Natural Remedies for Anxiety
Anxiety is defined as the reaction to prolonged, unpredictable risk, a response which encompasses physiological, affective, and cognitive adjustments. According to this definition, anxiety is superior to worry: a response to immediate, foreseeable risks. The “trouble focusing” symptom is a significant feature of the DSM-IV classifications of tension issues. According to the DSM-IV, specific anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), phobias, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Due to the high rates of co-occurrence with depression, it is uncommon to find an individual who has a natural anxiety condition (Gerson et al., 2015)
Untreated and undiagnosed anxiety will have negative impacts on a person’s life as well as on society at large. Undiagnosed and untreated anxiety may result in disability-related suicide risk and impotence at work, which reduces productivity. This has a negative impact on life quality and has significant financial costs (Kasper, 2006).
Treatments and natural remedies for anxiety
Antidepressants and sedatives are available that work to balance our brain’s chemistry in order to treat anxiety cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but they can only prevent the most severe symptoms. There are also some natural methods that might assist in reducing our anxiety. Studies have shown that certain behaviors, such as eating a balanced diet, exercising more, abstaining from drugs (including alcohol and tobacco), incorporating meditation into daily life, establishing a regular sleeping schedule, using aromatherapy, etc., can help control and reduce anxiety to a much greater extent.
Reduced drug use as a remedy for anxiety
In 2017, Charlet et al. conducted a systematic review that found that reducing alcohol consumption improved symptoms of anxiety and depression, improved mental and physical health, decreased psychosocial stress, and improved social functioning. According to Moylan et al. (2012), smoking may be associated with a higher rate of anxiety disorders, and smoking also contributes to increased anxiety. Similar to adults, smoking is linked to a greater incidence of anxiety problems in teenagers (Johnson et al., 2000; Goodwin et al., 2005).
Increased physical activities as a remedy for anxiety
Physical activity greatly helps to reduce anxiety symptoms, and those who exercise more often have less depression and anxiety symptoms (Minnen et al., 2010). Research has demonstrated that learned helplessness is associated with a decrease in norepinephrine and is a sign of anxiety (Petty et al., 1993). The effects of treadmill training and wheel running on norepinephrine additional neuronal uptake and hippocampal norepinephrine levels (Iverson, 1982). There is evidence that regular aerobic exercise increases serotonergic and noradrenergic brain processes, mimicking the effects of antidepressants (Meeusen et al., 1995; Chaouloff, 1989). Prepro-galanin mRNA levels are also increased by treadmill workout education, indicating that galanin gene expression is responsive to the stress from exercise education and may have a “neuromodulating function” within the noradrenergic response inside the locus ceruleus, a region of the brain abundant in noradrenergic neurons (O’Neal et al., 2001).
Meditation as a remedy for anxiety
According to a John Hopkins study, meditation seemed to provide similar relief from a few anxiety and depressive symptoms as what other studies have seen with antidepressants. Goyal, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University, and his colleagues discovered that mindfulness meditation, a form of Buddhist self-interest meant to cultivate attentive, nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, also appeared to be effective in reducing some pain symptoms and signs as well as stress. The results persisted even when the researchers took into account the likelihood of the placebo effect, in which study participants feel better while receiving no actual treatment because they believe they are receiving treatment for their ailments.
In order to promote health and well-being, aromatherapy uses herbal plant extracts as part of a comprehensive therapeutic regimen. It is sometimes referred to as crucial oil cure. Aromatherapy employs medicinally effective aromatic essential oils to enhance the health of the body, mind, and soul. It improves both mental and physical wellness. Aromatherapy has been utilised by humans for a very long time. Resins, balms, and oils made from aromatic plant materials have been used for centuries by ancient societies in China, India, Egypt, and elsewhere. These organic elements have served both therapeutic and sacred purposes. Both their physical and mental advantages were recognised. Although the practise had been in use for a long time before to this, the Persians are credited with developing essential oil distillation around the tenth century. Information about essential oil distillation was published in Germany in the 16th century. French doctors first realised the therapeutic potential of essential oils in the nineteenth century. In the 19th century, scientific doctors grew more connected and focused on the use of chemical medications. Nevertheless, the French and German physicians identified the use of natural botanicals in sickness treatment. As a result, aromatherapy might be used to lessen anxiety symptoms.
