While anxiety is one of the most commonly experienced mental health states, it is not always pathological. In anxiety's most basic form, it is a necessary Central Nervous System response to stress. The Sympathetic Response of “Fight or Flight” triggers a cascade of physiological events in the body that help a person escape from dangerous situations. Historically, a saber-toothed tiger appearing on the African Savannah would stir up this physical cascade of an adrenaline rush in the body, a speedily pumping heart, diverted blood toward skeletal muscles, increased visual acuity, and a paused digestive system so that the human being could avoid becoming Mr. Tiger’s next meal. These physical adaptations of anxiety, preferentially fostered survival on the planet. As society has become increasingly more modern, overt interactions with predators have decreased, rendering the benefits of anxiety less obvious. Anxiety becomes problematic when it manifests at non-stressful times or lingers as a general state that interferes with one’s day-to-day quality of life.
Symptoms of Anxiety
The symptoms of anxiety are easily recognized if one recalls what happens in a fight or flight response. Heart palpitations, overwhelming fear, racing adrenaline, shortness of breath, irritability, a sense of impending doom, depersonalization, difficulty sleeping, and muscles twitching or tightening can all be common manifestations of anxiety. Essentially, the balance between the sympathetic nervous system and the opposing parasympathetic nervous system is off and the person is continually on high alert. Quite often sleep and digestive function exhibit their own levels of irritability and edginess and physical problems like Ulcerative Colitis or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) commonly accompany anxiety conditions.
According to the NIMH (National Institute for Mental Health), the lifetime prevalence for all anxiety disorders combined is 28.8% in the U.S. In any given 12 month period, about 37% of those with anxiety disorders are receiving “minimally adequate treatment.” Most commonly, anxiety is treated with one of the benzodiazepines—a class of pharmaceutical medications with strutting brand names like Klonopin, Xanax, or Ativan. The benzos as a class, have substantial abuse potential, meaning that they tend to be addictive and also tend to be difficult to taper off. Pharmaceutical medications are not curative since they merely suppress or mask symptoms, and anxiety returns upon discontinuation. Typically, increasingly higher doses are needed over time since tolerance develops with long term usage.
Homeopathy is one of the most gentle forms of treatment. Homeopathic medicines trigger a shift in the natural healing force in the body. This healing force, referred to as the vital force, then reacts powerfully to heal the individual. The healing process is holistic, meaning that a well chosen medicine stimulates improvement in all areas of the body.
Anxiety responds well to homeopathic treatment as long as uniquely identifying, “characteristic” symptoms are found in the case and the patient is willing to give the treatment process enough time. The common symptoms of anxiety are often the least important symptoms, when it comes to identifying the best homeopathic medicine for a particular patient. The particular sorts of symptom details that are important are things like: “My anxiety is often worse at night, specifically around midnight when it wakens me from sleep with extreme restlessness and then I must get out of bed and pace the room.”
Guided imagery and meditation benefit many different mental emotional and physical health conditions, chiefly anxiety, panic attacks, and the high blood pressure that goes along with them. While there are various forms of meditation they all work by teaching the individual how to induced a peaceful, deeply relaxed state in the face of stress.