashew milk, dates, vanilla, coconut oil, pink Himalayan sea salt. Once the cleanse was over, Sara noticed that she tended to be thirsty more often than she was hungry. This decreased appetite could be beneficial to those looking to lose weight. When adjusting back to eating food, she noticed that her taste buds were more sensitive, almost as if the juice feast had restarted her sense of taste.

Returning to a Normal Diet

After finishing a juice cleanse, you shouldn’t automatically binge on food. It will make the transition smoother if you continue the healthy habits of drinking plenty of water and avoiding caffeine, coffee, and alcohol. If you’re an avid coffee drinker, it is advised that you introduce coffee back into your diet gradually at around ¼ cup increments. Alcohol, however, should be avoided for about a week after the cleanse. Since the liver is key in flushing out our body’s toxins, alcohol won’t allow it to have the well-needed break it deserves after a week of nutrient-dense juices. The post-cleanse process is very similar to the pre-cleanse preparation. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber and nutrients will aid in adjusting your digestion. In addition to your greens, proteins and healthy fats are a great way to stay healthy after a cleanse. Exercising and sweating will help clear out other toxins, but it is important to consider taking it slow at first and making sure that you’re eating enough calories.

Benefits of Juice

Adding juice into your diet is an easy way to incorporate more vegetables and fruits into your daily routine. There are many benefits of juicing which include supporting the immune system, aiding in digestion, promoting a healthy gut biome, and even affecting our mental health.

The Immune System

Fasting has been shown to increase immune rejuvenation. This is because when the body uses up glycogen stores during fasting, the processes carried out support healing throughout the body. The lining of the intestine is usually replenished around every five days. The cells that maintain the intestine, intestinal stem cells, are important in repairing any damage. As people age, the ability to regenerate intestinal stem cells decreases. This, in turn, increases the recovery time for your intestine after an injury or infection. Although the topic is still being researched, it is reported that fasting changes the metabolism to go from burning carbohydrates to metabolizing fatty acids. This change leads to an increase in stem cells abilities to regenerate.


When you’re only consuming liquids and not food, your digestion system does not have to work as hard. This makes digestion easier. Juice allows the body to absorb nutrients at a more efficient rate because liquid travels through the body faster than whole foods that have to be broken down and digested. Some foods that are not normally in an individual’s diet can be harder to digest, which can cause the nutrients to not be distributed throughout the body. Completing a juice cleanse that helps increase the bacteria that support digesting certain foods can allow those nutrients to be more effectively absorbed.

Healthy Gut Biome

Most importantly, however, juices promote a healthy gut biome. The gut biome, in simple terms, is all of the bacteria, viruses, or other living things that are located in your intestines. This biome affects aspects of digestion, the immune system, and even brain health. The bacteria in the gut are key in digesting fiber which is commonly found in fruits and vegetables. This can help with weight loss and diabetes. The gut biome communicates with immune cells to control how your body response to infection. Recently, it has been hypothesized that the gut biome may influence the central nervous system, which controls brain function. The gut is connected to the brain through nerves. It is thought that the gut biome may influence brain health by affecting the messages that are sent through those nerves.

Mental Health

There is a strong link found between nutrition and mental health. Studies have shown that adding fruits and vegetables into one’s diet can improve mental health symptoms. A study called “Let Them Eat Fruit! The Effect of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption on Psychological Wellbeing in Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial” took a sample of college kids with low fruit and vegetable intake and had them report their initial depression and anxiety symptoms. Some were told to continue their normal diet and others were given two weeks’ worth of fruits and vegetables. The study found that only those who were given the supply of fruits and vegetables showed improvements in “vitality, flourishing and motivation”. Adding juice into one’s diet is a very easy way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your daily routine.


Completing a juice cleanse has many benefits that range from supporting our immune systems to aiding in digestion. Although, one does not need to partake in a full-on juice cleanse to reap the benefits of one. Juice cleanses improve our health, but they also serve as a reminder that there is an easy way to work fruits and vegetables into your everyday diet. A juice feast where you drink mostly juices and a small amount of food is still beneficial because you are still adding a large amount of important vitamins and minerals into your diet. It can be difficult to have to remember to eat healthy or to be around places where these foods are available. Juices provide a solution that allows you to improve your health mentally and physically in a way that can even taste better than the whole foods themselves.

