Beyond Anxiety: Unveiling the 9 Types and How to Heal

By Dr. Nicole Cain ND, MA

Discover the root cause of your anxiety and find lasting relief with Dr. Nicole Cain’s expert guidance including Trauma Anxiety, and Chest Anxiety.

Even though everybody’s feelings of anxiety can vary, we often receive a one-size-fits-all diagnosis. This interview is a part of a series where Dr. Nicole Cain, a leading anxiety expert, sheds light on the nine distinct types of anxiety, including the often-overlooked trauma anxiety. This informative interview explores how past experiences can shape our present anxieties and equips you with powerful tools to identify your specific triggers and reclaim your peace of mind.

We begin this conversation with Dr. Nicole introducing Trauma Anxiety.

Trauma Anxiety: The 9 Types of Anxiety

Dr. Nicole Cain: Okay. Trauma. Anxiety. I feel like if you live on planet Earth and if you are at all conscious, then you have trauma. One of the biggest misconceptions of trauma is that we don’t have it.

And I think it’s because the language isn’t inclusive of what neuroscience has to say.

Traditionally when we were looking at trauma, the word was more a designation for people who’ve been to combat. And so there’s very violent nomenclature, like the words are so violent… right? You have trauma trigger, for example.

And so people don’t identify with that.

But the reality is, if you exist on planet Earth, you have trauma.

And so a better way to define that is an adaptive stressor.

An adaptive stressor is something that changes the way that you see yourself or others and the world and requires adaptation.

So maybe when you were a kid, you grew up in a part of town where loud noises often meant bad things were happening. And so your nervous system, your brain, your whole gut microbiome, it all changed to adapt.

Just like lifting that cup and putting your pop in your shoulder upright, it all changed to adapt, to make you more attuned to that dangerous noise.

So you find that you’re hypervigilant right, you notice every single little thing. And then 20 years later, 40 years later, whatever it is, and you’re on your own and you’re trying to go to bed, and then something makes a sound outside and you wake up and you’re like, “Well, now I have insomnia. I don’t know why I have to wear earplugs.”

Well, it’s an adaptive mechanism based on something that did or did not happen to you when you were younger.

And so that’s trauma anxiety.

And so really arguably trauma anxiety is the umbrella over all of the other types of anxiety. But I wanted to distill it out because it’s about addressing the main thing of the main thing.

Signs of Trauma and Trauma Anxiety

So if you’re anxious and in those activated states, you’re getting flashbacks of something that did happen to you or didn’t happen to you, or you’re getting intrusive thoughts about it, or you have really disturbing memories about it, or you’re avoiding it.

If it all started with a series of events or a relationship or whatever it is, maybe you have health anxiety and it started with the pandemic, right?

If the trauma is the main thing, and then it’s creating this whole domino effect of other things, I wanted to parse that out because then you want to do trauma specific treatment.

EMDR is the best treatment for Trauma Anxiety

And my favorite thing that I always tell everybody about because it’s financially accessible to you. If you have health insurance, then your insurance will probably cover EMDR (eye movement desensitizaton and reprocessing therapy).

Has anybody here heard of EMDR? So good. So just in case someone listens to this recording later and they’re like, what is EMDR? It stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

So I’m trained in EMDR. My husband’s trained in EMDR like I live in the world of EMDR. And let me tell you, is my favorite form of therapy. And it is studied to be effective.

In the 1980s. Francine Shapiro created it. And then, you know, we all know how that goes. And so she had to churn out a ton of research in order to convince the medical community that it wasn’t goofy Wackadoodle theory.

And it is by far the best form of therapy that we have.

How does EMDR therapy work?

You go to your doc, your counselor’s office, they will take your case, learn about your anxiety, your hormone imbalance, your immune system imbalance, your anxiety, whatever it is.

They’ll look at your history. They’ll get those keystone events, those “never been well since” events or the “I have an unmet need moments.”

Maybe you experienced neglect. Maybe you were marginalized. Whatever it is they will try to understand your story. And then they’ll use bilateral stimulation to help your mind, body and nervous system to process that.

Oftentimes they’ll use buzzers that you hold in your hand and it stimulates left and right, left and right. Or they’ll use a light bar. Most of the research is on the light bar where your eyes are rotating left and right, and people find that their trauma anxiety significantly improves within a short amount of time.

And your insurance [most likely] covers it. So win win.

