Treatment for Anxiety
Treatment for anxiety can range from standard medication to behavioral therapy, with many options in between. Treatments for anxiety can vary depending on the severity and type of disorder a person has. Some doctors would treat anxiety disorders using antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac. Other doctors even prescribe a combination of antidepressants to help treat the disorder.
However, most people are wary about taking antidepressants for fear of becoming too dependent on the drugs. These medications also have addictive properties that can make the patient rely heavily on them for help. Because of the synthetic chemicals in prescription drugs, more and more people are looking for natural treatments for anxiety disorders. Patients seek a more practical and long-term approach to treating anxiety without side effects.
If you are searching for a natural treatment for anxiety disorder, you have come to the right place. There are multiple options listed in this article that do not require dependence on debilitating drugs or years of expensive and extensive psychological therapy and counseling.
Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. For example, you may feel worried and anxious about writing an exam, a medical test, or a job interview. During times like these, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal. But some people find it hard to control their worries. Their anxiety is more constant and can often affect their daily lives.
What is anxiety?
The anxiety question must be adequately answered before understanding what causes the condition. Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. For example, you may feel worried and anxious about writing an exam, going for a job interview, etc.
During times like these, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal. But some people find it hard to control their worries. Their anxiety is more constant and can often affect their daily lives. Anxiety is the main symptom of several conditions, including:
- Panic disorder
- Phobias, such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
Symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Listed below are symptoms of anxiety:
- Feeling nervous, restless, or tense.
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom.
- Having an increased heart rate.
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired.
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry.
What are the causes of anxiety?
While many different theories and speculations exist about the cause of anxiety, its direct source is unknown. However, many factors can bring out and intensify the effects of anxiety that we see and feel. The most common consistency among those who have anxiety is intense stress caused by various factors.
Listed below are the causes of anxiety
- Constant worrying about financial matters (income stability, pending debt, etc.).
- Heredity: If you have family members who have suffered from anxiety, your chances of struggling with this illness are much higher.
- Composition of the brain: Certain lifestyle choices, such as drug abuse, may alter the levels of chemicals in the brain, causing anxiety.
- Personality: A low concept of self-worth may cause anxiety in specific individuals.
What is an anxiety attack?
An anxiety attack is a mental state in which you may experience one or several symptoms, often very intense and frightening. During an anxiety attack, you may feel as if you will die. An overwhelming feeling of helplessness and fear leaves you feeling like you just ran a marathon. It drains you physically and emotionally, and it is not uncommon for someone to fall asleep for a long time, right after a panic attack.
The frequency of anxiety attacks can vary from once a year to several times a day, depending on the severity and whether or not they are being treated. Panic attacks take a lot out of you; sometimes, you may think that life will never improve. Many things can trigger an anxiety attack, generally related to fear or change.
Symptoms of an anxiety attack
Some of the common symptoms of an anxiety attack are:
- Racing heartbeat
- Sweaty palms
- Shaky legs
- Not being able to support yourself
- Fear of impending death
- Suffocating feeling
- Numbness in arms and legs
- Blurred vision, and many others.
Causes of an anxiety attack
So, what causes anxiety attacks, and why are they so scary? Anxiety attacks can happen without warning, but they don’t happen without a reason. Something else had been happening in the background, and some ‘trigger’ had sparked the attack. Listed below are the causes of an anxiety attack
- Significant trauma in someone’s life is one of the leading causes of anxiety. Someone who has been abused mentally or physically for a large part of their lives has suddenly lost someone very close to them or was maybe involved in an accident.
- Illegal drugs such as LSD and ecstasy, to name only two, can cause the user to show anxiety symptoms. Caffeine, which most people would recognize as a stimulant found in coffee, can also trigger anxiety attacks. Avoiding coffee or switching to a decaffeinated variety would be wise if you suffer from anxiety.
What is an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety disorder occurs when anxiety starts to impact a person’s life and prevents them from engaging with others. Rather than feeling anxious in response to actual danger, someone with an anxiety disorder will experience the same symptoms in situations they perceive as dangerous (e.g. when meeting new people or taking public transportation).
Various forms and progressions of anxiety disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
This is an anxiety disorder of exaggerated stress without reason to be stressed. Sufferers tend to have difficulty relaxing or sleeping. They may experience lightheadedness, shortness of breath, trembling, nausea, muscle tension, headaches, irritability, or sweating.
Panic Disorder (PD)
This is an extreme form of anxiety that causes sudden and unpredictable terror. This form often becomes disabling as a sufferer avoids a situation they fear may trigger an attack. These panic attacks have symptoms like GAD, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, trembling, nausea, muscle tension, headaches, irritability, sweating, and the added ones of rapid pulse and chest pain. A person may have an unfounded fear of dying or going crazy. Depression, alcoholism, or drug abuse are common among sufferers.
This is the most restrictive anxiety disorder diagnosed when panic attacks cause sufferers to restrict their activities increasingly. As people increasingly avoid situations that they fear may trigger an attack, they become so restricted that they may confine themselves to their homes.
