Anxiety disorders can seriously affect a person’s quality of life and for some, it can be completely debilitating, so it is a little wonder those coping with the condition might be willing to try anything which can alleviate their symptoms.
Most people will feel anxious at some time in their lives. Big life events, exams, speaking in public – these are all things which will, quite naturally, cause some level of anxiety. However, for people dealing with an anxiety disorder, they experience these feelings of fear and distress all the time, sometimes for no apparent reason.
Treatment will vary from person to person and will often involve a combination of therapies and medication. Along with medically approved methods of treatment, there is a range of alternative therapies available too.
Improving physical health, flexibility and strength can have positive knock-on effects for mental health too.
As well as simply diverting attention away from the thoughts and situations which cause feelings of anxiety, getting moving decreases muscle tension which can be a contributing factor in anxiety.
In addition to this, raising your heart rate increases anxiety-busting neurochemicals, or “happy hormones”.
With this in mind, exercises that connect the body and mind are thought by some to be ideal ways to combat anxiety. Yoga, for example, is both a form of physical exercise combined with a type of meditation.
Tai chi is another gentle, flowing exercise that helps increase flexibility and balance along with reducing feelings of stress. This form of “meditation in motion” promotes calmness through graceful movements.
Avoiding stimulates such as caffeine and nicotine and creating a calming atmosphere is a common aid in dealing with anxiety.
The use of essential oils such as lavender, bergamot, and lemongrass, relaxing music or sounds of nature, and low lighting can all help to create peaceful surroundings.
Meditation and deep breathing techniques can also help to slow the heart rate and bring a feeling of serenity.
Massage, either self-massage or visiting a practitioner can help relax muscles which is beneficial in similar ways to the gentle movement above.
While the best source of nutrients comes from a healthy and balanced diet, nutritional supplements can prove beneficial to those who are particularly low in some essential vitamins and minerals.
Insufficient research means there is no conclusive evidence that supplements combat anxiety, although some people have reported it has helped them personally. Some vitamins can also affect prescription medications so it’s important to seek medical advice before self-medicating.
The supplements which are thought might be especially helpful in the case of anxiety are omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D-3, probiotics, and folates.
One supplement gaining popularity for anxiety is Cannabidiol (CBD). Research is still ongoing, but it is thought it can possibly interact with receptors in the nervous system and alter serotonin signals. Low serotonin levels are commonly connected to mental health problems, including anxiety. Platinum CBD UK has more information on CBD for anxiety on their website.
When it comes to complementary therapies, it is important to remember that something which works for one person may not be suitable for another. Combining medication with other treatments can affect the medication, making it less effective or even harmful. For some, even a new exercise regime could do more harm than good.
Unlike prescription medications, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not review or approve most alternative therapies so it is important to discuss with a doctor if you are considering using one.