Anti-Anxiety Remedies: Natural and Drug Related Treatments
Anxiety is part and parcel of human life. Everyone has experienced anxiety one way or another in a variety of occasions. Whether it’s waiting for the results during an examination, attending a job interview or speaking in public, these are all potential moments of anxiety.
To a certain extent, anxiety is normal. However, if you experience anxiety that you can do nothing about or, if you feel unnecessarily afraid of harmless life situations, you might be suffering from a clinically diagnosable anxiety disorder.
These extreme cases of anxiety can be readily apparent in the simplest of activities. A rudimentary trip to the store or a seemingly harmless gathering among friends can prove to be a source of great anxiety for those victims of the disorder.
Sufferers of anxiety may also notice changes in their physical health through headaches, difficulty breathing, muscle tension, dizziness, chest tightness, indigestion, bloating, excessive sweating, and uncontrollable shaking of hands and other limbs.
Knowing the symptoms of anxiety disorder and its various cures are absolutely essential if you wish to be of any assistance to yourself or to a friend or family member. You can prepare yourself well to deal with anxiety disorders by learning about their various symptoms and the ways to treat them.
You can find information about anxiety disorders and their cures at a variety of sources. A number of books provide valuable information and tips for people who are trying to manage and control their anxiety disorders. Alternatively, you could get the required information from psychologists and therapists, who are, after all, trained to be of help to you in such cases.
However, there are also a wide range of anti-anxiety remedies. Most of these remedies are not mutually exclusive, and can be taken or practiced through the course of your treatment. This article lists down a wide range of possible remedies for anxiety from the natural to the drug induced.
Anti-Anxiety Remedies: Drugs and Medication
The symptoms of anxiety disorders can be classified into physical and mental. Mental symptoms include fear, nervousness, self-consciousness, worry, and restlessness. People having an anxiety disorder usually shun the company of others.
Physical symptoms include hot or cold flashes, copious sweating, sleeping disorders, palpitations, and sweaty palms. However, there are host of various drugs and medications that curb the manifestations of anxiety. Here are just a handful of them: Read More
Benzodiazepine – A multitude of studies show that benzodiazepine is effective in the treatment of panic disorder, sometimes freeing patients from panic attacks after six to eight weeks of use. Benzodiazepines tend to work quickly, with a reduction in panic being observed as little as one week after the start of treatment. However, benzodiazepines have the risks of tolerance and dependency. Common benzodiazepines used to treat panic disorder include alprazolam (Xanax) and clonazepam (Klonopin).
Antidepressants – Antidepressants are as effective as benzodiazepines in the treatment of panic disorder. Moreover, antidepressants do not have the same risks of tolerance and dependency that are associated with benzodiazepine treatment. However, antidepressants take longer to work, so that significant improvement might not be observed until after a month of treatment.
Beta-blockers – People with the non-generalized form of anxiety disorder can be helped by taking beta-blockers immediately before they have to face a high anxiety event (such as giving a speech). Propranolol is a common beta-blocker that helps suppress fear-like symptoms such as sweating and shaking. Controlled studies show that this class of drugs can benefit specific social anxiety disorder. However, research has also shown that these drugs do not appear to be effective in treating in general anxiety disorders.
However, like most drugs, these kinds of medications do come with a host of possible side-effects. Benzodiazepines and anti-depressants work by reducing activity to the brain so that anxiety isn’t able to overwhelm the affected individual. However, this can result in grogginess, sluggishness, slowness to respond and general lethargy.
These drugs and medications can prove to be extremely potent in alleviating stress, panic and anxiety. But it is highly recommend that you consult your physician before taking any of these anti-anxiety drugs.
Proper Food and Diets
Outside of drugs and medication, research has shown that certain foods and diets have the ability to either soothe us or act as stimulants. Even if anxiety disorders are largely considered to be psychological, our physiology also has a profound effect on how our mind reacts.
Modifications to your diet and your eating habits can go a long way to alleviating anxiety, as well as minimizing the chances of an eventual panic attack. Listed below are a number of foods that can possibly aid in keeping your anxiety in check.
Non-caffeinated Drinks – People tend to start their mornings by relying on a cup (or a couple of cups) of coffee. Although these work great in giving you a boost of energy for the resy of the day, fizzy and caffeinated drinks are known to inhibit the production of serotonin in your body. This chemical has been largely known to contribute to increased feelings of well-being and happiness in your body. Lack of serotonin can eventually lead to you feeling depressed and anxious.
Complex Carbohydrates – During times of anxiety and stress, many people turn to carbohydrates to increase their comfort levels. Despite this seemingly instinctive need to eat, this is actually by science. Complex carbohydrates act as a sedative by increasing the serotonin levels of your body. As mentioned earlier, serotonin helps you feel happy and worry-free. Foods with complex carbs like potatoes, breads and pasta may destroy your diet, but there is a very good reason as to why they are considered comfort food by highly stressed and overly anxious individuals.