Social Phobia (SP)
This is an anxiety disorder that is evident in social settings. It is an intense fear of being embarrassed and will likely cause sufferers to avoid parties, eating out, or any situation where the sufferer feels that the focus of others is on them. Unlike shyness, those with SP can feel at ease around others, yet particular situations, often unique to them, will cause intense anxiety. SP can disrupt relationships and careers as sufferers avoid trigger situations.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
This is a condition where an anxiety-driven person cannot control their ritual behavior. This may be repeated washing of hands, repeatedly checking things (compulsions), or persistent, unwelcome thoughts.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
This can be the product of a terrifying event. It causes sufferers to have frightening thoughts and memories. Any recollection of the incident can be difficult, and ordinary events can trigger flashbacks or intrusive images. Sufferers may become easily irritated or have violent outbursts. Depression and substance abuse often accompany PTSD.
Symptoms of anxiety disorder
The main symptom of anxiety disorders is excessive fear or worry. Anxiety disorders can also make breathing, sleeping, staying still, and concentrating hard. Listed below are common symptoms of anxiety disorder:
- Panic, fear, and uneasiness
- Feelings of panic, doom, or danger
- Sleep problems
- Not being able to stay calm and still
- Cold, sweaty, numb, or tingling hands or feet
- Shortness of breath
- Breathing faster and more quickly than usual (hyperventilation)
- Heart palpitations
- Dry mouth
- Tense muscles
Natural Treatment for Anxiety Disorder
The natural treatment for anxiety disorder is one of the most searched for online because of its effectiveness in treating anxiety without causing any side effects.
Listed below are natural treatments for an anxiety disorder:
Meditation – the most popular natural treatment for anxiety
Meditation for anxiety is one of the natural remedies for anxiety and depression that is very effective. Meditation, in its simplest terms, refers to learning how to pay attention. When appropriately used, meditation for anxiety allows you to slow down and observe the world without judgment. Living with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can also help reduce worrying thoughts and bring about a feeling of balance, calm, and focus. One of the best ways to practice meditation is through mindfulness.
Mindfulness meditation is a type of meditation for anxiety that helps an individual become more aware of the present moment. Mindfulness meditation may help reduce anxiety because it enables you to reduce worry and be aware without fear. How to practice mindfulness meditation:
- Find a comfortable position. Many people sit on the floor with their legs crossed and their spines tall.
- Bring your awareness to the present. Once you’re sitting comfortably in a quiet area, start focusing your attention inward. Close your eyes and begin breathing.
- Acknowledge your thoughts. Initially, practicing meditation can increase feelings of anxiety or self-judgment. Am I doing this right? What should I be doing? Rather than trying to suppress that inner dialogue, recognize it and wait for it to pass.
Yoga for anxiety: an ancient exercise-based natural treatment for anxiety
Yoga for anxiety is one of the natural remedies for anxiety that is part of a more extensive system designed to prevent anxiety, panic attacks, stress, and depression. It is the perfect relationship technique for people seeking proper anxiety disorder treatment. Yoga creates peace within one’s psyche, advocating positive thought and serenity. Yoga combines physical exercises (the asana) with deep breathing (yoga Nidra), creating a genuinely tranquil emotional and spiritual experience.
Yoga for anxiety brings calming effects to the core of your inner being. If you look at a list of symptoms for anxiety, it is very diverse, but Yoga for anxiety has many diverse techniques to address each one.
Herbal remedies are a popular natural treatment for anxiety
Herbal remedies for anxiety are one of the best natural remedies for anxiety and depression that are effective in treating anxiety. Listed below are herbal remedies for anxiety:
- This is one of the best herbs for anxiety and has been most favorable in its results. It was given in only a few dosages and lessened the anxiety levels of those who participated in the research.
- This herbal remedy for anxiety is used in treating anxiety and has been used for many years as a medicine for other problems. Catnip is usually taken in tea form or as a tincture. These are known to suppress anxieties and calm frazzled nerves.
- This is an herb that has been around for over 100 years. You can make medicinal rosemary tea by adding a few tablespoons of the herb to boiling water. It would be best if you let it sit for approximately fifteen minutes. Rosemary is also one of the best herbs for anxiety. It has hardly any cons associated with its use.
Homeopathic remedies – #1 natural treatment for anxiety
Homeopathic remedies for anxiety are a natural remedy for anxiety that is also very effective. Listed below are homeopathic remedies for anxiety
- A panic attack that comes on suddenly with extreme fear (even fear of death) may indicate this remedy. Strong palpitations, shortness of breath, and flushing of the face may be symptoms of extreme anxiety.
- This relieves apprehension or stage fright, accompanied by agitation and a feeling of hurriedness. A physical sign of this medicine is stomach aches with belching due to slower digestion.
- People who are deeply anxious about their health and concerned with order and security often benefit from this remedy. Obsessive about small details and very neat, they may feel desperate to control everything.
