What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress which can be described as a feeling of alarm or worry. Many people get nervous or anxious when facing a problem or challenge at work, before going for a test, interview, or exam, or before making an important decision in life. A certain amount of anxiety is normal; it can be beneficial in some situations as it alerts us, prepares us, and allows us to avoid dangerous situations. Anxiety is nothing but anticipation of a future concern and is more associated with muscle tension, feelings of nervousness, and avoidance behavior.
Anxiety needs attention or treatment when it is out of proportion.
What is Anxiety Neurosis or Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders or anxiety neurosis is not just a normal feeling of nervousness or anxiousness; it is intense uncontrollable fear or anxiety due to the anticipation of a threatening event or situation. Patients often share that they are unable to control the intense feeling of worry or anxiety. This heightened anxiety interferes with the personal, professional, and social life of a person. In most of the patients, the intense feeling of anxiety, unreasonable worry, and restlessness is accompanied by some physical symptoms. Anxiety disorders have a significant negative impact on the quality of life of the sufferer.
Anxiety disorders are treatable. Most people with anxiety disorder live a normal productive life after proper management. Managing anxiety disorder needs a strategic combination of three aspects which includes the involvement of the patient, role of counselor or doctor, and proper medicine.
Homeopathic Treatment For Anxiety Neurosis:
Homeopathy is highly effective and recommended for treating different types of anxiety disorders. The prescription of homeopathic medicine for anxiety neurosis is based on the principle of individualization. At Life Force, during case-taking, the patient’s basic nature, his mental state, symptoms of anxiety neurosis, his stress coping mechanisms, childhood situations, family environment in childhood, family history, past medical history, and his social, personal, and professional relationships are taken into consideration and a detailed analysis is done before prescribing the medicines. Hence, homeopathic medicines act at a deeper level and help to treat the disease from its root. Initially, if the patient is taking conventional treatment, he has to continue those medicines, as stopping them suddenly may cause withdrawals symptoms.
How Homeopathy Can Help In Anxiety Neurosis?
Homeopathic medicines give relief to the patient in an anxiety state. They reduce the frequency, duration, and intensity of panic attacks. Homeopathy improves the sense of well-being and sleep.
Homeopathy is a completely safe treatment and it does not have any side-effects.
Homeopathic medicines are non-habit-forming and the use of homeopathic medicines does not lead to drug dependency.
With the regular use of homeopathic medicines, gradually, the need for conventional medicine (anti-anxiety, antidepressant medicines, and sleeping pills) gets reduced. Over a period, one may be able to reduce the dose or stop the medicines under the guidance of an expert doctor.
If homeopathic treatment is augmented with psychotherapy or counseling, the results are more promising.
Duration of treatment:
At Life Force, most of the patients taking treatment for Anxiety Neurosis experience improvement in the initial four to six weeks of the treatment. The total duration of treatment may vary from eight months to two years or longer depending on the following factors:
The severity of the disease
Duration i.e. since when the patient is suffering from an anxiety disorder
Other associated psychological diseases, depression, personality disorders, obsessive traits, etc.
Current and Previous use of conventional medications, such as anti-anxiety, anti-depression medicines, etc. The level of drug dependency.
Commonly prescribed homeopathic medicines in anxiety neurosis:
Some of the commonly prescribed homeopathic medicines for anxiety neurosis are Argentum Nitricum, Argentum Metallicum, Silicia, Lycopodium clavatum, Thuja Occidentalis, Syphilinum, Natrum Muriaticum, Pulsatilla, Arsenicum Album, Gelsemium, etc.
What Happens In Anxiety Neurosis? (Pathogenesis)
Neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in our brain are responsible for balancing and controlling different emotions. Some of the neurotransmitters play a different role in regulating anxiety. Dysregulation of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid, is responsible for an anxiety disorder or anxiety neurosis. Multiple factors can lead to dysfunction of neurotransmitters and brain receptors.
Prevalence Of Anxiety Neurosis:
Anxiety neurosis or anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental disorders. According to the recent study by the World Health Organization (published in ICD 10- International Classification of disease), one in 68 people i.e. around 1.45% of people worldwide suffers from different types Anxiety disorders.
Causes Of Anxiety Neurosis:
1) Genetic factors:
A family history of anxiety disorders or other psychological diseases predisposes certain people to develop anxiety disorders.
2) Imbalance of neurotransmitters:
Dysregulation of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid, is responsible for an anxiety disorder or anxiety neurosis.