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Mental Health and Nutrition


“I haven’t had an anxiety attack in months. I’m completely off my antidepressants, which I 100 percent attribute to diet and lifestyle changes.” – Jane Green

We love hearing stories like these, where behavior changes are made to improve diet and lifestyle and positive results are clearly seen. While everyone is different and there is no one size fits all approach, research has shown the many benefits of diet and lifestyle changes for mental health. mental health

Fueling the body with nutrient dense foods supports enzyme function and serotonin levels (the happy hormone). Reduction of sugar intake improves mood and energy, while an abundance of sugar has been found to decrease a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is connected to anxiety and depression. Consider one study showing the benefits of reducing sugar intake.

In 2017 a study showed those who ate 67 or more grams of sugar (17 teaspoons) had more anxiety and depression. Those who had less than 40 grams of sugar (10 teaspoons) exhibited less anxiety and depression. Reducing sugar in the diet can be difficult at first with symptoms of headaches, feeling tired, and flu-like symptoms. It’s the body’s way of detoxing.

Nutritional counseling can be a great addition to traditional therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Diet and lifestyle is an important part of self-care and self-love, which is key in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). We are all worthy of self-care and incorporating tasty, nutritious foods is a great self-care habit to form.

Increasing healthy habits and reducing unhealthy ones can seem difficult at first, and does take a bit of discipline and behavior change. If you are interested in professional support in making positive changes to support your mental wellness, contact us today for a free consultation! mental health

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Anxiety & Medical Marijuana

“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” – Kahlil Gibran

As human beings, it is natural to feel anxious when leaving our comfort zones. Pushing through our anxiety though, is what helps us to grow as individuals. Finding effective tools to manage anxiety, including preventative measures, is key to reaching our full potentials. When worry seems to take over day to day living, this may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Read more about anxiety disorders here. While prescriptions medications are often used to treat anxiety disorders, they do not come without side effects. Holistic therapy and other natural treatment options are a safe alternative to prescription medications. anxiety

Health secretary Rachel Levine approved Turetts and anxiety as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana as of July 20th. Included anxiety conditions are generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), separation anxiety, social anxiety, agoraphobia, and other phobias.

Medical marijuana is not recommended to treat children, adolescents, or pregnant women with anxiety disorders due to brain and fetus development. Long-term overuse of medical marijuana can cause issues with cognition and memory loss, and the risk of psychological dependency. For best results, it is recommended to incorporate traditional or alternative therapies, and lifestyle changes during medical marijuana treatment. anxiety

Research has shown positive results with medical marijuana being used to decrease and manage anxiety, since the body’s endocannabinoid system appears to play an important role in response to stress and anxiety.

A study conducted by Washington State University showed a decrease in stress, anxiety, and depression with the use of medical marijuana. Both men and women reported a decrease in all three symptoms. Women reported higher reduction in anxiety.

According to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, THC, the main active ingredient of cannabis, “appears to decrease anxiety at lower doses an increase anxiety at higher doses.” Individual responses differ and there are a variety of factors to take into consideration when treating anxiety with medical marijuana. THC in combination with CBD oil can enhance benefits and reduce unwanted effects, including psychoactive affects of THC. The best approach is to start at a low dose, and monitor your bodies response. anxiety

Talking with your physician and a trained therapist can provide the needed support when deciding the right treatment for you. Makin Wellness is happy in supporting you through a natural, holistic approach to wellness, including cognitive behavioral therapy, nutritional counseling, aromatherapy, and other natural treatment options. Contact us today for a free 15-minute consultation!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.


Summer Wellness ~ Walking into Wellness

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” – Friedrich Nietzsche walking

Imagine yourself stepping outside and literally walking into wellness, with a clear mind, less stress, and an overall feeling of well-being. Fresh air and nature provides a calming effect, while daily walking has shown to be a safe, gentle exercise to lose weight, clear the mind, among many other physical and mental benefits.

