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Holistic-online.com

Conventional, Holistic, and Integrative Treatments for Anxiety

Anxiety

Description Food and Nutrition
Conventional Treatment Vitamin Therapy
Common Sense Care Homeopathy
Herbal Medicine Other

We have an updated infocenter for all anxiety disorders. Please visit the site now by clicking here.

Description of Anxiety

Symptoms of Anxiety:

Long term severe worry, tension, irritability or depression, for no clear reason. Plus some of the following:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Sense of impending doom
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Muscle tension; muscle aches; trembling or twitching in the muscles
  • Diarrhea
  • Chest pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating or hot flashes
  • Excessive sweating
  • Undereating or overeating
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue, headache
  • Breathlessness; hyperventilation
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Being easily startled

Call Your Doctor If

  • You feel uncontrollably anxious and cannot function normally.
  • Along with anxiety, you have lost weight and your eyes seem to bulge. (You may have thyroid problem or some other physical ailment.)

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Conventional Treatment of Anxiety

Psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and behavior modifications are the principal drugless therapies employed.

Medications are used to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. It is often prescribed with other therapies. The most prominent of antianxiety drugs are those known as benzodiazepines. More than 2000 different benzodiazepines have been produced in the laboratory. More than two dozen of these are commercially available. They help control stressful emotions by dampening the electrical activity in the brain.

To relieve temporary stress induced anxiety, your doctor may prescribe benzodiazepines such as temazepam (Razepam, Restoril) or flurazepam (Dalmane, Durapam). For problems such as panic attacks, high potency benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Alzapam, Ativan), or clonazepam (Klonopin) may prescribed. One of the considerations your doctor will use in determining what drug to prescribe is how much time they remain active in the body. For example, if you operate a machine or drive heavy equipment, a drug such as diazepam (T-Quil, Valium, Vazepam) is not suitable as they cause prolonged sedation. On the other hand, prescription drugs such as alprazolam (Xanax) work quickly and is not especially sedating and may be more suitable in this instance. Another advantage of this drug is that it is completely eliminated from the body in 12 hours. You can take it before going to bed and still can be assured of being fully alert the following morning. Benzodiazepines sometimes cause drowsiness, irritability, dizziness, memory impairment and dependency.

There are several other types of drugs that can help relieve anxiety. Buspirone (BuSpar) is an example. It has fewer side reactions compared to benzodiazepines. It is also less likely to lead to addiction. Do not take this if you are suffering from liver or kidney disease or if you are pregnant or is breast feeding.

Prescription drugs such as beta blockers targets the symptoms of anxiety. (See angina for an explanation.)

It is important to realize that these drugs does not cure anxiety. It is important that you attack the causes of the stress and take corrective actions. Counseling, relaxation and a number of alternative therapies help you in achieving that.

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Common Sense Care for Anxiety:

  • Daily exercise is one of the most potent treatment for anxiety symptoms. Take brisk walks or participate in an active sports you enjoy.
  • Magnesium supplements are useful, especially if you suffer from muscle spasms.
  • Avoid alcohol, coffee and sugar or soft drinks that has caffeine.
  • Avoid, as far as possible, the activities you find less relaxing.
  • Be sure to get adequate rest.
  • Use breathing exercises to manage an acute attack.
  • Learn a relaxation technique and practice it.
  • Simplify your life by making your schedule less hectic.

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Herbal Medicine Aids for Anxiety:

St. John's Wort, a popular herb for low depression is also good for controlling stress.

Kava Kava - useful for the treatment of nervous anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness. It is a natural tranquilizer.

Ginkgo biloba - improves circulation to the brain. It elevates the mood for those depressed.

For a soothing tea, blend lavender, oats, linden flower, catnip, and lemon balm. Mix 1/2 ounce of each of these herbs in dried form, use four teaspoons of this mixture per quart of boiling water. Pour the water over the herbs and steep for about ten minutes. Strain and drink while the tea is still warm. You can take upto six cups of this drink per day after meals.

Chamomile, lemon balm and linden flowers are all considered mild relaxants. Lemon balm is especially well suited for the digestive problems that are associated with anxiety. Skullcap, valerian, hops, and passionflower have strong effect on the central nervous system. They help control insomnia. Do not use hops if you are suffering from depression.

Motherwort is useful in cases when anxiety is associated with palpitations. On the other hand, if the anxiety is connected to high blood pressure, use cramp bark and linden blossoms.

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Food and Nutrition for Anxiety:

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. They worsen anxiety.
  • Include in the diet apricots, asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, blackstrap molasses, brewer's yeast, brown rice, dried fruits, pulse, figs, fish (such as salmon), garlic, green leafy vegetables, legumes, raw nuts and seeds, soy products, whole grains, and yogurt. These foods supply valuable minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. These minerals are depleted under stress.
  • Keep a diary of foods you eat and your anxiety attacks. Food allergies and sensitivities may trigger panic or anxiety attacks.
  • Eat small, frequent meals rather than the three big meals we generally eat.

