Conquer Anxiety: Dr. Nicole Cain Reveals 9 Types of Anxiety & How to Heal Them

By Dr. Nicole Cain ND, MA

Anxiety Relief: Understand Your Type & Find Lasting Healing with Dr. Nicole Cain

Key Points For This Series (TL;DR):


Megan: Welcome to Dr. Nicole Cain. I’m super excited. We’ve been friends for a little while. Virtually. Someday we are going to meet in person, and I am so excited for that. But, um, yeah, I’m super excited to have her here. She’s an anxiety expert. She’s a naturopath, she’s amazing. But you give the full introduction of yourself.

Dr. Nicole: My passion is to help you learn what the messages of your anxiety are trying to tell you needs healing and how.

It’s the message that I needed when I was at rock-bottom with my anxiety. And so as an anxiety warrior myself and a clinician, I have a master’s in clinical psychology, a medical degree in naturopathic medicine, you’ll find that the way that I approach it is very holistic and trauma informed and really empowering.

I’m really super happy to be here.

The Different Types of Anxiety

And one of the questions that you asked, Megan was the different types of anxiety, because I think we we all find in one way, shape or another is that when we feel autonomic arousal, when we feel overwhelmed or nervous or restless or agitated, it just gets thrown into this bucket and they’re like, oh, well, you have anxiety. And then the treatments can be quite similar.

Anxiety is different for every person: Suzy’s Example

So maybe Suzy has anxiety, and when she has anxiety, her heart is pounding and she feels claustrophobic and she just needs reassurance and open air. And she just really, really needs that help to get through it.

Anxiety is different for every person: Jenny’s Example

And then we have Jenny over here who, when she gets anxiety, it’s like a throbbing headache. And she’s agitated and she feels better with ice on her forehead. And she needs to be distracted and alone.

Two different anxiety states, same diagnosis.

So they both would be given the same diagnosis: “Oh, you’re both anxious and nobody cares about the ways that the anxiety shows up.”

A better model for anxiety

And so I looked at all of the symptoms that we see in the literature, in the documentation, and that I had in my clients have had and that we’ve read about, and that we even see in the media of how anxiety is portrayed.

And I started to identify some patterns of, “oh, I see this kind of biological process is happening in this kind of a presentation, that kind of a biological process is happening in that presentation.”

And I found that there’s actually nine types of anxiety— I’ve been teaching about eight, but there’s this big pink elephant in the room that I wasn’t looking at. And I was like, oh my gosh, how have we been missing this part of the conversation?

Megan: So I see your I see your eight posts all the time, and I constantly am resharing it because I think it’s so beneficial. I’m like, I swear you just need to repost that like on the monthly all the time and I repost every time I see it.

But anyways, what’s the new one?

The 9th Type of Anxiety

Dr. Nicole: It’s immune system anxiety. Our immune system plays such a profound role in the nervous system’s behavior. I’ve been talking all about hormones, and trauma, chest anxiety, nervous system anxiety, and the blind spot was immune system anxiety. I was like, “oh, thank you for allowing me to finally see that universe!” But oh my goodness, it is well overdue.

Megan: Yeah. Oh my gosh, that makes complete sense. But I am so excited that you had that revelation there. That is so cool. So so cool. So.

And feel free anybody. If you’ve got questions, drop them in the chat or unmute and ask away. She’s very open and obviously very, very personable. So open for any questions that you guys might have while we’ve got her, feel free to pick her brain. Tell us more about each of these types of anxiety.

Immune System Anxiety

Well, let’s start with immune system anxiety because I’ve taught the least on that. And so you guys are getting actually the first lesson on this topic– I haven’t even taught my own membership this.

Let’s start with signs that maybe immune system anxiety might be part of what’s going on for you.

Signs you might have immune system anxiety

And so if you feel like you have never been well since, that’s a conversation that often comes up [someone may say]: “This happened and I feel like everything changed from there.”

I have a client in my practice who had strep when she was a kid, and everything seemed to domino from that illness, and she’s never been well since.

Since that time she’s had autoimmunity symptoms kick in, she’s had irritable bowel syndrome kick in and then she’s had hormonal imbalances kick in.

And so that domino, that triggering process for her was an immune system illness.

And we also see this in mast cell illnesses like mast cell activation syndrome, where a lot of these individuals will have nonspecific symptoms, or maybe even symptoms that rotate from system to system.

Symptoms of immune anxiety may be changeable and unpredictable

They have a bunch of symptoms, and then it’s on the skin. it’s such a unique moving target.

The doctors are just shaking their heads and shrugging. They’re like, “I don’t know what it is.”

Sometimes you have elevations in your inflammatory markers in your blood tests. Sometimes your white blood cells are low (you can learn about understanding your blood work in the book Understanding Your CBC Blood Test). We don’t really know. But often times we’ll see that immune system anxiety starts when we’re younger, maybe even childhood to puberty.

We see or it could start as a result of a big trauma or a big trigger, a big activating event.

Often Immune System Anxiety is associated with symptoms in the immune system

And so generally, symptoms that we see in immune system anxiety will involve something pertaining to the immune system. But as we just talked about it doesn’t have to.

Signs that maybe you’re dealing with immune system anxiety. Maybe you deal with allergies. Do you deal with chronic congestion, maybe rhinitis or sinusitis?

Immune System Anxiety can also cause symptoms in hormones and nervous system

Do you get headaches, especially seasonal headaches or cyclical headaches? And so every time that you’re in the premenstrual phase, so you’re in the luteal phase (the 2nd half of your cycle) and you’re getting ready to start, you know your hormones are dropping, your estrogen is dropping, your progesterone is dropping.

You’re getting ready to bleed and do you get cold or flu-like symptoms at that time?

So that could be immune system anxiety, immune system anxiety could show up with I feel like every time I get sick.

I may take ten times longer than everyone else around me to get better immune system anxiety.

How do you know if it is immune system anxiety or hormone anxiety?

And the reason I’m calling it immune system anxiety as opposed to hormonal anxiety, or Endocrine Anxiety, is because the goal is to find the root of the root of the root of the root cause. And so if the main thing for you is:

Your immune system is really imbalanced, you’ve had all the hormone testing done and it’s normal. It feels like when you hit puberty and your hormones weren’t doing what they were supposed to do and every time you attenuate your immune system, whether it’s with a histamine blocker or maybe an herb or other forms of immunomodulators, that your anxiety symptoms change it’s immune system anxiety causing imbalances in your hormone regulation.

End of part 1.

Concluding remarks

In the next part of this series, Dr. Nicole Cain will discuss how to treat Immune System Anxiety. She will introduce you to a method of using natural remedies to balance the immune system, which is called immunomodulation. You will learn about mushrooms and herbs that are powerful immunomodulators and that can help relieve Immune System Anxiety.

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.