If the gym is not your thing, don’t despair. Consistent walking in combination with healthy eating has shown to be highly effective for weight loss, and lower risk for things like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Walking 30 minutes per day 5 times a week has shown to lower cardiovascular disease due to improved blood circulation. And the American Diabetes Association noted the benefits of walking to lower blood sugar levels, and lower risk for diabetes. walking

Mental benefits of walking include reduced anxiety and depression. Walking provides increased blood flow to the brain, helping the brains nerve cells to grow and work more efficiently. With improved mood and a calming effect to the nerves, this provides improved functioning of various body systems. A brisk walk produces some amount of sweat, releasing cortisol (the stress hormone). As stress is reduced, mental clarity and creativity is enhanced. Memory and concentration is also improved.

Physical benefits of walking include lower blood pressure, improved digestion, reduced joint pain and inflammation, and improved blood circulation. You can also lose weight by walking farther, faster, and more frequently. Interval walking has shown to be highly effective for weight loss. For example, walking for 15 minutes, and then increasing your speed for 2 m

inutes, helps raise the heartbeat and burn calories.

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, try taking a short daily walk. Find a walking partner to help boost your mood and motivation. Learn more about walking for better health here!

Makin Wellness is happy to provide a personalized wellness plan including meal planning, a walking program, aromatherapy, and other natural techniques for overall wellness. Contact us today for your free 15-minute consultation!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.


Summer Wellness ~ Digital Detoxing

Technology may easily become addictive for young and old alike. Social media, games, texting, email, and endless apps to choose from can have you plugged in morning til’ night. Devices connect us to friends and family and can be quite entertaining, but we want to be sure we’re in control of our engagement, or it could end up controlling the majority of our time. If you feel your devices are taking over, a little digital detoxing may be in order. digital detoxing

A few studies have linked overuse of electronics to insomnia and poor sleep quality, since blue light supresses melatonin, which is a hormone produced by the body to promote sound sleep. Theres also evidence that children overly connected to devices are becoming less empathetic. b Lack of engagement in real life situations results in impatience, due to having instant gratification with the touch of a finger. Face to face conversation offers an exchange that can’t be replicated through technology.

Summer is the perfect opportunity to practice digital detoxing. Spending less time on devices helps reduce stress, promoting a more mindful approach by giving time and attention, and being present with those around you. A few simple ways to do this are – turning off notifications, keeping devices away from the dinner table (otherwise known as phone stacking), setting a timer when using your devices, and keeping devices turned off or out of the bedroom to ensure to optimize sleep. 

One study observed people who went on a digital detox. The observations made by neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers were quite encouraging. Participants had improved eye contact, and better posture, opening up their energy and engagement. Who doesn’t want positive energy?! Improved memory was also shown after being without electronic devices, since they could be more present and better able to store and process information. Another observation was participants had new perspective on life. Instead of wasting time on devices and using them as a crutch, they were able to think freely and evaluate their own life without distraction.

Why not try a digital detox this summer? It’s the perfect time of year to get outdoors and enjoy the warm weather, while spending time being present with friends and family. Perhaps you may find yourself happier, finding new perspective, and connecting with others face to face! digital detoxing

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Laura Stewart, B.A., CHN

Cannabinoids: A New PTSD Treatment Paradigm

The PTSD treatment paradigm, currently reliant on a spectrum of medications, has been increasingly challenged for the dependence it facilitates and its artificial approach to healing a complex, integrated system. Emerging from this has been a cry for increased research on holistic alternatives, namely cannabis and/or CBD use. Legal complications have tied up the field for a while but new research should be emerging soon as a Phase 2 study on the safety and efficacy of smoked marijuana for PTSD symptoms in US veterans is completed. cannabinoids


In the meantime, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine recently published the first study investigating the clinical effects of CBD for people with PTSD. It does need to be supported by randomized, controlled studies, as it was performed on a small sample of 11 patients who were also exposed to psychiatric medications and psychotherapy at the same time, but it is an optimistic opening for this field of research.


Over the course of 8 weeks, the study participants took CBD orally (either in pills or a liquid spray) once or twice a day. They completed the PTSD checklist (PCL-5) at the beginning of the study and again after 4 weeks and 8 weeks. The PCL-5 assesses symptom severity on a scale of 0 to 4, which allowed the researchers to study both the overall impact as well as the effect on specific symptoms.cannabinoids


The average baseline score for the participants was 51.82, which then dropped to 40.73 after 4 weeks and 37.14 after 8 weeks, showing an overall decrease in the severity of symptoms. Of the 11 participants, 10 experienced a decrease in their score by the fourth week, with an average of a 21% drop. While 3 of the 11 participants experienced increases in their symptom severity (an average increase of 8 points) from weeks 4 to 8, 10 of the 11 still experienced an overall decrease from the baseline, with an average of a 28% drop.