Non-sugary Foods – However, not all comfort foods are good for you, especially desserts like chocolates, cakes and ice cream. Unfortunately, these particular foods can end up raising your anxiety levels rather than bring them down. Foods that are high in sugar are quickly absorbed into the blood stream which causes a “sugar rush”. This sudden spike of energy makes an individual hyperactive and extra alert for a very brief period of time. Unfortunately, this rush eventually wears off (rather quickly) and to compensate, your body is forced to produce more insulin to dump the excess sugar. The insulin ends up making you feel exhausted and anxious.
Constant Hydration – Part of a proper diet also includes hydrating properly. Although its best that you avoid alcohol and sugary drinks, liquids are still important to any anti-anxiety diet. Water is still best for your body, and constant hydration can help you detoxify and alleviate fatigue, headaches and stress.
Unlike drugs and medication, a change in diet doesn’t work in a matter of hours, although the effect can be felt as soon as your digestion kicks in. Proper diet can have a profound effect on your well-being for the long term as your body adjusts to the new chemicals and nutrients being processed on a daily basis.
However, a change of diet is easier said than done. It requires commitment and perseverance to keep your body (and your appetite) on track. For the best results, consult a nutritionist on what meals and dietary lifestyle are best for you.
Herbs and Supplements
Thousands of people diagnosed with anxiety disorders have turned to anti-anxiety herbs and anti-anxiety supplements to help alleviate the burden of their symptoms. Although these herbs and supplements may not be as impactful as prescription drugs and medication, they come with little to no side effect and run no risk of addiction.
For those looking for a more natural method of anti-anxiety therapy, here is a list of various anti-anxiety herbs and supplements.
Chamomile – The Chamomile flower has been used for many years as a way to relieve anxiety and stress. However, Chamomile’s sedative properties have been used largely as a way to help people get a good night’s sleep. Still, that does not discount Chamomile’s ability to help sooth even the most anxious of minds. This particular herb can even relax tense muscles. Most popularly taken in tea form, Chamomile is great natural anti-anxiety prescription. Though Chamomile tea may not act as potently as prescription medication, it is an all natural alternative for those looking for more organic solutions to their anxiety conditions.
Kava-Kava – Kava Kava is a herb that easily works as an all-natural anxiety reliever and anti depressant. Like a variety of other potent herbs and medicines, Kava Kava has wide range of healing properties that help tranquilize and calm nerves. Unfortunately, Kava Kava has been known to have a wide range of side effects that have made it harder to come by in certain parts of the worlds. The herb is so potent that some regions have even banned it from distribution. Still, Kava Kava has proven to be far safer than most highly addictive sedatives on the market, making it a highly-effective all-natural anti-anxiety herb.
Valerian Root – Much like chamomile, Valerian is usually taken by people with sleeping problems. However, it is also widely used as herb to help alleviate anxiety and stress. It offers a wide range of medicinal properties that curb even the most drastic of anxiety symptoms. Unfortunately, it isn’t as potent as other herbs, but that may be due to the lack of research done on the herb itself. However, what little documentation there is on Valerian shows that it does successful cure anxiety related discomforts such as insomnia.
Passion Flower – Studies have proven that Passion Flower has a profound effect on tension, sleeplessness, irritability, restlessness and anxiety. Passion Flower has been a popular herb in treating a variety of anxiety symptoms. Like other herbs, Passion Flower is usually taken in tea form, but its potency only requires that very little of the herb be used per serving. Unfortunately, Passion Flower does come with host of side effects that include dizziness and confusion. Because of this, it isn’t recommended that expectant or breast feeding mothers take Passion Flower.
Although these herbs and supplements can be considered all-natural anti-anxiety treatments, it is still recommended that you consult your recommended physician. Some herbs do have a number of side effects that differ from person to person and can end up aggravating rather than alleviating the symptoms of your condition.
If none of these herbs are suited for you, herbologists and other specialists of alternative medicine can offer an even wider list of natural treatments to anxiety disorders.
Speaking of natural treatments, thousands of people diagnosed with anxiety disorders have turned to natural ant-anxiety treatments in order to successfully recover from their anxiety; or at least return to a semblance to what they believe is a “normal life”.
A lot of people have become concerned with becoming reliant or dependent on sedatives and other drugs to keep anxiety at bay. Although this does not discount the effectivity of pharmaceutical solutions to anxiety, it does offer more natural alternatives on the road to recovery. The following is a list of natural therapies and practices that can be done with the aid of any medical or drug related supplements. Many of them are even highly recommended by host of anti-anxiety methods and treatments.
Psychotherapy consists of talking to a trained mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, social worker, or clinical psychologist. In many cases, talking to a professional enables the patient to learn how to cope with anxiety. In fact, it has been shown that psychotherapy can be as effective as medication in alleviating the symptoms of most anxiety disorders.
The type of psychotherapy that has been shown to help people with anxiety problems is called “cognitive-behavioral therapy.” Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the combination of two distinct kinds of psychotherapy—cognitive therapy and behavior therapy.
