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Last Updated on December 19, 2021 by Randy Withers, LCMHC
If you suffer from anxiety, there are a few things you should know. One of them is that you’re not alone. Another one is that anxiety is highly treatable. Both prescription medications and natural remedies for anxiety exist, though it’s a good idea for you to talk with your doctor first before beginning any treatment regimen.
Anxiety disorders are the most common types of mental illness in the US, affecting more than 40 million adults and over 25% of children ages 13-18. It is characterized by constant fear and worries, often without an actual reason. It could also cause physiological symptoms, such as palpitation and nausea.
Typically, anxiety is a normal response to stressful situations. It warns the brain about potential threats and makes it aware of any risk.
However, an anxiety disorder is more than the occasional bout of worrying in a tense situation.
If left untreated, chronic anxiety can take a toll on a person’s mental wellbeing. It could adversely affect various areas of their life, including career, finances and personal relationships. It could even lead to other chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases and hypertension.
The good news is that various treatments are available to help manage the anxiety disorder symptoms. In this post, we’ll discuss a few natural remedies for anxiety. Before we do, let’s talk about the various types, causes, and symptoms of anxiety one you are likely to encounter.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Depending on the causes and symptoms, anxiety disorders are categorized as:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Among these disorders, GAD and social anxiety are the most common types of anxiety disorders.
Generalized anxiety disorder is associated with unrealistic and overwhelming fear and worrying without any specific reason. Panic disorder is characterized by sudden and debilitating panic attacks that cause breathlessness, palpitations, chest pain and excessive sweating.
Social anxiety involves excessive fear and self-consciousness about seemingly normal social situations. It affects nearly 7% of the U.S. adult population. In kids, social anxiety could also lead to selective mutism.
Phobias are associated with an unreasonable and intense fear of specific situations, objects, or spaces. While OCD and PTSD are less common, they could wreak havoc on a patient’s personal and professional life.
What Causes An Anxiety Disorder?
Several factors, including genetics and brain chemistry, could lead to an anxiety disorder.
Here are the most common causes of anxiety disorders:
- Environmental factors, such as stressful situations or life events
- Substance abuse, including alcohol and drug abuse
- Genetics (inheriting anxiety disorder from a family member)
- Brain chemistry (inability of the brain to control fear and emotions due to faulty circuits)
- Childhood trauma from physical/emotional/sexual abuse and neglect
Additionally, underlying medical conditions, such as thyroid disorder or heart disease, could cause symptoms similar to chronic anxiety. It is therefore essential to consult a medical professional and get a concrete diagnosis.
What Are the Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety disorders manifest differently for each individual. Anxiety symptoms spread across a broad spectrum, from stress and insomnia to diarrhea and heart palpitations.
StuffThatWorks used AI algorithms and crowdsourced data to analyze the responses of patients with anxiety disorders. Member reports on the platform indicate that the most widely reported symptoms of anxiety disorder are:
- Heart palpitations
- Breathing trouble
Apart from these common symptoms, a few reports list chest pain and tightness, fatigue, gastrointestinal distress and suicidal thoughts. Some individuals also experience weight loss and lack of appetite due to anxiety.
Additionally, people with anxiety disorders often become reclusive and go through extreme mood swings. They could also experience problems with eyesight, including blurry vision and tunnel vision. While tunnel vision is associated with migraines, glaucoma and other disorders, it could also indicate chronic anxiety.
Among these symptoms, worrying, fear and nervousness are the most indicative of GAD. Other indicative symptoms include racing thoughts, insomnia, restlessness and stress.
5 Natural Remedies For Anxiety
Medical treatment for anxiety disorders involves the use of antidepressants, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers and antipsychotic medications. Depending on a patient’s condition, they might also be prescribed counseling and psychotherapy.
It is however important to remember that there are numerous natural ways to cope with anxiety. Simple lifestyle changes, such as abstaining from alcohol and caffeine, can help improve your quality of life. In addition, there are several natural remedies for anxiety, most of which can be done at home.
Here are a five effective natural remedies to consider:
It is not surprising considering that exercise promotes the release of endorphins – chemicals in the brain that alleviate pain and stress.
Also, an exercise regime brings structure to the patient’s life, giving them a sense of purpose. It creates a sense of wellbeing and promotes better sleep too.
You don’t need to train for a triathlon to see benefits, either. Light cardio, such as walking for 20 minutes, is more than enough for most people.
Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil
Cannabidiol oil is derived from hemp or marijuana plants. But contrary to traditional notions, it contains little to no traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It stabilizes mood swings and helps the mind relax. Cannabidiol is available in oil, candies, gummies and tinctures.
However, patients should remember that research is still underway to determine the effectiveness of CBD oil as a treatment for anxiety. They are advised to consult their psychiatrist or therapist before using CBD oil to relieve anxiety.
Writing down worrying thoughts and fears is another effective way to manage anxiety. Journaling helps patients channel their anxious energy and gives them a creative outlet for expression.
Deep Breathing and Meditation
Meditation is known to calm anxious nerves, as well as relax the body and mind. Mindfulness meditation is particularly useful in helping patients control racing thoughts and preventing their brains from going into overdrive.
Similarly, deep breathing exercises promote feelings of relaxation and peacefulness. They help control the heart rate and come in handy in stressful situations. They can also improve the quality of sleep for patients who experience insomnia.
Herbal tea concoctions containing lavender and chamomile promote better sleep and relaxation. Research has shown that Chamomile tea is particularly effective in relieving the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
Other natural remedies for anxiety include:
- Aromatherapy with essential oils, such as lavender and ylang-ylang
- Dietary changes, including caffeine elimination
- Following a healthy bedtime routine
- Warm baths
Fight Anxiety With the Right Treatment
Getting diagnosed with an anxiety disorder might seem like the end of the world. Nevertheless, the right combination of medication, counseling, natural therapies and lifestyle changes can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life.
The key is to seek help as soon as the symptoms start spiraling out of control.
If you would like to take advantage of online counseling, I really recommend checking out BetterHelp. If you sign up with this affiliate link, you’ll get 10% off your membership. With everything going on in the world now, we can all benefit from some extra support.