- Usually recommended for dependable, solid people who become overburdened with physical illness or too much work and start to fear a breakdown.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture for anxiety
Indeed, it is possible to use acupuncture for anxiety and depression-related issues. With many people having a busy lifestyle and more pressure at the workplace, more people suffer from depression and anxiety-related issues worldwide.
The state of a person’s mind and emotions can influence the physical health of that individual. This is due to the strong connection between the mind and body.
Hence, it is unsurprising that diet, lifestyle advice, and herbology are all part of acupuncture for anxiety treatment in many cases.
Acupuncture is a technique of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It was an alternative therapy practiced in China almost 4,000 years ago, and now it’s popular worldwide.
Five Elements of Philosophy in Acupuncture for Anxiety.
Since physical health can also affect a person’s emotions or mind, anxiety and depression could result from different medical conditions. Without proper treatment and care, anxiety and depression may cause other severe physical illnesses, especially at some point in the development of anxiety. Even simple worries are classified as anxiety episodes. A person suffering from chest pain, shortness of breath, and a higher-than-normal heartbeat could be signs of anxiety.
In acupuncture, all internal organs are related to one of the five main elements (water, wood, fire, metal, and earth). According to this theory of five elements, the heart is one of the “fire” organs. The kidney is called a water organ. They balance each other to maintain a well-balanced energy flow in the body.
In Chinese philosophy, access to water (hyperfunction of kidneys) will kill the fire and thus cause heart diseases. If the heart produces too much fire (when the heart is working too hard), water will dry, and kidney disease is expected. If we look deep into this philosophy, water deficiency will slow the growth of organs (liver and gold bladder) and cause liver problems. At the same time, wood deficiency will stop the fire from flaming because there is no fuel to keep it burning, and the heart will suffer.
A disturbed mind could be due to excessive heat, and at the same time, excess fire causes extra heat. That’s why, during episodes of anxiety, you often see a person with hot-red cheeks and a hothead.
Concerning this, the body or auricular acupuncture can treat anxiety. The liver is thought to be essential in distributing vital energy (Qi) among the body’s organs. An estimated 20 percent of a country’s population is thought to undergo anxiety and depression at some point in their lives.
When a person is anxious or depressed, he or she may feel exhausted. A person may want to do something but also feel a lack of energy to perform due to anxiety and/or depression.
Acupuncture energy balancing is an ancient Chinese natural treatment for anxiety.
There are fourteen such vessels in terms of energy channels, or meridians. If any of them is stagnant or blocked, it causes a low flow of vital energy. The most vulnerable organ and meridian in the case of anxiety is the liver, and most of the time, the anxiety symptoms start from a blockage in the liver meridian. This may cause sleep-related problems.
Hence, the main focus for acupuncture treatment of depression is liver meridian. Other vital organs are the heart and spleen. Qi is the term used for vital energy in TCM.
Any stagnant or blocked area could experience low vital energy flow when the liver meridian is not correctly functioning. Thus, bringing energy into the area of deficiency and unblocking the area is the central part of the treatment used in acupuncture for anxiety. Practicing mind and body exercises from yoga, tai chi, and qi gong, together with regular acupuncture for anxiety, would help to cure anxiety faster.
Acupuncture for anxiety: technique and methodology
Acupuncture is a practice that uses hair-thin needles inserted into different points of the skin. These needles are always medically disposed of after use. Also, needles inserted into the skin usually cause minor or no discomfort. Generally speaking, the acupuncture procedure is painless. Besides treating anxiety and depression, acupuncture helps treat many other medical conditions.
Acupuncture for anxiety involves placing needles in specific body points. These body points, or acupoints, can be located all over the body. By accessing them, the acupuncturist forces the blocked energy to flow from one meridian to another, thus balancing the amount of energy all over the body.
Acupuncture for anxiety is proven to alleviate stress points and relax the body. Some of the benefits of using acupuncture for anxiety as therapy are:
- Stress addresses the imbalances in the body. It also prevents diseases that may arise from anxiety and stress. In addition, it seeks to balance a person’s mental and physical attributes, aiding them in an easygoing life.
- Anxiety attacks aim to treat physical health problems caused by anxiety attacks, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, nausea, and headaches.
- Anxiety treatment heals the imbalance of the heart, liver, and kidneys. It aims to harmonize the imbalance in the body and soothe the excessive heat in the heart.
The advantage of acupuncture for anxiety is that it works immediately. It can immediately help the patient feel better, compared to pharmaceutical interventions that take hours or days to relieve anxiety or months in cases of depression. It works fast and causes no side effects or dependencies.
Acupuncture for Anxiety in Philadelphia
Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic is a subdivision of Philadelphia Holistic Clinic, known as the best acupuncture facility in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Medical Doctor Victor Tsan led this center, ranked “Best Acupuncture in Philadelphia” by PHL 17 and Fox 29 local TV stations.
David Wu, LAc, has extensive experience in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture. He grew up in a family of acupuncturists and learned this traditional philosophy from his parents before attending an official college education.