Anxiety

Anxiety is a sense of fear and, in some cases, a feeling of impending doom. The term anxiety disorder refers to a category of disturbances that includes generalized anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. A panic attack is an acute anxiety episode that may be accompanied by sweating, shortness of breath, hot or cold flashes, heart palpitations, and other forms of discomfort. Anxiety disorders occur in people of all ages, but appear to be more common among women. The exact cause is complex, involving constitutional factors, emotional stress, biochemical imbalances, and environmental triggers.

The occurrence of an anxiety or panic attack is often unpredictable, but it may be associated with certain situations such as driving a car. Anxiety is an emotion that may feature excessive worry, sleep disturbances, shakiness, ritualistic behavior, fear of being alone or in public places, impatience, easy distraction, and great apprehension concerning the welfare of loved ones. Associated physical symptoms include racing pulse, heart palpitations, shortness or rapidity of breath, sweating, dry mouth, numbness and tingling of the hands and feet or cold/clammy hands, lightheadedness or dizziness, fatigue, trembling, indigestion, and diarrhea.

What To Consider

In women, hormone imbalances can cause anxiety. Therefore, hormone assessment is essential. Amino and fatty acid imbalances can also play an important role in triggering anxiety attacks.

Self-Care Tips

Diet
Assess your diet to reduce excessive consumption of stressor foods such as refined sugars, honey, maple syrup, or cow's milk products. Consume vegetable soups, broths, and a wide variety of green and yellow vegetables. Add more complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans, seeds, and nuts.

Nutritional Supplementation
The following supplements have all been shown to help reduce feelings of anxiety by calming the nervous system: calcium, magnesium, vitamin B complex, 5-HTP, pantothenic acid, and adrenal and kidney glandulars. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), an amino acid, can also affect mood by increasing levels of the brain neurotransmitter serotonin (a mood regulator).

Flower Essences
Flower essences can prove very helpful in managing and helping to eliminate anxiety. Use Aspen for apprehension, foreboding, and fear of unknown origin while mimulus is for fear of known things, shyness, and timidity.

Red chestnut is used for excessive anxiety and over caring for others. Rescue Remedy (combination formula) is for general stress from anxiety, and Rock Rose is helpful for coping with terror and panic from known fear.

Panax ginseng has a tonic effect on the adrenal glands, improving blood flow to the brain and reducing the stress associated with mental/emotional issues.

Valerian root, an herbal tranquilizer and muscle relaxant, is another good agent for calming the nervous system. It helps balance mood swings and is not habit forming. Valerian-hops combination formulas are good daytime sedatives because they don't interfere with reflex actions.

Passionflower is another mild sedative that helps reduce anxiety, high blood pressure, nervous tension, and muscle tension, and encourages deep, restful sleep.

St. John's wort, a highly popular remedy for depression, has proven effective for anxiety and mood swings as well.

Homeopathy
Aconite, Actaea rac., Drosera, Calc carb., and Sulfur are all useful homeopathic remedies for dealing with anxiety.

Hypnotherapy
Self-hypnosis helps to impart to the mind imagery designed to bring about deep levels of relaxation.

Meditation
Develops the mind's ability to stop anxiety at its source.

Caution

If your symptoms persist despite the above measures, seek the help of a qualified health professional.

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