Entering college for the first time, you may have felt a pounding heartbeat or a uncharacteristic sweat. Excited to start your 4 years of procrastinating, partying, and disappointing your parents, you are likely feeling the effects of anxiety.
Anxiety can affect all types of people in many different ways. For example, a student may experience anxiety before taking a final exam. A fighter may feel anxiety before a big fight. A mother may experience anxiety when taking her child to the doctor. Anxiety can come from any part of life, and cause a disturbance in your ability to function as a member of society. Anxiety can also come in the form of fears, or phobias, ranging from the fear of gravity to the fear of colors.
An anxiety disorder is a mental disorder often characterized by high levels of anxiety. This usually causes a multitude of emotional and physical symptoms. These symptoms include headache, sweating, spasms, fatigue, and exhaustion. There are many different categorizations of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder. The aforementioned phobias are also considered a sub-type of anxiety disorder.
Treatment for an anxiety disorder usually lies in therapy, medication, and relaxation techniques. However, as with many different disorders, there is an abundance of alternative treatments. This article will focus on the natural treatments used as alternative treatments for the treatment of an anxiety disorder.
1. Relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques are not alternative treatments for anxiety, but are definitely natural, which is why it made this list. These techniques, usually involving diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, and light exercise can reduce stress and anxiousness, leading to a natural control of an anxiety disorder. The relaxation response triggered by these techniques can quell the nasty symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Try breathing deeply, doing yoga, or meditating the next time you are experiencing a fit of anxiousness.
Valerian is an herb most commonly used to treat insomnia, and sometimes used to treat anxiety disorders. While there is no scientific proof of its efficacy, there have been positive reports of its supposed benefits. It is usually taken an hour before bedtime and takes a few weeks to work. It can cause complications when mixed with alcohol or other medications, however, and therefore is not highly recommended to be used often.
Another herb, kava is found in Polynesia, and has been found in the past to treat anxiousness in humans. Unfortunately, the FDA has issued an advisory to consumers about the possibility of severe liver injury, and kava is no longer recommended for use.
Aromatherapy is the use of plant essential oils in baths, oil, or infusers. Lavender is the most common plant used for relaxation and the treatment of an anxiety disorder.
An herb used in folk medicine, passionflower was once used to treat insomnia and anxiety. It was found in a clinical study to have similar effects to benzodiazepine drugs. It was also found to increase job performance and induce less drowsiness than other antianxiety drugs. It may not be fully safe for pregnant women, children, or people with liver disease.