One of the symptoms most impacted by the study was sleep. Of the participants who responded to the question assessing “repeated, disturbing dreams of the stressful experience” with a score of 3 or higher, 50% reported an improvement in their nightmares. In all participants, 38% remarked improvement in the quality of their sleep. Other symptoms for which participants expressed benefits were anxiety, focus, and mood.


While more clinical studies are necessary to investigate the intricate effects of different types, dosages, frequencies, and conditions of cannabis usage on PTSD symptoms, this research sits on a strong foundation of theory. In fact, we are beginning to understand that there are innate systems in the body designed to respond to compounds found in cannabis as well as to regulate symptoms associated with PTSD.


The connection between PTSD symptoms and the effects of cannabis seems to be based on the compound anandamide – the “bliss molecule”. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid, meaning that it is produced internally (“endo”) and stimulates a system of cannabinoid receptors in the body. These receptors, along with the cannabinoids that stimulate them, comprise the endocannabinoid system, which maintains homeostasis through regulating appetite, immunity, memory, mood, motor control, pain, reward, fertility, and temperature regulation. Interestingly enough, there are compounds in cannabis with similar structures that can also trigger cannabinoid receptors in the body. THC, responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis, activates the same receptors as anandamide.


As we currently understand it, there are two cannabinoid receptors in the body – CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and central nervous system and mediate emotional learning, stress adaption, and fear extinction. These receptors are understimulated in those with PTSD, for their signaling “deactivates traumatic memories and endows us with the gift of forgetting”.  cannabinoids


The use of phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD to stimulate CB1 receptors shows promise in balancing the endocannabinoid system and restoring its ability to regulate fear, anxiety, and joy. By allowing the system to have breaks from the constant stress it finds itself in when experiencing PTSD symptoms, cannabis use can reeducate the body to respond to stress as it does to acute stress. While endocannabinoids are broken down under chronic stress, under acute stress they are actually released to allow for return to baseline stress levels. What this means in terms of concrete response to symptoms, only the clinical trials will tell us, but there is reason to believe that cannabis users will become better equipped to respond to the stressors and symptoms that come with PTSD. cannabinoids


Although alternative treatments like CBD and medical marijuana still need conclusive evidence, our current approach to PTSD treatment has also yet to show any meaningful, consistent impact. In fact, PTSD United has shown that “in the past year alone the number of diagnosed cases in the military jumped 50%”. Many movements have emerged to raise awareness and funding for the cause, but, as organizational theorist Kenichi Ohmae recognized, “rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.” The structure toward which this increasing energy is being devoted must be willing to evolve. We must seek new methods, challenge our current understanding, and form a more nuanced approach to treatment that includes a variety of techniques and is responsive to individuals and their unique needs. We will never know what could be achieved unless we open our minds and try it.


“If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.” – Thomas Jefferson


About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.


Alex Brooks, Psychology Intern

Makin Wellness

10 Summer Essential Oils to Work into Your Summer Routine

There are a variety of benefits and ways to use essential oils to support summer wellness. Calming the mind, cooling the body, and soothing the skin after long hours in the sun, are just a few ways essential oils can be used to support the mind and body. summer

Therapeutic grade oils provide the best benefit and can be used in the form of diffusing, inhaling, or applying topically. The skin is our biggest organ, therefore applying topically can have a vast range of benefits internally. Citrus oils, like lemon, need to be used sparingly in summer since they are photosensitive – meaning they can lead to sun damage when applied topically.

Inhaling and diffusing essential oils helps to purify the air, providing healing effects to the mind and body. Oils like eucalyptus can be diffused into the air to support lung health.

Here are 10 essential oils you can easily work into your summer routine: summer


Lemon citrus oils are loaded with antioxidants, can be used as a antiseptic, antidepressant, and diuretic. Lemon oil can also be used to reduce cellulite when diluted with a carrier oil.


