Anxiety encompasses many different, probably more primary emotions, including a feeling of uneasiness, apprehension or fear. apprehensive, or fearful. Anxiety is usually experienced at times when we feel we are not in control of events, or about events we consider to be threatening or dangerous. We can, for example, feel anxious about entering new or strange social situations, doing exams, making a speech, or attending job interviews. Often anxiety is closely associated with fear, or some future threat, and the need to escape a situation.
Often, anxiety can be accompanied by physical problems, such as sweating, muscle tension, insomnia, headaches, nausea, even heart palpitation
Normal life is anxiety creating, so everyone feels anxious at some time. Indeed, anxiety can be helpful, or even motivational, spurring us on to succeed in what we choose to do. So anxiety is not necessarily a problem. However, anxiety can also become overwhelming, and prevent us doing anything, and certainly not succeeding in anything. This is when anxiety becomes a problem, and requires treatment. Anxiety is then often divided into several different types.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
People with GAD feel anxious most of the time. They are chronic worriers, about most things concerned with daily life. Usually they can recognise that their anxiety is irrational, or out of proportion, but they remain unable to do anything about it.
Phobias are excessive, enduring and usually irrational fears about ordinary life events or situations. The fear can be about heights (Acrophobia), about closed spaces (claustrophobia), insects, travelling by plane, fear of social situations, and much else.
Panic is produced by an intense and overpowering moment, or period of fear. Sometimes panic attacks are unpredictable, and they can be associated with palpitation, trembling, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and nausea.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD occurs when people have obsessive, intrusive, and often unwanted thoughts or images, and as a result, they feel compelled to perform certain behaviours, repeatedly.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD happens when an individual goes through a traumatic or catastrophic events. It is closely associated with soldiers following warfare, or with serious accidents, or with physical or sexual assaults. Whatever events, the individual is unable to prevent regularly reliving the experience, or they are plagued with flashback.
What all anxiety conditions have is restricting the ability of the individual to live their lives fully and openly. They can become insular, introverted and closed, and unable to venture out fully into society. Anxiety is often associated with depression, and with alcohol /smoking issues, and substance misuse generally.
Conventional Medical Treatment for Anxiety
The NHS Choices website has been used here as the source of information about the conventional medical treatment of this condition. As we will see below, conventional medical drugs for anxiety have proven to be so harmful to patients that now psychological therapies are now recommended initially.
NHS Choices confirms this, saying that doctors will usually recommend Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Applied Relaxation Therapy in the first instance. These therapies are useful, often effective, and certainly they do not have the dangerous side effects of drug treatment.
However, conventional medicine will use drug treatment if the psychological treatments have not helped, or if they are not available.
Yet before any drug is mentioned, NHS Choices says that it is important for patients discuss the options with their doctors, including the lengths of time drugs should be taken, the need for regular appointments, and the need to report any side effects that might be caused. This caution and uncertainty reflects the known dangers of all these drugs, and the harm they can cause to patients.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRI drugs, like sertraline, escitalopram or paroxetine, are usually the first drug patients are offered for anxiety. Patients are warned that they can take several weeks to start working, that low doses are used at first ‘until you body adjusts’ to the drug. The outline the side effects of SSRI antidepressants as follows:
• feeling sick
• low sex drive
• blurred vision
• diarrhoea or constipation
• dry mouth
• loss of appetite
• feeling agitated
• problems sleeping (insomnia)
But for a more comprehensive list of side effects, go to the 'Dangerous Pharmaceutical Drugs' website.
Yet when patients survive the side effect they then have to be careful about withdrawal symptoms. NHS Choices says that patients “have your dose slowly reduced over the course of a few weeks to reduce the risk of withdrawal effects” and that patients should “never stop taking your medication unless your GP specifically advises you to”.
Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
SNRI antidepressants, like venlafaxine and duloxetine, are used if SSRIs do not work. Again, NHS Choices outline the side effects as:
• feeling sick
• dry mouth
Patients are also warned that SNRI drugs can increase blood pressure, and that blood pressure has to be monitored regularly during treatment.
For a more comprehensive list of side effects, go to this website.
If both SSRIs and SNRIs fail to work patients are offered pregabalin, an anticonvulsant drug usually used for conditions such as epilepsy, but “it has also been found to be beneficial in treating anxiety”. Again, NHS Choices outlines a few of this drug’s side effects”
• increased appetite and weight gain
• blurred vision
• dry mouth
• vertigo (the sensation that you, or the environment around you, is moving or spinning)
However, this is another inadequate outline of the harm this drug can cause.
Benzodiazepines, like chlordiazepoxide, diazepam and lorazepam, are the next drugs mentioned by NHS Choices for the treatment of anxiety. They are described as sedatives ‘very effective in treating the symptoms of anxiety’ on a short-term basis ‘particularly a severe period of anxiety because they help ease the symptoms within 30 to 90 minutes of taking the medication’.
