Homeopathy for Anxiety
It is natural to become nervous, especially when faced with a new experience or an important event such as a job interview, public performance, or wedding. Some people, however, worry constantly, often about family life, finances, or other day-to-day troubles. This unrelenting feeling of worry can cause physical and psychological symptoms and is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Homeopathic remedies can offer relief for people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder by targeting the specific circumstances that cause, and the symptoms that arise from, anxiety.
What Happens at a Session with a Homeopath?
Homeopathic remedies are chosen based on the concept of “like cures like.” This means that herbs and other natural substances that cause the same symptoms as those from which the patient suffers are diluted to infinitesimal amounts and administered to the patient. In this way, the immune system is exposed to these substances and will be better able to defend the body against illnesses with the same symptoms.
Homeopathy provides holistic treatment; it improves the well-being of the whole patient, and does not just treat the prominent symptoms. Therefore, a homeopath, or practitioner of homeopathy, often meets with a patient for a considerable amount of time during the first visit. The homeopath performs an intake that exceeds the standard medical history, including information about your diet, lifestyle, emotions, and state of mind.
Homeopathic Remedies for Anxiety
Selecting the most suitable homeopathic remedy takes into account many factors, including the circumstances of the anxiety. A qualified homeopath considers the psychological aspects of the patient’s needs.
Some common homeopathic treatments for transient anxiety include the following:
- A person who tends to avoid social situations, and who may experience claustrophobia and nighttime anxiety may be helped by the remedy Natrum muriaticum (salt), particularly if he or she tends to focus on negative feelings and insults.
- A person who sobs uncontrollably from grief is given Ignatia amara (St. Ignatius’s bean).
- A sudden shock, such as experiencing a natural disaster, is treated with Aconite napelus (monkshood).
- Performance anxiety, such as a job interview, stage performance, or examination, can be relieved by Gelsemium sempervirens (yellow jasmine). Argentum nitricum (silver nitrate) is also effective.
- A person who has experienced humiliation, anger, and who tends to hold in emotions can be helped by Staphysagria (palmated larkspur).
- Someone who has been experiencing illness due to being overworked can benefit from Kali phosphocorum (potassium phosphate).
- A person who feels a lack of confidence in front of strangers or powerful people may benefit from Lycopodium clavatum (club moss), which can relieve his or her fear of failure.
- Arnica montana (sneezewort) can help someone anxious about business troubles.
- A person who had formerly performed well at work but who becomes anxious and depressed may be helped by Aurum metallicum (gold).
For the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) sufferer, the following homeopathic treatments can be helpful:
- Ignatia amara
- Argentum nitricum
- Aconite napelus
- Arsenic album (arsenic oxide)
- Hyoscyamus (common henbane)
If you are currently taking a prescription medication, such as an antidepressant, it is important to not discontinue that medication abruptly. You should only alter the dosage of your prescription medication under the guidance of your doctor.
Pre-formulated collections of homeopathic remedies are available for persons who wish to self-treat. However, picking the correct remedy can be difficult, and will be facilitated by seeking the assistance of a professional Homeopath. Homeopathic remedies meet required standards set by the Food and Drug Administration.
Is Homeopathy Safe?
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), homeopathy remains a controversial treatment. Part of the controversy stems from the fact that some of homeopathy’s fundamental concepts do not follow the western medical understanding of treatment, nor the laws of physics and chemistry. However, homeopathic remedies, unlike herbal remedies, do not seem to have negative side effects, even at high concentrations. Many people who use homeopathic remedies do so without the guidance of a trained homeopath. While these individuals may or may not experience relief from their symptoms, there are no significant reports of injury due to the use homeopathic remedies.
What is Anxiety?
An estimated 10 million Americans suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD); it is more common in women than in men. When a person experiences a stressful situation, anxiety is part of the body’s natural response. Although symptoms of anxiety such as an accelerated heart beat, sweating, or trembling may be unpleasant, these physiological responses can actually help you get through the stressful event by sharpening your focus. Once the event passes, so does the anxiety, in most cases.
Those who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), however, feel that they can never stop worrying. They worry about friends, family, and finances, even when they have no reason to worry.
Signs of GAD include:
- Trouble concentrating
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Tense muscles
- Feeling edgy all the time
The causes of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) are not fully understood. However, genetics probably plays a role, as GAD tends to run in families. Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters (specifically serotonin and noropinephrine) also play a role. Allopathic treatment of GAD involves the use of anti-anxiety drugs (including Xanax and Ativan) or antidepressants (such as Paxil and Cymbalta). However, some of these drugs create dependency and other unwanted side effects when used for an extended period of time.
The National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine provides a page of questions and answers about homeopathy.
Ullman, Dana, M.P.H. “The Homeopathic Approach to Treating Anxiety and Depression.” Alternative and Complementary Therapies, February 2008, pp. 19–22.