Chest Anxiety/ Cardiac Anxiety: The 9 Types of Anxiety

Next up: Cardiac Anxiety or Chest Anxiety.

So one of the most common causes of E.R. visits are people worried that they’re having a heart attack. And over 80% of those visit presentations are not cardiac related.

Most of the time it’s something else. And often times it’s panic.

So panic attacks can feel like a heart attack. And so I call that Cardiac Anxiety or Chest Anxiety.

I use the terms interchangeably: Cardiac Anxiety and Chest Anxiety because they both kind of live in the same area. So anything that lives in your upper thorax chest anxiety.

If it feels like it’s really in the heart, cardiac anxiety and so it can show up with heart pounding. Maybe your heart palpitates so it feels like it’s skipping beats, it’s irregular.

I have a friend where she feels it in her throat, like her heart is bursting. And she feels her throat throbbing when she gets stressed. So that’s cardiac anxiety.

Chest anxiety. More of a general term for that area. Could be air hunger, where you feel like you’re trying to breathe, but you either can’t get in a good breath or you feel like you’re not getting oxygen.

Megan: So did any people just take a big, deep breath when she said that? Because I did!

Are you inadvertently training your body to develop chest anxiety?

Dr. Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. And so that’s, it’s so common. I actually have an Olympic athlete that I worked with a while back, and he had a lot of Chest Anxiety. And so he had trained his lungs to take these huge breaths and to prepare him for big exertion an when he was engaging in a really high stress task.

So his nervous system had been programmed to then now he’s adapted, right? He’s been programmed to be in the Olympics.

And so then when he’s just chilling with his kids, he feels like he’s having a panic attack because he can’t get a satisfying breath.

So he had to reprogram his nervous system to not have Chest Anxiety.

And so, um, my favorite hack for if you get heart palpitations would be theanine.

Theanine is the best supplement for Chest Anxiety

L-theanine (part of Happy Sleepy Powder) which is in green tea. Matcha. I would do 200 to 800 mg depending on your body.

So if you like, get on an airplane and your heart palpitates Theanine is really good for that. Um, another thing that’s really good for that is hawthorn. If you want herbal.

Hawthorn is the best supplement for Chest Anxiety

Hawthorn is also named Crategus. Hawthorne solid extract is great, dose a fourth of a teaspoon, and it tastes sweet. It’s really yummy. I use that in kids, and that can really help with chest anxiety, especially if you have chest anxiety mixed with depressive anxiety because it can lift your mood.

It like calms the chest. It’s an antidepressant, anti-anxiety, yummy tasting.

You can get it theanine in a powder or a capsule and Hawthorn as a solid extract or a capsule. So I love both of those for chest anxiety.

Megan: I love that, and a lot of people are moms here. So I think that little tip there was very helpful for all moms. I love it, I love it.

How do you know if it is a heart attack, anxiety attack, or endocrine imbalance?

Megan: And I kind of want to lump in the endocrine one thyroid in there too, because wasn’t that part of your story too? I’ve got some loved ones who had chest pain, and they went to the E.R. and they got sent home with a diagnosis of an anxiety attack, but it ended up being hyperthyroidism.

And it was very, very scary for them. So that was kind of like having two different parts of your puzzle there.

Dr. Nicole: So yes. Thank you for saying that. I think that’s so valid. And I write about that in my book. I can say so many things about hypothyroidism.

In my book I write about Charlotte who went to the doctor with anxiety and was diagnosed with Grave’s disease.

And the doctor said, “Well, let’s take your thyroid out!”

And she’s like, “I really like my thyroid.”

And it’s, “Yeah, well it could be lethal.”

And so then we asked if we could have four days. “Can we just have four days and see if we can bring down the thyroid numbers?”

The doctor agreed. And so I gave her a tincture with immunomodulating herbs. And so there was Melissa Officinalis, Lycopus, um, I can’t remember everything I put in there, but I could find it.

There are a couple of other things that we did with her protocol, but within four days, her thyroid went right back down to normal levels.

These herbs could be so powerful if you use them in the right combinations. Just like the probiotics. You know you want to get synergistic friends that work well together in the right doses. So thyroid, sex hormones, adrenals, like all of those are really important with endocrine.

Megan: Yeah, totally totally totally. Does anybody have any burning questions for Doctor Cain before we wrap things up? I mean, she’s been a wealth of knowledge. I do have your medication tapering course linked on my website and everything.