Grapefruit helps to balance mood, heal wounds, relieve water retention, and support liver function. Adding a few drops of therapeutic grade oil like Young Living Essential Oils, to your water can provide various benefits to the mind and body.


Lavender can be used as an anti-anxiety, sleep aid, and antibacterial for wounds and burns. It can be used topically for bee stings, insect bites, dry skin, and eczema.


Patchouli can be used to boost mood and confidence and to support dry or cracked skin. One drop is all that’s needed with this highly concentrated oil.


Applying peppermint oil can provide sinus support, reduce fevers, and provide a cooling effect after a workout or long hours in the heat.


This oil helps to release toxins through sweat ducts, helps support the liver, and reduces cellulite. It also helps balance female hormones, and reduces menstrual pain.


Frankincense is known as the king of oils, creating a grounding effect, and providing support for skin and immunity. Using this oil with lavender can support the skin after spending a lot of time in the sun.

Tea tree

Tea tree can be used as a bug repellent. It can also be used as an antiseptic, and to provide relief after a bee sting.


Palmarosa gives a cooling effect, is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and has cellular regenerative properties. It can be used with peppermint to cool down or patchouli to reduce redness.


Cypress is anti-inflammatory, supports digestion, sinus congestion, and provides relief for sore muscles. If you live an active lifestyle, cypress is one oil to keep on hand!

Makin Wellness uses therapeutic grade essential oils to provide support for overall wellness, offering custom made essential oil blends. Contact us today to purchase essential oils to support your wellness and feel your best this summer! summer

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.


Summer 2019 Wellness Trends

Summer is a season full of energy, abundant activity, and of course, increased heat! In reaction to heat, the body may sweat to maintain normal body temperature. Staying hydrated and protecting yourself from too much sun exposure is necessary in preventing irritability, sunburn, or more serious conditions like heat exhaustion. summer

Whole foods like cucumber, celery, and pineapple help keep the body hydrated with their natural water content. Summer foods such as watermelon, tomatoes, bell peppers, and papaya help to naturally protect the skin from UV-rays. Celery juice is the latest trend to stay hydrated, improve liver function, reduce free radicals, and increase energy!

Nourishing the gut with a proper balance of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates is vital to immune health, weight, and disease prevention. Improving gut health is still a trend in 2019, and rightfully so. Gut health is essential to balancing hormones in charge of mood, hunger, sleep, and stress. Simple ways to boost gut health include cutting back on highly processed foods, eating nutrient dense whole foods, and prioritizing stress reducing techniques.

Eliminating inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy has also been a large trend in 2019. This comes as no surprise with inflammation being the root cause of many chronic conditions. Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods can help to reduce inflammation and reduce risk of disease. Popular foods like fresh ginger, turmeric, walnuts, spinach, and kale all help to reduce inflammation. Staying hydrated, reducing stress, and regular physical activity are others important ways to reduce symptoms of inflammation.

Camel milk is another wellness trend with its ability to improve cholesterol, lower blood sugar, and decrease insulin resistance. Camel’s milk has shown to be beneficial in reducing free-radicals and works as an anti-inflammatory.

IV drops are also gaining popularity in wellness routines. Nutrients are better absorbed as they’re delivered intravenously since they bypass the body’s digestive system. IV infusions aid in boosting immunity, improving digestion, muscle recovery, and enhancing your skin’s glow. Vitamins, minerals, and amino acids can quickly get into the bloodstream through IV at increased levels. This on-the-go treatment has been used by functional MD pioneer Frank Lipman for nearly 20 years, and is becoming more popular as a quick fix.

Being mindful our bodies needs is essential to wellness. No one else can tell you how you’re feeling. Being in tune with your body and listening to your intuition will help you to be more aware of your bodies unique needs. Mindful, or intuitive eating is simple eating when you’re hungry, and stopping when you’re full. This ensures you’re getting what you need, and avoids emotional eating. Mindful practices help promote sustainable wellness and longevity.

Summertime is the perfect season to detox and incorporate other natural approaches to wellness, helping your body function at its best. To receive support with a holistic approach to reach your summer wellness goals, contact us today at Makin Wellness to speak with our Holistic Nutritionist and receive a free consultation! summer

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Laura Stewart, B.A., CHN

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