The behavior portion of the treatment helps people recognize and reduce the connection between upsetting or disturbing situations and the habitual way they react to them. Reactions such as anger, fear, depression, and other self defeating or self-damaging behaviors are harmful to the person going through them. The behavioral component also teaches techniques to calm the mind as well as the body, so a person can feel better, think more clearly, and make better decisions.
The cognitive part of the therapy helps the person recognize how certain thinking patterns are causing anxiety by giving a distorted picture of what is going on in the person’s life. These distorted ways of perceiving the world lead to feelings of stress and anxiety and often lead a person to make poor life decisions.
The Chinese word acupuncture literally means “needle piercing.” It is the practice of inserting very fine needles into the skin to stimulate specific points in the body, called “acupoints,” for therapeutic or medicinal purposes. Practitioners of acupuncture also use heat, pressure, friction, suction, or impulses of electromagnetic energy to stimulate these acupoints. The acupoints are stimulated to balance the movement of energy (chi) in the body to restore health.
Traditional Chinese medicine considers anxiety a symptom of imbalance between the different aspects of the chi. In many cases, it can be successfully relieved by acupuncture.
The acupoints used for treating anxiety are, for the most part, the same ones included in the treatment of many other types of illness, especially the relief of pain. Sometimes the relief from anxiety induced by acupuncture is very long-lasting. Many people have remained symptom-free after as few as six sessions. Others have returned for more acupuncture treatments every four to six months.
Although no one is completely certain how it works, acupuncture seems to be one of the most effective alternative treatments for anxiety disorders.
Aromatherapy means “treatment using scents.” It is the use of essential oils from pleasant-smelling botanical oils such as lemon, lime, rose, lavender, jasmine, spearmint, and peppermint. Usually, these oils are added to bathwater or massaged directly onto the skin, but they can also be inhaled or diffused to produce scent in an entire room. It is believed that these essential oils can affect the mood, ease feelings of fatigue, reduce anxiety, and promote relaxation.
Aromatherapy is probably the fastest-growing area in alternative medicine. There are about 150 essential oils that are distilled from various plants, trees, and flowers. Many of these come from plants that are known to have medicinal properties. For example, peppermint has been used since the Middle Ages to treat upset stomach. Other essential oils come from plants know to be antiseptic, or pain-relieving.
There are even some form of plants that are used as antiviral agents and others with known anti-inflammatory effects. When inhaled, scents are believed to work on the brain and nervous system to bring about relaxation by stimulating the olfactory nerves. The mechanism by which these essential oils act on us is not very well understood. However, anecdotal reports suggest that they act on brain systems involved in mood and emotion. Human beings have the ability to distinguish 10,000 different smells. It is known that the perception of odors begins through stimulation of cilia (the fine hairs lining the nose) and then is relayed to the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls moods, emotions, memory, and learning.
Although it is not certain how they work, studies that look at brain wave frequencies do show specific effects of particular odors. For example, smelling lavender causes increased alpha waves in the back of the head, which are associated with relaxation, while the odor of jasmine increases beta waves in the front of the head, which are associated with a more alert state.
A fragrance company in Japan conducted tests in an attempt to determine the effects of smell on people. They pumped different fragrances into an area where a number of keyboard entry operators were stationed and monitored the frequency of mistakes the workers made. The results showed that pleasant odors like jasmine and lavender were associated with significant reductions in errors. It is known that our sense of smell can have a major effect on the way we feel. Elderly people who have lost their ability to smell are more prone to suffer from psychiatric problems such as anxiety and depression.
Therefore, the continued development of this field of alternative medicine should not escape our notice.
Hypnosis can help alleviate anxiety disorders in several ways. It can induce a state of relaxation that can directly decrease anxiety and panic. It can also be used by a therapist to help the patient focus more clearly on issues that might be causing the anxiety.
Sometimes the therapist will use fictional stories that can give the patient a new way of looking at his or her problems. Often, story telling is more useful than direct suggestions because it gives the patient a chance to accept or reject the suggestion without feeling that he or she is being controlled.
Another way that hypnosis is helpful in anxiety disorders is that it is able to produce intense concentration on a particular subject distinct from the source of anxiety or fear.
For example, a person with a fear of flying may be told to imagine that he is simply going into a room to get a restful sleep when he is boarding a plane. This concentration on the nonthreatening scenario allows the person to get on a plane without experiencing feelings of anxiety.
Finding the Right Anti-Anxiety Remedy for You
Despite all these possible anti-anxiety remedies, it is still important that you find what is best for you. However, it may prove harmful and detrimental to your recovery to go through this list one by one. Instead, try enlisting the advice of a licensed physician or therapist to recommend a course of action for your treatment.
On top of the listed remedies in this article, there is a wide range of vitamin supplements that can help alleviate anxiety. Clinically proven anti-anxiety vitamins include Vitamins B, C and D, all of which aid your immune system, increase serotonin production and help in increase your general well-being.
In the end, none of these anti-anxiety remedies will work without making the effort to recover on your own. Anxiety disorders are a serious condition that can become a crutch for the rest of your life. But with a good treatment regimen, even the worse cases have hope of living a normal life.