Anxiety, as the main symptom or panic attack, is a big problem that involves a high consumption of drugs. But it can be tackled in other ways.
“It appears in an almost violent way and when it appears I feel disconnected from reality. It is as if I am losing control in an extreme way. My heart beats very hard, I feel that I cannot catch my breath and I have the terrible feeling of that everything is coming over me”.
These are some of the sensations experienced by those who have suffered a crisis or anxiety attack, a disorder that many adults in our country suffer every year.
As they can arise in any situation, these panic attacks alarm those who experience them, because they even believe that “they are going to die”, given the intense psychosomatic symptoms that accompany them: dizziness, sweating, tachycardia, muscle tension, respiratory problems, alterations digestive or sleep.
Slow and detailed medical tests usually indicate that the person does not present any physical dysfunction, but that hardly alleviates their suffering, since one thing is what analyzes say and another what is experienced in the flesh.
Moreover, the person is usually so afraid that this unpleasant experience will happen again that their fear generates more anxiety, which increases the sensations that the crisis is lurking and generates a vicious circle from which it is difficult to get out.
ARE THERE SEVERAL TYPES OF ANXIETY?
Anxiety attacks, with their picture of psychosomatic discomfort, are perhaps the most striking disorder, but there are others in which anxiety alone is the main symptom:
- Generalized anxiety, characterized by a state of permanent anguish.
- Phobic disorder, characterized by specific or diffuse fears.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder, with intrusive and unpleasant ideas that can be accompanied by ritual acts that try to reduce the anguish of the obsession (repeatedly washing hands, checking doors and plugs.)
- Post-traumatic stress reactions, in which a painful experience continues to generate anxiety long after it has happened, because the situation was not assimilated on an emotional level.
According to the Spanish Society for the Study of Anxiety and Stress, more than 20% of the world’s population suffers from one of these problems throughout their lives.
ANXIETY: AN UNCOMFORTABLE GUEST
Specialists warn that anxiety can become severe if its symptoms are not paid attention, it is not diagnosed in time or it is not treated properly.
In fact, it is quite common for a person to carry this problem for years without being diagnosed as such, which means that two out of three affected do not receive treatment.
Anxiety is an uncomfortable guest, the more insidious the more you pretend to ignore it. If it becomes pathological, aggravates ailments such as asthma, induces addictions with which we try to forget its presence, it can be a risk factor for premature death and one of the causes of suicide.
Those who suffer from it tend to have difficulties in leading a normal life because, apart from the practical inconveniences that it generates, it is one of the most frequent reasons for sick leave.
Anxiety and depression should not be confused, but if discomfort and discouragement spread, it is possible that one disorder leads to the other.
IS THERE REALLY AN IMMINENT DANGER?
Anxiety has points in common with stress: the mind becomes alert to a possible threat and reactions of the body are activated to adapt to a hostile environment.
When our ancestors sensed the proximity of wild animals or rival clans, it is easy for their pulse to race to pump as much blood as possible or for their nervous system to become stressed. Those same reactions can be experienced today by anyone in the face of an imaginary danger or one that they believe they perceive unconsciously.
Living in a civilized environment does not suppress the sources of anxiety, it simply modifies them. Fears, challenges and uncertainties are still present in other forms.
Anxiety can have a genetic component that increases the predisposition to suffer it; personality and learning factors also influence it.
The current frenetic pace, with its new challenges and challenges, or traumatic experiences (a personal or job loss.) are usually its most common reasons. Situations with threatening outcomes for the person can also cause anxiety: having an exam, traveling by plane, being the victim of a robbery.
Even a daily situation can generate anxiety (trying to fall asleep, work, study), if the person thinks that they can have serious consequences for their interests.
“The more threatening the expected effects and the fewer resources the person has to face the situation, the greater the anxiety reaction, “explains Antonio Cano-Vindel, doctor of psychology and president of SEAS (Spanish Society for the Study of Anxiety and Stress), who also clarifies that: “there is both fear of the bear and anxiety about speaking in public. This indicates that anxiety is associated with an uncertain danger, but not that life is at stake, no matter how much fear it is. Can be felt”.
THE THREE BASIC FEARS
The homeopathy has a very useful approach to address anxiety and can be one of the most effective drugs against this disorder.
According to a homeopathic doctor, “anxiety arises from the mere fact that we exist and are aware that we age and decay, just like everything that surrounds us, and that creates fear in us. Death, disease and provision (“I have to earn money to live”) are three basic fears today and triggers, in many cases, of anxiety”.
“On the other hand, we are so far removed from the spirit – which is precisely what protects man against death and against change – that life far from that leads us to suffocation”.
The most common is that the person who goes to the homeopath’s office has been taking anxiolytics for a long time, which does not prevent starting a homeopathic treatment.
“As it improves, anxiolytics can be gradually withdrawn, never abruptly, due to possible reactions derived from physical and psychological dependence,” says a homeopathic doctor.
To treat anxiety, the homeopath always values ”how the person reacts, with their own somatizations and characteristics , but also the particular way that each individual has to experience anxiety, their personal way of feeling what happens to them and the meaning that grants.