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Vitamin Therapy for Anxiety

Take 750 milligrams of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) three times a day after meals. This amino acid reportedly helps in anxiety.

Calcium (2,000 mg daily) is a natural tranquilizer

Magnesium (600 to 1,000 mg daily) helps to relieve anxiety, tension, nervousness, and muscular spasms.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)- 50 mg 3 times daily) - helps reduce anxiety and has a calming effect on the nerves.

Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine) - 50 mg 3 times daily with meals - A known energizer that also exerts a calming effect on the nerves.

Vitamin C - 5,000 to 10,000 mg daily in divided doses - Necessary for the proper functioning of the adrenal glands and brain chemistry. In large doses, Vitamin C can have a powerful tranquilizing effect and is known to decrease anxiety. It is very important for dealing with stress. (Consult a physician before you start any mega vitamin therapy.)

Zinc 50-80 mg daily (Do not exceed a total of 100 mg from all supplements in a day) - Has a calming effect on the central nervous system.

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Homeopathic Remedies for Anxiety:

Aconite is the medication of choice if your anxiety is the result of a sudden fright or shock. If you are grief stricken (such as when one of your loved ones die), the homeopath may give you ignatia. In situations such as stage fright and other anticipatory and performance anxiety, gelsemium is recommended. If you have anxiety accompanied by diarrhea, gelsemium is the preferred choice.

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Other:

Aromatherapy: Essential oils of lavender, jasmine, geranium, ylang-ylang, bergamot, melissa or blue chamomile are believed to be very effective for anxiety. It may be more effective when used in combination.

Bach Flower Remedies: Agrimony and aspen are useful for mild to moderate anxiety. For severe cases, use cherry plum or red chestnut.

Therapeutic Touch is believed to reduce anxiety as well as relieving pain.

Biofeedback is useful in helping the patient develop strategies to control anxiety and stress.

Hypnotherapy is useful to overcome specific phobias such as fear of flying, state fright, fear of examinations or sports contests. It also helps in the general anxiety.

Yoga and breathing exercises are very good way to control anxiety and stress. Lie on your back in a comfortable place. Breath slowly through your nose. Use your diaphragm to such air into your lungs. Allow your abdomen to expand at the same time. After the abdomen is fully expanded, continue to inhale as deeply as possible. Reverse the process when you breath out. Contract your abdomen while exhaling slowly and completely. Repeat this exercise several times.

Meditation and other Mind/Body Medicine: Progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, relaxation response, transcendental meditation and oriental exercise techniques such as tai chi and qigong are all useful in controlling anxiety and stress.

Acupressure: A number of acupressure points are reported to be helpful in calming the body and quiet the mind. The effectiveness of the particular pressure points is believed to depend on the underlying reasons for the anxiety.

Hydrotherapy: If you are anxious or irritated, the neutral bath has a balancing and soothing effect. Fill your bath tub with water slightly cooler than body temperature, around 94 degrees to 97 degrees. Submerge as much of your body as possible. Add more water to maintain temperature. Stay in the bath for at least 20 minutes.

Imagery: Imagine that you are lying on a beach. As each wave splashes on the beach, it rolls up to your neck, and as it recedes, it pulls more and more tension and fear out of your body.

Massage: A 15 minute Hellerwork self massage will ease tightness in the muscles that are stressed when you are anxious.

Reflexology: Work the diaphragm reflex on your feet, spine, the pituitary, parathyroid, thyroid and adrenal gland reflex points.

Sound Therapy: Sit quietly in a comfortable chair. Listen to music with slow, steady beat for 20 to 30 minutes or until you are well relaxed.

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We have an updated infocenter for all anxiety disorders. Please visit the site for more comprehensive information about anxiety

Disclaimer:

All information provided in this website is for educational purposes only. Statements contained here are reported in an effort to preserve traditional cultural lore and information. Our aim is to prepare you to ask more educated questions to your own medical practitioner. Nothing here should be construed as an attempt to diagnose, prescribe, or recommend, in any manner, a treatment for any health ailment or condition. Consult your own physician regarding the treatment of any medical condition. This information is not a replacement for a thorough consultation and examination from a licensed health professional. People should not try to medicate themselves or others with any of the methods referred to here without the guidance of a qualified practitioner who is thoroughly familiar with both the remedies and the individual’s medical status. Some of the herbs listed are poisonous; some can elicit severe allergic reactions if used inappropriately. Information about safety and interactions may not be complete as herbs and nutraceuticals do not undergo the rigorous testing the other drugs undergo. Do not attempt to self-treat based on information in this website.

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