WHAT IS IT?
Anxiety is defined by the American physiological association as an emotion characterized by a feeling of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased rate of respiration, sweating and increased heart rate.
In simple terms, anxiety consists of several disorders of the central nervous systems that cause nervousness, apprehension, fear and worrying. These disorders change behavior and can trigger physical symptoms affecting the activities of daily living. In the U.S.A, anxiety affects over 40 million people and is one of the most common mental illnesses.
In the field of mental health anxiety is classified as a mood disorder. The most common type of psychiatric disorders are anxiety disorders. According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders anxiety disorders have features of extreme anxiety and fear and are related to behavioral disturbances. These disorders include separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), specific phobia, agoraphobia, panic disorder, substance/medication-induced anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and anxiety disorder due to other medical conditions.
That is a lot of information about what anxiety is, but what happens to a person when they are feeling anxious?
HOW DOES ANXIETY MAKE YOU FEEL?
Symptoms of anxiety include: heart palpitations or accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling, shaking, shortness of breath or feelings of choking, chest pain, nausea, abdominal distress, feeling dizzy, lightheaded or faint. A person may also experience chills or heat sensations, tingling sensations and a sense that things aren’t real. Many people with anxiety fear losing control, going crazy or dying; given the body’s physical reactions to anxiety and stress, this Anxiety is a part of our natural defense mechanism humans inherited from their earliest primitive ancestors. When faced with potentially harmful or stressful situation our body releases stress hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol that activates a stress response in the body. This norepinephrine or noradrenaline produces a rush known as the “flight-or-fight” response. This is only a short-lived response. However, in certain individuals this process lasts for abnormally long durations of time and excessively large amounts of stress hormones are being released causing these anxiety disorders.
This is one of the mental illness affecting the majority of the population. However, only 37% of the people receive treatment. One study carried out showed a large number of patients stopping treatment midway and high dropout rates due to adverse effects on anti-anxiety drugs. These drugs have many adverse effects such as dry mouth, nausea, vomiting weight gain, drowsiness, blurred vision, nightmare, confusion, headaches and many more.
Since ancient civilizations, many properties of plants and their extracts have been used to treat anxiety symptoms and it is a well-documented fact many ancient tribes used to drink plant potions before battle to get rid of their anxiety and fear. The main advantage of using this plant component in alternative medicine is that they do not produce the adverse effects anti-anxiety treatment does. Therefore, they have a better compliance to complete the therapy.
Essential oils are plant oil extracts from herbal plant components such as barks, flowers, seeds and leaves that have concentrated herbal compounds to treat disorders.
One of the most promising extracts is Lavender. In randomized control studies that compare the effect of lavender oil with anti-anxiety drugs, it has shown lavender oil produced no side effects in the therapeutic range, compared to anti-anxiety drugs. In the therapeutic range, it has shown the same effect as synthetic anxiolytic medications, including the benzodiazepine lorazepam and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) paroxetine prescribed in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Cherry plum and Rock rose extracts have also shown significant anti-anxiety properties in research studies. A randomized control study done on patients with anxiety showed that the group that used the flower essences of cherry plum and Rock Rose had a larger and statistically significant reduction in anxiety level in comparison to the placebo group.
A review study was done on many research articles which were published in “Biomed central”, has shown the extract from plant Star of Bethlehem has remarkable properties in stabilizing mood, reducing anxiety and balancing the neurotransmitters in the brain.
Research shows that you can get all of these wonderful benefits without any side effects or drug interactions. Natural solutions are available for your mental health and wellness. Try them alone or add them to your existing healthcare plan.