Of the multitudinous methods, drugs and therapies available in the market and on the internet, here are the top 10 natural ways to treat anxiety disorder. Anxiety is a subjective sense of dread, excessive fear, foreboding or unease that can be a manifestation of a primary psychiatric condition, component of another or a reaction to an underlying medical disease. Various types of anxiety disorders like panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, phobic disorder, stress disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder need to be tackled differently. But few natural methods can be used to treat all of them successfully.
Psychotherapy – Here, the patient is taught breathing exercises and then educated about the physiological changes that occur in an anxiety attack. They must then voluntarily expose themselves to the situations precipitating such an attack and try the exercises. This is done over 12-15 sessions. Slowly the time taken to bring the breathlessness etc lowers from 15-20 seconds to 2-5 seconds.
Desensitization Therapy – In this simple to follow therapy, hierarchies of the feared situation are presented and the patient is encouraged to master them. This gradual exposure helps build self confidence in dealing with the situation even while alone.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – This therapy helps you identify the self destructive symptoms and negative thinking patterns that you develop in a panic attack situation and deal with them.
Breathing Techniques – Take a deep breath over 5 counts. Hold it for 5 counts. Exhale slowly over another 5 counts. Take a pause of 5 counts before the next round of inhalation and exhalation. Do this for at least 2-3 minutes twice or thrice a day. You will notice a reduction in your heart rate, respiratory rate and find your muscles relaxing. Slowly you will find your symptoms lessening in frequency and intensity. This technique does miracles in stopping an attack when done during it.
Yoga – Yoga is the ancient Indian method to relax tensed muscles and to ease the brain and heart. Yoga consists of sets of various body postures that stretch and strengthen various groups of muscles. It should be practiced early morning ideally in a lawn, garden etc or any place quiet. Practicing yoga on a regular basis is known to alleviate anxiety disorders and psychosomatic disorders like primary hypertension too.
Meditation – It involves clearing out the mind of all thoughts and focusing on your breath or a source of light. It helps calming the mind and relieving anxiety. Ideally it should be done in a quiet dark room, but in times of crisis it can be done absolutely anywhere. It requires nothing other than a desire to overcome your situation.
Sharing – Talking to a close friend or family about what disturbs you is one of the best of these 10 natural ways to treat anxiety disorder. They will offer you another perspective to the situation which might relieve your fear forever. Group discussions or individual sessions with a therapist do the same. Talking about the problem helps realize its futility and gives the strength to do what must be done.
Picking up a hobby – Taking up a hobby or some creative pursuit like painting, sewing, gardening or participating in a physical sport helps distress. It helps you spend more time doing things you enjoy than in dealing with things that produce anxiety. Also, sports increase metabolism and levels of adrenaline which is the primary hormone required to deal with fear.
Diet Alterations – Correcting certain aspects of the diet can help minimize anxiety attacks naturally. Eating a healthy diet free of alcohol and minimal caffeine, refined sugar, low in preservatives and processed foods is a good start. Including more of walnuts, salmon, nuts and flaxseeds that are well known mood elevators is taking it a step further towards treating your anxiety. Having beans, fresh dark green vegetables that are high in folic acid further enhances your chances of getting rid of the panic attacks. Roseroots, ginkgo biloba, valerian, St. John’s Wort are all known to help treat anxiety.
Aromatherapy – Using various aromas like lavender, jasmine, sandalwood etc help sooth the agitated nerves and relieve the tension in muscles.
These 10 natural ways to treat anxiety disorder will definitely help you control the desire to flee in feared situations and help you deal with them in a more rational and scientific way.
– Dr. Rachita Narsaria