3) Psychological factors:
Personality type or personality disorders:
People with certain personality type are more prone to develop anxiety disorders. People having low self-esteem and poor coping skills while dealing with different life situations are more prone to suffer from anxiety disorders. This basic nature of an individual makes them vulnerable to anxiety disorder.
In some patients, anxiety is a maladaptive learning response to certain past bad experiences or stressful situations. This maladaptive learning becomes generalized and reflects in the behavior of the person and anticipating future similar situations.
4) Environmental or social factors:
Life experiences, such as the death of a loved one in the family, divorce, a financial loss, uncertainty in job or loss of job, accident or major illness, and a long term exposure to abuse, violence, terrorism, and poverty can affect a the person‘s attitude and response to life situations. These situations may make a person susceptible to anxiety neurosis.
Children growing up in a family where they have seen fear and anxiety as adaptive behavior can make them vulnerable to become anxious.
5) Medical illnesses and use of medicines:
Certain medical illnesses, such as hormonal disorders, neurological disorders, respiratory diseases, or heart diseases, may present as or cause the symptoms of anxiety disorders.
The use of certain medicines or drugs may lead to symptoms of anxiety disorders. Hormonal treatment or therapy and drugs, such as amphetamines, sleeping pills, corticosteroids, bronchodilators, contraceptive pills, etc. may lead to anxiety disorders.
Symptoms Of Anxiety Neurosis:
Anxiety neurosis can affect a person at an emotional, physical, or cognitive level. Commonly presenting symptoms of anxiety neurosis are:
Dryness of mouth
Difficulty in swallowing
Rapid breathing or difficulty in breathing
An increased heart rate or palpitation
Trembling of extremities
Nausea or vomiting
An intense feeling that something harmful is about to happen
Excessive worry in an everyday situation
Feeling on edge
The anticipation of a threatening event or situation
Strong desire to avoid social situations or things that trigger anxiety
Difficulty in concentrating
A lack of clarity while taking a decision
Difficult perception of surroundings
Types Of Anxiety Disorders:
Type of anxiety disorder
Panic disorder is characterized by sudden attacks of terror accompanied by a rapid heart rate, sweating, weakness, fainting or dizziness, hot flushes or chilliness, tingling or numbness of hands, trembling of hands, etc. The patient may experience nausea, chest pain, choking sensations, and difficulty in breathing.
Panic attacks usually lead to a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom, or a fear of losing control.
In between the two attacks, the patient is constantly worried about getting another panic attack. He avoids the situations that may provoke a panic attack.
The duration of a panic attack may vary from a few minutes to hours.
Patients suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are continuously occupied with persistent anxious thoughts or impulse (obsessions) and they do repetitive actions (compulsions) to control the anxiety, which produce the thoughts.
Here obsessions and compulsions are unreasonable and in excess cause marked distress to the patient.
The patient recognizes that these thoughts, impulses, or images are the product of his mind and not imposed from outside and he tries to avoid them.
Commonly seen Repetitive behaviors are washing hands, ordering, checking locks and doors repeatedly, etc. The patient feels the impulse to repeat these actions and to perform them to relieve the anxiety.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is developed after exposure to a traumatic or frightening life event.
Patients of PTSD experience following symptoms:
Intense fear or anxiety about the same event or incidence will repeat
Restriction in daily activities
Feeling detached or numb
A loss of pleasure or interest in activities which patient used to enjoy previously
Duration: It may last for more than 3 months to a few years
Generalized anxiety disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive, unreasonable anxiety and worry about day-to-day activities or events.
Common symptoms of GAD are:
Activities, such as daily work, study, performance, day-to-day events. etc. may lead to intense anxiety
Nervousness and restlessness in trifles
Difficulty in concentrating
Duration: Anxiety occurs on most of the days for at least 6 months.
When there is an excessive persistent irrational fear about some specific object or situation (such as the fear of animals, height, water, fire, going to elevators, crowded places, closed places, fear of blood, injections, etc.), then the anxiety disorder is termed as a specific phobia. The patient often tries to avoid that specific object or situation.
Patients with Social Anxiety Disorder or social phobia have excessive and persistent anxiety or fear in one or more social situations. A person suffering from a social phobia will avoid or will be extremely distressed in social meetings or situations.