Avoiding sleeplessness to avoid anxiety
For mental health to improve and to avoid any form of worry, a regular 7-8 hours of sleep is required. According to research, those who are prone to worry are more vulnerable to the consequences of sleep deprivation, which may cause hysterical symptoms (Goldstein et al., 2013). Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep every day, and anything less may worsen health problems including sadness and anxiety, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Sleep deprivation in 2013 enhanced responses in the amygdala and anterior insula, two regions of the brain associated with anxiety, according to Goldstein et al. People who exhibit the symptoms of sleeplessness are more likely to experience anxiety while under stress (Kalmbach et al., 2019).
Improved dietary habits as a remedy
Consumption patterns and eating habits can have a big impact on how well anxiety symptoms are managed. For example, consuming too much coffee may cause signs and symptoms that are similar to many mental conditions. Caffeine abuse is common among people with eating disorders since it has been linked to the worsening of sleep and anxiety difficulties. Caffeine’s main effects include reducing tiredness and improving mental function. A state of intoxication known as caffeinism is brought on by excessive consumption and is marked by restlessness, agitation, pleasure, wandering thinking and speech, and sleeplessness. In actuality, the symptoms and indicators are similar to numerous mental conditions (Winston et al., 2005). Caffeine has two distinct impacts on the brain. Low amounts result in excitement, which is often seen as appropriate, however large quantities may cause caffeine’s unpleasant side effects (Daly et al., 1998). As a result, limiting caffeine intake is essential to preventing the onset of anxiety symptoms. Additionally, chamomile tea helps reduce anxiety. Insomniac rats were enabled to fall asleep with chamomile extract. According to researchers, tea may have benzodiazepine-like hypnotic properties because it binds to benzodiazepine receptors (Shinomiya et al., 2005). proven That chamomile may be a potent ally in the fight against GAD. The results of the research showed that those who took German chamomile pills (220 mg up to five times daily) saw greater reductions in anxiety symptoms and test scores than people who received a placebo (Mao et al 2014).
Vitamin D as remedy
Anxiety problems have also been shown to benefit from vitamin D. (Zhu et al., 2020). The active form of VD is 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, which is created by a series of processes that occur in a few different organs. The VD3 enters the bloodstream and is then transported to the liver, where it is converted into 25(OH)D3, the immediate precursor for active vitamin D, by adding a hydroxyl group to the C25 function with the help of a diet D 25-hydroxylase. The most reliable indicator of the status of nutrition D is the serum 25(OH)D level, which is the main circulating metabolite of nutrition D. (Almeida et al., 2015). Rodent studies have shown that active VD improved glutamate and glutamine metabolism in neurons, which contributed to behavioural changes and altered neurotransmitter stages (Harms et al., 2011). Studies have shown that VD is a crucial coenzyme in the production of monoamines, including dopamine and norepinephrine (Chester et al. 2015). These examples demonstrate how VD plays a crucial role in a variety of mental processes, including brain growth, neuroimmunomodulation, and mind neuroplasticity, all of which may indirectly affect mood regulation (Zhu et al., 2020). hence assisting in anxiety management. Amr et al. (2013) found that supplementing with vitamin C while taking an antidepressant had positive benefits. Of course, there are conflicting research that refute the notion that vitamin C aids in lowering anxiety.
Therefore, there are several natural methods one may use to manage and minimise their anxiety without resorting to medications, their related side effects, or costly therapy. Simply making little changes in one’s life may help one enhance their mental health, which will have a good impact on both their personal life and society.
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Written by: Dr. Mohamed Fahad, MD, a medical researcher at king Edward medical university, Pakistan