Dr. Nicole: That’s amazing! Medication tapering information is included for no extra charge in my membership, the Holistic Wellness Collective. The benzo tapering course is separate.

So all of that is like you could get in there for like $37, download that information and then get out if you wanted instead of paying like $300 for a course.

Megan: Awesome, awesome. Good to know, good to know.

Yeah, this is amazing. Let’s see. Someone is asking “how do you know where to start and what to take?”

How do I know where to start? The 9 Types of Anxiety Quiz!

Dr. Nicole: That’s exactly what I was going to say is I would start with the quiz you’re going to get. It’ll be the eight types of anxiety because it’s getting updated as we speak, and then it will give you results and it will add you into a three email sequence which will say, “okay, here’s what you do next.”

And so if you take the quiz, you’re probably going to have a Venn Diagram mix of different types. But you’re going to start with the main type. And so if your main type is Chest Anxiety, you’re going to start with support for Chest Anxiety.

And then you’re going to do the why questioning, which I’ll walk you through when you get those results. Ask yourself: “Why am I adapting in such a way that it’s showing up in test anxiety?” So yes, take the quiz.

Megan: Yeah. That’s what I was going to say. I think just figuring out what like what’s actually happening, which avenue is the best. So does anybody else have any other burning questions for Doctor Cain before we bid her adieu?

Closing remarks

Megan: Thank you so much for spending your Monday morning with us! I love this because I hate it when people just are lumped with the diagnosis of anxiety and they just feel like they’re trapped in just that box, that little tiny box of anxiety, without knowing all the different avenues that they can go down and the help that’s out there with it, because there’s so much that can be done.

Follow Up Questions about EMDR

Oh, I have one follow up question with the eMDR. I always recommend to follow through because I feel like people dip their toes into EMDR and then stop.

What would you say there from your experience?

Dr. Nicole: Megan, you are so wise, so have. It’s funny because I just had a dream about this last night. Like, have you ever, like, started cleaning out your kids room or maybe your refrigerator or something, and then you get distracted in the middle of the process? Then you come back and you’re like, “AH! It’s an explosion! Right?”

It’s the same thing when we’re doing our inner work or our our healing work. In neuroscience, we talk about it in the language about how you’ve opened a nodal network and that if you leave that nodal network open, it’s like leaving the faucet running, or it’s like half finishing a cleaning project, and now it’s now you’re stepping on Legos and like, you have other things going on. Right?

So what you’re saying, Megan, is really wise. Ask yourself “what is the thing that is preventing me from showing up as my best and higest self?”

Tell your counselor that. This will be your first target. Then ask them how many sessions do they think it will take for you to clear this target.

Oftentimes in EMDR, they’ll do one target at a time. So you don’t have to go for years and years and years… but don’t go once or twice and then leave that open and then never clear it because it’ll it’s the Lego foot carpet phenomenon.

Megan: I love that, I love that okay, I’ve just got one favor for everybody. Before we say bye, let’s do a wave for the camera. Smile. Your best wave for the camera. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Dr. Nicole: I love it.

Megan: Okay. Thank you guys. I appreciate you guys for being here. Thank you so much for Doctor Cain. We appreciate it. Annalise says thank you so much. Had so many lightbulb moments and could think of times in my life and people I know under age type. It’s so true. So true.

Dr. Nicole: Thank you for that feedback. Y’all are amazing. Thanks for having me. It’s such a fun honor. What a good way to start the week.

Megan: Yes I agree, thank you. See you.

End of part 6.

Concluding remarks

Throughout this six-part series Dr. Nicole Cain discussed the nine types of anxiety:

You learned about some of the most common causes of anxiety according to Dr. Nicole,, including:

Dr. Nicole recommended a multifaceted approach to treating anxiety that considers the root cause. Here are some of her suggestions:

You can access the entire recorded version of this powerful conversation, and much more inside the exclusive Holistic Wellness Collective Membership. Get access today by clicking HERE.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Whenever considering changing your protocol whether it includes a change of medications, supplements, diet or lifestyle, always speak with your primary care physician first.

Dr. Nicole Cain is an advocate for empowering people around the world to help themselves via her educational free resources, online courses, and membership group. You can receive the tools you need to find the root cause of your symptoms and feel healthy again.