It’s natural, and indeed necessary, to feel fearful in certain situations. If you see somebody approaching you with a knife and an angry look on their face, fear floods your body with chemicals that can help you react more quickly or run faster. This is known as the “fight or flight” response. But when your body acts in the same way in less dangerous situations, or even with no apparent reason, there is a problem. You are suffering from anxiety. And as many of the triggers for anxiety occur in the home or work, you can’t easily run away from them.
Anxiety can take many forms. You can be anxious about an up-coming event or about meeting specific types of people. You might be anxious about your health, or the health and well-being of your family. There might be certain situations that make you fearful and anxious, such as crowds or being up high. Sometimes people can feel great anxiety without knowing exactly what they are anxious about.
Conventional Treatment for Anxiety
Although some doctors will give patients the option of receiving psychotherapy, most will simply prescribe drugs. Amongst the most common drugs for anxiety are:
- Benzodiazepines – including Ativan (lorazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Valium (diazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam). These tranquilizers are generally intended for short-term use, because they are highly addictive and can have serious side effects. Studies show that cases of anxiety or depression can worsen and even become “untreatable” through taking benzodiazepines. And because the drugs are addictive, coming off them can be a very distressing experience.
- SSRI Antidepressants – including Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro (escitalopram), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline). Once again, these drugs can have a range of side effects, including muscle weakness, weight gain, diarrhoea, dizziness and sexual dysfunction. The drugs are often prescribed for long periods. When patients eventually try to come off the drugs they can feel extremely tired, irritable and anxious.
Other drugs that can be given are tricyclics and MAOIs. These older drugs are used less frequently these days because the side effects can be even worse than those associated with benzodiazepines and SSRIs.
Homeopathy Treatment and Anxiety
As homeopathy is a holistic therapy, there are no homeopathic tranquilizers or antidepressants. Homeopathy deals with the patient as a complete person. Therefore the choice of remedy, and the potency (strength) of the medicine depends on the patient’s personality, the way the mental illness shows itself and what actually triggers the anxiety. Here are just three of the many remedies that can help. Information about some others is given in my blog.
- Arsenicum album – this remedy can be useful for people who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. They are often excessive in their need to keep their homes and/or workspaces clean and tidy. They can become very upset or angry if somebody puts their belongings in the wrong place or the wrong order. Because they have a great fear of infection, they wash their hands frequently.
- Phosphorous – people who need Phosphorous are extremely sensitive. They are very sympathetic and other people turn to them when they need somebody to talk to. But their sensitivity leads them to absorb all the worries and anxieties of people around them. The more they hear, or read, about tragic events, the more unsettled they become. They begin to worry that the same events will happen to them. When they know that somebody has fallen ill, they become convinced that they have the same disease.
- Argentum nitricum – this remedy can work well for people who have many fears and anxieties. They may fear small spaces (claustrophobia) or be afraid to go into shopping centres, buses or trains or even to leave their home at all (agoraphobia). Argentum nitricum is also useful for obsessive compulsive behaviour, where the person feels that if they do not do things in a certain order, something terrible will happen.