Natural Treatment for Anxiety
Anxiety is a feeling that everyone may experience at some point in their life. However, some people can be affected more severely than others. Feeling anxious all the time is extremely distressing for the person. Chronic or severe anxiousness is considered to be a form of mental illness.
What is the Definition of Anxiety?
Anxiety is defined as a collection of symptoms that create psychological discomfort. The feeling may be interpreted as panic or fear.
What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?
The symptoms of anxiety include:
- heart palpitations
- heart racing
- chest tightness
- shortness of breath
- difficulty concentrating
- shaking or trembling
- a feeling of impending doom
The sense of fear sometimes feels paralyzing both physically and mentally. Additional physical symptoms may include digestive disorders like nausea or diarrhea and insomnia. Also, anxiety is often also associated with depression.
Some common mood disorder diagnoses are social anxiety, panic disorders, phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). If any of these are interfering with your life, naturopathic doctor Pamela Frank can help.
What is the Most Effective Natural Treatment for Anxiety?
In my experience, it helps to investigate a few key areas such as:
Diet for Anxiety
Your gut is also called your “mini-brain” and as such, there is a link between it and your other brain. This highlights the importance of a good diet not only for gut health but also for mood disorders. Did you know that your gut makes more serotonin (your “feel-good” neurotransmitter) than your brain does?
A high-fat diet can also contribute to mood problems, especially if it is high in unhealthy fats. One study showed that 4 months of a high-fat diet lead to changes in the way the brain functions, more inflammation in the brain, and caused increased anxiousness.
Sleep recharges your system. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you waking feeling refreshed? If not, there are natural treatments for insomnia that help you get to sleep and stay asleep. Being well-rested helps you to cope with whatever life throws at you.
We all know the effect that stress has on our mood. Ideally, you would like to rid yourself of the cause of the stress. If you can’t, add in stress reduction techniques. Stress reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and psychotherapy relieve anxiousness.
As a naturopathic doctor, Dr. Pamela Frank will work with you to help manage your symptoms. I treat the cause through a scientifically-proven mix of diet, herbs, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Natural remedies for anxiety include herbs like ashwagandha, lavender, lemon balm, chamomile, and kava. Other supplements that help include l-theanine, magnesium, and fish oil. Also, vitamins like K, D, magnesium, and B6 are effective treatments for mood disorders.
What Causes Mood Disorders?
From a naturopathic perspective, factors that initiate, cause, or aggravate mood disorders include:
Your hormones regulate how your serotonin receptors work. Hormones may be at the root of the issue if the problem worsens around puberty, ovulation, menopause, or just before your period. Hormones may also be a problem if menstrual cycles are irregular or abnormal.
Neurotransmitters are the chemicals in your brain that influence how your brain works. Dopamine, GABA, and serotonin are all key “calming” neurotransmitters. By providing the right nutrients, as a naturopathic doctor, I can help your body to rebalance your neurotransmitters.
Adrenal gland or HPA axis function
Your adrenal glands are your coping glands. If they’re not working well, you won’t deal with stress as easily as you should. Chronic stress or poor diet depletes key nutrients that your adrenal glands, hypothalamus, pituitary, and nervous system need to work normally. These include vitamins B5, B6, C, and the minerals zinc and magnesium. As a naturopathic doctor, I will counsel you on adrenal gland testing, how best to replenish these nutrients, and which herbs to use to help your adrenal glands and HPA axis.
Are Natural Remedies Effective for Anxiety?
As with any other condition, you need the right herbs, vitamins, or minerals, in the right forms, at the proper dosage and frequency for them to be effective. The studies below prove the effectiveness of a small sampling of natural remedies for mood disorders. Our wellness practitioners have many other options to fix mood naturally.
Not ready to book an appointment yet, but want help with your anxiety? You may find my ebook helpful:
Authored by Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc, ND
Research on Natural Treatment for Anxiety:
Hansen M, Halladin N, Rosenberg J, Gogenur I, Moller A. Melatonin for pre-operative and postoperative anxiety in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2015;
● This study found that melatonin may also be equally as effective as midazolam (standard treatment) in reducing pre-operative anxiety.
Lavender and Orange Aromatherapy:
Lehrner J, Marwinski G, Johren P, Deecke L. Ambient odors of orange and lavender reduce anxiety and improve mood in a dental office. Physiol Behav. 2005; 86(1-2):92-5.
Woelk H, Arnoldt KH, Kieser M, Hoerr R. Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 in generalized anxiety disorder and adjustment disorder with anxious mood: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Psychiatr Res. 2007; 41(6): 472-80.
● After 4 weeks of treatment, a reduction in anxiety score of at least 50% was observed in 44% of patients taking the highest dose (480 mg/day).
4 weekly treatments of acupuncture were found to significantly lower anxiety levels in women undergoing in vitro fertilization. Source: Acupunct Med, 2012 April 12
Omega-3 fatty acids:
Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety. Source: Brain Behav Immun, 2011 July 19
Supplementation with L-theanine reduces anxiety in adults. Source: J Physiol Anthropol. 2012 Oct 29;31(1):28. [Epub ahead of print.]
High serum levels of antioxidants, particularly vitamins A, C, and E decrease anxiety and depression scores in patients. Source: Indian Journal of Psychiatry, July 2012