Only then does NHS Choices mention the down side of this class of drug, with a series of unsatisfactory warnings.
“Although benzodiazepines are very effective in treating the symptoms of anxiety, they cannot be used for long periods of time because they can become addictive if used for longer than four weeks. Benzodiazepines also start to lose their effectiveness after this time.
The side effects of benzodiazepines are also seriously misrepresented by NHS Choices. I include the list here because it needs to be compared with the real problems caused by these dreadful drugs:
• difficulty concentrating
• tremor (an uncontrollable shake or tremble in part of the body)
• low sex drive
For a more realistic description of Benzodiazepine drugs, go to this link in ‘Dangerous Pharmaceutical Drugs. A comparison between the information given here, and by NHS Choices, demonstrates clearly that the conventional medical establishment do not want patients to know the full dangers of the drugs they give to them.
If patients get this far, NHS Choices says that the next step is a referral to a specialist!
Homeopathic Treatment of Anxiety
Homeopathy is a medical therapy that will avoid some of the side-effects and adverse reactions of conventional medical treatment. Homeopathy is the second most popular medical therapy in the world, and the most popular holistic system of medicine. Homeopathy is based on remedies made from a variety of different substances, all of which are known to cause symptoms of illness if taken in their normal form. However, homeopathy has discovered that substances that cause symptoms of illness can also cure those same symptoms of illness.
This is the principle of “Like cures Like” on which all homeopathy is based.
The task of the homeopath is to find a remedy whose symptom picture matches the symptoms of a person’s illness. These remedy symptom pictures have been developed over the last 220 years.
The selection of a homeopathic remedy is based on the individual’s symptoms of illness, not on any broad conventionally-defined illness. It is important to stress this. Homeopathy does not treat illness or diseases. Instead it treats an individual who has been diagnosed with a particular illness or disease. The distinction is important, and if you wish to read more about this, click on the chapter “Illness Diagnosis”.
As far as (disease) is concerned, homeopathy has highlighted a number of remedies that have been found to be useful in its treatment. The following remedies provide a guide to the kind of anxiety symptoms they will treat, and they have been taken from the similima.com website. All the remedies mentioned are safe, and any remedy that matches the patient’s symptoms will be effective. These simple remedy pictures give some indication of the types of symptoms they will treat.
Many of these remedies can be found in simple home-use remedy kits that can be obtained from these Homeopathic Pharmacies.
However, for an accurate, individualised remedy section, patients should consult with a qualified homeopath. This increases the likelihood of matching an individual with a remedy that will work for them. A remedy that does not match the symptoms of an individual’s illness will not work!
A panic attack that comes on suddenly with very strong fear (even fear of death) may indicate this remedy. A state of immense anxiety may be accompanied by strong palpitations, shortness of breath, and flushing of the face. Sometimes a shaking experience will be the underlying cause. Strong feelings of anxiety may also occur when a person is just beginning to come down with a flu or cold.
This remedy can be helpful when anxiety develops before a big event: an exam, an important interview, a public appearance or social engagement. Dizziness and diarrhoea may also be experienced. People who need this remedy are often enthusiastic and suggestible, with a tendency toward peculiar thoughts and impulses. They often crave sweets and salt (which usually make their symptoms worse).
Arsenicum album P
People who are deeply anxious about their health, and extremely concerned with order and security, often benefit from this remedy. Obsessive about small details and very neat, they may feel a desperate need to be in control of everything. Panic attacks often occur around midnight or the very early hours of the morning. The person may feel exhausted yet still be restless—fidgeting, pacing, and anxiously moving from place to place. These people may also have digestive problems or asthma attacks accompanied by anxiety.
This remedy is usually indicated for dependable, solid people who become overwhelmed from physical illness or too much work and start to fear a breakdown. Their thoughts can be muddled and confused when tired, which adds to the anxiety. Worry and bad news may agitate them, and a nagging dread of disaster (to themselves or others) may develop. Fear of heights and claustrophobia are also common. A person who needs this remedy is often chilly and sluggish, has a craving for sweets, and is easily fatigued.
Feelings of weakness, trembling, and mental dullness (being “paralyzed by fear”) suggest a need for this remedy. It is often helpful when a person has stage-fright about a public performance or interview, or feels anxious before a test, a visit to the dentist, or any stressful event. Chills, perspiration, diarrhoea, and headaches will often occur with nervousness. Fear of crowds, a fear of falling, and even a fear that the heart might stop are other indications for Gelsemium.
A sensitive person who is anxious because of grief, loss, disappointment, criticism, loneliness (or any stressful emotional experience) may benefit from this remedy. A defensive attitude, frequent sighing, and mood swings are other indications. The person may burst unexpectedly into either tears or laughter. Headaches that feel like a nail driven into the side of the head, and cramping pains in the abdomen or back, are often seen when this remedy is needed.
