Hidden just under the surface, anxiety is something we all experience. Anxiety is the experience of worry, nervousness or unease, and is typically linked to an upcoming event or something with an uncertain outcome. Education and outreach on mental health used to focus on depression but a review of 48 studies from across the world suggests that anxiety is now a much larger problem. In the past decade, anxiety has sky rocketed to epidemic proportions, especially in the United States where over 40 million people or 8 in 100 people experience unhealthy anxiety.
Xanax, Valium and Ativan are some of the benzodiazepines doctors prescribe to patients who are suffering from the effects of stress and anxiety. Sometimes anxiety is diagnosed as a depressive disorder and they prescribe selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (or SSRIs) such as Prozac, Cymbalta or Zoloft. These medications are known to stop anxiety or a panic attack within 30 to 60 minutes and generally last 11 to 20 hours. While they may at first seem like a godsend if you struggle with anxiety, there are many reasons to avoid taking them.
In Chinese medicine they say, wherever there is a ‘front’ there will also be a ‘back,’ and these drugs have a very big back. According to Hahnemann,”All medicaments produce two quite opposite states in the human body: the primary effect which manifests itself when the remedy begins to operate, and the secondary effect which appears only after the lapse of several hours, when the primary effect has ceased.” An example is how a laxative purges the bowel shortly after consuming it, but the next day constipation follows. Another example is drinking coffee that at first awakens and energizes, then later creates tiredness and lethargy. This is why the afternoon cup of coffee is so necessary for long term coffee drinkers. This is known as the secondary effect of medications so taking any medication, although providing an immediate relief, will have a bigger back so to speak.
There are still gaps in the science. Medical researchers do not know the exact mechanism by which benzodiazepines work. It is believed they raise levels of the calming neurotransmitter gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) or increase GABA receptor sensitivity. GABA deficiency is linked to depression, anxiety and PTSD, insomnia and drug and alcohol dependence so the theory that improving GABA levels would reduce these symptoms is logical. In the big picture though, the overall effect of benzodiazepines on the body is not known.
It is no secret that medications often have a long list of potential side effects and how they might affect each person can’t be predicted ahead of time. Benzodiazepines in particular are known to develop an addictive dependency. This makes these medications dangerous to stop and the person can either take them far longer than is recommended, or they have to carefully wean themselves off with medical supervision.
Also, medications are given for a disease label rather than the unique set of symptoms that represent the underlying state of the whole person. It is known that treating symptoms superficially and not treating the deeper source issues may act as a temporary palliative and does not often provide a lasting solution. It can in fact suppress the natural expression of symptoms and lead to more grave health issues in the future. A symptom is like a white flag calling for attention and support, but it is not the real disease.
Relief from overwhelming anxiety problems can come in many forms and there are many solutions that are natural. They do not need to forcefully change the brain’s chemistry and have possible side effects. Some of these include the more well-known methods such as cognitive behavioural therapy, hypnotherapy and high intensity interval training as well there are alternative methods such as meditation, dietary changes and seeing holistic practitioners. Homeopathy is one natural solution that has shown to be very effective for anxiety and stress.
Stress has emotional and physical effects directly related to the person’s response to inner and outer pressures and perceived fears or conflicts. Long-term stress can develop into anxiety and each person expresses behavioural, mental and emotional symptoms. During a homeopathic session the mental and emotional state of a person, the physical symptoms, the perception of the person towards their experience, their susceptibility, a complete family history and whatever else the person brings up are addressed and explored by the homeopath. In allowing for the whole set of symptoms to be explored, this leads to discovering the deeper experience of the person and their inner state. The homeopath will then reach a remedy choice that can help the person with the root issues that produce anxiety.
Einstein said that, ‘We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.’ Homeopathy accesses the natural principles of healing and does not rely on mental therapy to get us out of the loop of our own thinking process. A lot of the common tools and techniques such as graduated exposure therapy, slowed breathing or distraction are useful and can help manage anxiety and keep a person functional, however getting to the root issues can make real and long term change possible.
With the help of homeopathy we are able to fill in the source of both what inspires the individual and of the unhealthy state that produces disease. This is the beauty of it, the homeopathic process can help in cases of depression, anxiety and stress without causing further harm, and without or in conjunction with medications. Einstein knew what he was talking about when he said that we can only solve our problems with a different level of consciousness than where we started with it. Holistic healing approaches are one way to shift levels and see profound results.
Homeopath and Holistic Practitioner.