Anxiety Disorders and Herbal Remedies

Anxiety disorders are a group of psychiatric illnesses, which affect nervous system of a human being. They interfere with the usual life of a person and affect the way a sufferer perceives the world, other people, and himself. As a result, anxiety victims have difficulty adjusting to environment around them.

There are several types of anxiety disorders:
– generalized anxiety disorder (GAD);
– panic disorder;
– agoraphobia;
– phobias;
– social anxiety disorder;
– obsessive-compulsive disorder;
– post-traumatic stress disorder.

Anxiety disorders are often accompanied by other mental conditions, for example, mood and eating disorders.

The most prominent symptom of anxiety disorders is irrational, uncontrolled fear and dread without any reason, which lasts for at least 6 months. It haunts a person wherever he is or whatever he does. Even the simplest, easiest, and the most common everyday things and activities arouse terror in the sufferer. Besides constant worrying and desire to hide or to escape, purely physical symptoms may occur as well: exhaustion, fatigue, sweating, trembling and shaking, rapid heartbeat, headaches, confusion, dizziness, insomnia, tension, choking sensation, flushing and gastrointestinal problems as upset stomach.

The combination of symptoms may vary from person to person and due to the type of the experienced anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders may be caused by different factors, which mostly work together or in combination. Overreaction to stress, long-term exposure to stress, genetic predisposition, childhood experience or some kind of shock or trauma in the adult life can later provoke the development of anxiety disorders.

One more important and, maybe, crucial cause of mental illnesses is imbalanced brain chemistry. The levels of such brain neurotransmitters as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and some others may play a role in the onset of the disorders, scientists confirm.

Medical Approaches

The treatment of anxiety disorders often depends on the state of a patient, type of the condition, its severity, etc. Meanwhile, there is a wide range of medicinal options to help relieve the symptoms. Most often, antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclics, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors), anti-anxiety drugs (benzodiazepines and beta-blockers), sedatives, tranquilizers, anthistamines, and psychotherapy (cognitive-behavioral therapy or exposure-based behavioral therapy) are used to control and suppress the sings of anxiety disorders.

Alternative Approaches

No need to say that all pharmaceutical drugs used to affect a human brain can cause physical adverse reactions and produce psychological undesirable effects as well. That is, probably, the main reason, why people are in constant search of safer and more reliable treatment options. Herbalists confirm that they are the ones who have a clue today.

Herbal remedies used to relieve anxiety disorders can improve both psychological state of a person and physical symptoms as well.

Valerian has always been considered a good sedative and a means to relieve stress. It also works well to reduce insomnia symptoms. Recent studies add more information on its effectiveness in fighting anxiety disorders, especially, panic attacks. It is often taken before bedtime to avoid panic attacks that occur at night.

The weak-point of valerian therapy is that it should not be used with other sedatives and antihistamines, as it depresses nervous system. The majority of patients, however, respond well to the treatment without excessive sedation and next-day hangover.

Passionflower is characterised with lower incidence of drowsiness and dizziness than pharmaceutical drugs, studies confirm. At the same time, it is said to possess the same rates of effectiveness as benzodiazepines. The plant is capable of calming down the anxious person due to its alkaloids harmane and harmaline, which action is comparable to that of monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

Passionflower, however, may cause a number of side effects: nausea, vomiting, and heart palpitations. Similarly to valerian, it should not be used with other means that sedate nervous system.

Kava is suggested to work by affecting such neurotransmitter as norepinephrine, dopamine, and gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). Its kavalactones produce sedation of the nervous system and muscle relaxation. It has been discovered that Kava can be effective not only for relieving mild anxiety, but moderate to severe one as well. It is especially good for different types of phobias.

This herb’s constituents are believed to have maximum effect if used in combination, when the whole plant is used, rather than separate extracts of particular components. However, the greatest concern about this plant regards its influence on the liver and potential risk of its injury by the herb.

Chamomile is a very mild and gentle remedy for anxiety disorders, which is said to suppress the production and release of the stress hormone in the body. Unlike other herbs, this one can be taken along with prescription anti-anxiety drugs to increase their effectiveness. Camomile can even be given to children. It relieves insomnia and tension. In addition, it improves stomach functioning preventing upset stomach, which often accompanies anxiety.

Scutellaria is also characterised by the ability to suppress the production of stress hormone. Headaches, associated with nervous tension and exhaustion, subside if a patient takes Scutellaria.

St. John’s Wort is another popular and even famous remedy against anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It is not known how it works, but it somehow balances the levels of brain chemicals and produces the effect of antidepressants. It also increases the duration of the deep sleep, thus working against insomnia. At the same time, this herb seems to fail in the treatment of severe depression.

Ginger and gingko increase the flow of oxygen to the brain. Scientists believe, that is the reason, why they help some people relieve anxiety symptoms. Besides, patients, who do not respond to other therapies, often benefit from the combination of these two herbs.

Hops is used to induce sleep and relieve anxiety, because it possesses properties similar to those of Librium and Valium. Aged hops works even better for mental illnesses with anxiety being the main symptom.

Fennel is a mighty remedy for the upset stomach, which is a common physical symptom of anxiety disorders; therefore, it may be of help while trying to get rid of these illnesses.
rosebud2010-11-22 13:55:41
Is 1 capsule of Valerian 530mg OK to take with 1 tablet of celexa , 20mg.
thank you rosebud