When a person has been exhausted by overwork or illness and feels a deep anxiety and inability to cope, this remedy may help. The person is jumpy and oversensitive, and may be startled by ordinary sounds. Hearing unpleasant news or thinking of world events can aggravate the problems. Insomnia and an inability to concentrate may develop, increasing the sense of nervous dread. Eating, warmth, and rest often bring relief. Headaches, backaches, and nervous digestive upsets are often seen when this remedy is needed.
Individuals likely to respond to this remedy feel anxiety from mental stress and suffer from a lack of confidence. They can be self-conscious and feel intimidated by people they perceive as powerful (yet may also swagger or be domineering toward those with whom they feel more comfortable). Taking on responsibility can cause a deep anxiety and fear of failure, although the person usually does well, once started on a task. Claustrophobia, irritability, digestive upsets with gas and bloating, and a craving for sweets are often seen when this remedy is needed.
Deep emotions and a self-protective shyness can make these people seem reserved, aloof, and private. Even when feeling lonely, they tend to stay away from social situations, not knowing what to say or do. (Inhibitions sometimes leave completely if they turn to alcohol, which makes them feel embarrassed afterwards.) Easily hurt and offended, they can brood, bear grudges, dwell on unhappy feelings, and isolate themselves—refusing consolation even when they want it. However, they are often sympathetic listeners to other people’s problems. Claustrophobia, anxiety at night (with fears of robbers or intruders), migraines, and insomnia are often seen when this remedy is needed.
People who need this remedy are openhearted, imaginative, excitable, easily startled, and full of intense and vivid fears. Strong anxiety can be triggered by thinking of almost anything. Nervous and sensitive to others, they can overextend themselves with sympathy to the point of feeling exhausted and “spaced out” or even getting ill. They want a lot of company and reassurance, often feeling better from conversation or a back-rub. Easy flushing of the face, palpitations, thirst, and a strong desire for cold, refreshing foods are other indications for Phosphorus.
People who need this remedy often express anxiety as insecurity and clinginess, with a need for constant support and comforting. The person may be moody, tearful, whiny, even emotionally childish. (Pulsatilla is a very useful remedy for children.) Getting too warm or being in a stuffy room often increases anxiety. Fresh air and gentle exercise often bring relief. Anxiety around the time of hormonal changes (puberty, menstrual periods, or menopause) often is helped with Pulsatilla.
People who need this remedy are capable and serious, yet are also nervous, shy, and subject to bouts of temporary loss of confidence. Anxiety can be extreme when they are faced with a public appearance, interview, examination, or any new job or task. Worry and overwork can bring on headaches, difficulty concentrating, and states of exhaustion, oversensitivity, and dread. Responsible and diligent, they often overreact and devote attention to tiny details—making their worries (and their work) more difficult. They often have low stamina and come down with colds, sore throats, or other illnesses after working hard or being under stress.
Scientific Evidence Supporting Homeopathy
There is a significant and growing amount of scientific evidence confirming that homeopathy is a safe and effective medical therapy. However, this evidence remains only the third most important proof of this.
The most important proof for the safety and effectiveness of homeopathy is clinical experience, that is the many millions of patients who, having suffered serious illness, have been treated successfully with homeopathy. This is going on throughout the world, and been doing so for over 200 years.
Homeopathy has also developed a voluminous materia medica. This contains the intricate details of the healing properties of several thousand substances used to make homeopathic remedies. The short remedy pictures above are just a tiny part of this knowledge.
However, the following scientific studies have been undertaken on the homeopathic treatment of anxiety.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder.
Amsterdam JD1, Li Y, Soeller I, Rockwell K, Mao JJ, Shults J.
“We observed a significantly greater reduction in mean total HAM-A score during chamomile versus placebo therapy. Although the study was not powered to identify small to moderate differences in secondary outcomes, we observed a positive change in all secondary outcomes in the same direction as the primary outcome measure….The results suggest that chamomile may have modest anxiolytic activity in patients with mild to moderate GAD. Future studies are needed to replicate these observations”.
Dose-effect study of Gelsemium sempervirens in high dilutions on anxiety-related responses in mice
Paolo Magnani,1 Anita Conforti,2 Elisabetta Zanolin,2 Marta Marzotto,1 and Paolo Bellavite1
“The overall pattern of results provides evidence that G. sempervirens acts on the emotional reactivity of mice, and that its anxiolytic-like effects are apparent, with a non-linear relationship, even at high dilutions”.
The information on this webpage represents the views and opinion of the author, based on his clinical experience, and the traditions of Homeopathy. This material is provided for information only, and should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Always consult with a suitably qualified and registered Homeopath, or with a medical doctor for advice about the treatment they offer, especially in serious or life threatening medical conditions, or if you are already taking medical drugs.’