The patient may experience symptoms like:
The fear of the crowd
Fear social situations or social gatherings
Constant fear of negative evaluation by others
A feeling of suffocation, sweating, or rapid heart rate in social situations
Acute anxiety disorder
Acute anxiety disorder is precipitated by recent exposure to a stressful or traumatic life event. The patient often presents with the feeling of intense fear, helplessness, or horror. This interferes with the daily routine of the patient.
After such an event, the patient experiences:
The feeling of emotional numbness
Reduced awareness or no awareness about what is happening in the surroundings
The patient is unable to recall an important aspect of the trauma.
Re-experiencing the traumatic event repeatedly. Patient tries to avoid anything that reminds him or related to the trauma.
Difficulty in concentrating
Duration: Patient can experience the symptoms within a few days to 4 weeks after the exposure to a stressful event. Symptoms may last for about 4 weeks.
Diagnosis Of Anxiety Neurosis:
A physician, with the help of a detailed case history and physical examination of the patient, diagnoses anxiety disorders clinically. No laboratory tests are available which can diagnose anxiety disorders. A physician may suggest some tests to rule out other medical conditions with similar symptoms as anxiety disorders. There are different short-answer interviews or symptom inventories or tests available that help to evaluate the symptoms, types, and intensity of anxiety disorders. Sometimes, the patient may present with symptoms of more than one type of anxiety disorders.
Supportive Treatment (Diet, Lifestyle, and Exercises) For Anxiety Neurosis:
Some of the best supportive measures to be followed along with proper medication for anxiety neurosis patients are:
1) Avoid anxiety triggers:
Some situations, incidences, environmental factors, and food habits can trigger the episode of anxiety and may increase your stress levels. Try to identify your triggers and avoid them.
2) Take a deep breath:
Whenever you experience stress or nervousness, slowly take deep breaths. This may help you to overcome your anxiety.
3) Take enough sound sleep:
Take a continuous adequate sleep of about 7-8 hours daily. Sound sleep helps to relax your mind and body. Avoid sleeping late at night. Sleep early and get up early.
4) Practice yoga & meditation:
Practicing different yoga postures and pranayama daily may help to relax your mind and body. Practicing meditation regularly helps you to reduce your anxiety and stress levels.
5) Practice relaxation techniques:
Listening to music, massage, reading a book, and other relaxation techniques relax your mind and body. It may help you to cope up with stress and reduces anxiety.
6) Reduce the intake of coffee, alcohol, and tobacco:
Excess intake of caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol can increase the symptoms of anxiety or trigger anxiety neurosis.
7) Exercise regularly:
Regular exercises may increase the secretion of serotonin (happiness hormone) which improves your mood reduce anxiety and stress level.
8) Eat a healthy and balanced diet:
Eating healthy, nutritious balanced diet helps manage anxiety disorder along with proper medicines, exercises, and other relaxation techniques. Include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and adequate fluids in your diet.
9) Psychotherapy or counseling:
Psychotherapy, counseling, behavioral therapy, and relaxation techniques under the guidance of an expert may help in managing anxiety disorders along with the homeopathic treatment.
Conventional Treatment For Anxiety Neurosis:
Usually, conventional treatment for anxiety disorders consists of anti-anxiety medicines or anxiolytics, Anti-depressant medicines, sleeping pills, etc. Commonly prescribed medicines are serotonin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, benzodiazepines, ketamine, tricyclic antidepressants, etc. Antidepressants or anxiolytics block the emotional responses and control the anxiety response. There are many side-effects of these medicines. One of the common side-effects of these medicines is a dependency on them.
Our Experience In Treating Anxiety Neurosis At Life Force:
Dr. Rajesh Shah has been treating different types of anxiety disorder since the last more than 30 years from over 180 countries. Along with that for various chronic diseases, he formulated a strategic treatment protocol for different types of anxiety disorders.
As anxiety disorders affect the psychology of the person, while treating these diseases individualized case study plays a very important role. The homeopathic prescription is based on the same principle. Homeopathic case-taking understands the patient’s psyche and body together while selecting the medicine, and hence it treats the disease at a deeper level and gives a long-lasting relief in anxiety neurosis.
As per our experience in treating different cases at Life Force, homeopathy is highly effective, safe, and produces long-lasting effects. Homeopathic medicines are non-habit-forming. Anxiety disorders affect the quality of life of the patient. Going for homeopathic medicines provide a sense of well-being and improve the quality of life significantly. Homeopathy is life-changing to many patients when it is taken under the guidance of experienced and expert homeopath.