And based on these aspects, and not only on the symptoms, a homeopathic medicine or another is prescribed and the dose is established.
HOW DOES HOMEOPATHY WORK IN CASES OF FEAR AND ANXIETY?
After a first level of healing, which can take place already during the first interview, in which an attempt is made to understand the causes and circumstances of what happens to the patient and is allowed to express himself, the homeopathic medicine acts as a lever that activates the healing process by bringing out the root of the disease.
Through the remedy closest to the individual’s personality and situation, unconscious information is mobilized and the relationship with the environment improves.
The symptoms are alleviated, the person is able to manage the situations that previously caused anxiety and feels that he is himself again, having also broadened his life perspective.
“Homeopathy does not modify anything that the person does not want to change, but it helps one feel how they want to become”, explain by researcher.
The treatment must be maintained for the necessary time, always depending on the evolution of the patient. If the prescribed medication is effective, it will be kept as an underlying curative treatment.
In the case of crises, the fact that they are less and less intense and more widely spaced will indicate that the evolution is good.
The homeopath will prescribe a remedy based on the particular way each person has to experience anxiety. Some widely used drugs today are:
- Arsenicum Album. Anxiety with fear of suffering from many diseases. Great internal restlessness, the anguish leads the person to go from one place to another. It becomes greedy and cautious. Feel being watched. She is tired of living.
- Aconitum Napelus. Anxiety also manifests itself with fears, such as sensing the moment of one’s own death. Fear in closed places, thoughts about death and agony. Great sensitivity to noise and pain.
- Argentum Nitricum. The anxious state is usually caused by negative anticipation of events. You always live in a hurry to be on time. Feel indifferent when in company. Great stubbornness. The person is sad and taciturn.
- Calcarea Carbonica. You feel great anxiety about the future, and a hypochondriac anxiety that can drive you to read medical books and websites. Great mental confusion, bulimia. He is overly concerned with religious subjects and is very sensitive when he hears cruelty.
- Natrium Muriaticum. There is a pain that is lived in silence, like the death of a loved one. He always has it in mind. He cannot cry despite his sadness. Symptoms get worse with comfort.
- Lycopodium Clavatum. Anxiety about health, at home and outdoors. Alterations by anticipation and by contradiction. Lack of character. Difficulty in concentration. Typing errors (omits letters). Dictatorial. Longing for power.
- Phosphorus. Palpitations with anguish. Hypochondriac anxiety. Fear of death, of storms, that something might happen. Indifference towards loved ones, relationships. Increased sexual desire.
CAN ANXIETY BE TREATED WITH ACUPUNCTURE?
To restore the internal balance of the body, traditional Chinese medicine acts on the flow of energy (chi) that circulates through the body and that, in anxiety disorders, can be affected at the level of several organs.
The liver is usually the most common. “Chinese medicine attributes mental planning, responsibility for dreams and courage,” explains Daniel Mené, doctor and acupuncture specialist. Hence, nightmares, frustration, uncertainty about the future or the inability to express feelings affect you. ”
Other common sources of anxiety, such as sadness, grief and unfulfilled desires, according to Chinese medicine are related to the lungs and the heart, which would explain symptoms such as rapid breathing and palpitations that are so common in anxiety attacks.
Obsessive ideas and worries affect the spleen and stomach, causing digestive problems and, above all, bloating. The kidney, for its part, is related to fear, a characteristic emotion of anxiety.
The acupuncturist’s task is to find out which organ is most associated with the manifestation of anxiety in a particular person. Normalizing the energy of that organ will be more effective than regulating another one that is also altered but that plays a secondary role.
After an interview with the patient to know the symptoms that he presents, the examination begins. Taking the pulse and observing the tongue provide information on areas where there may be an excess or deficiency of energy.
It will then be time to proceed with acupuncture treatment. “In three or four weeks, positive results are usually achieved, although in chronic anxiety states subsequent maintenance sessions are recommended”.
Acupuncture is a quick-acting technique that most turn to after not getting results with drugs, although some people may need them at first.
After the treatment, “the person is able to face the situation that causes his anxiety and live it without fear because that organ has been strengthened”, he comments.
THE RELAXATION PILL
Despite the results achieved by this type of therapy, people who, after an anxiety attack, seek relief in drugs, the mainstay of conventional treatment, predominate, since they allow them to stay “safe” and prevent it from recurring.
The first-line treatment in this case are antidepressants, which, although they do not create addiction, take weeks to take effect; but benzodiazepines are also used, which do have immediate action.
“In general, a prolonged treatment of at least six months is advisable, although it will be the specialist who will assess the need to continue it,” says Dr. Pilar Lopez Garcia, psychiatrist at the University Clinic of Navarra.
However, the excessive intake of anxiolytics is a cause for concern due to the possibilities of addiction, especially benzodiazepines, and other side effects derived from prolonged or inappropriate use.
“Many people cling to drugs like a burning nail and then do not let go even if they burn,” says Antonio Cano-Vindel, who warns that there are those who are content to live with attenuated anxiety symptoms, which reduces their quality of life.
Therefore, he insists on the need to focus more on thought and less on chemistry, especially when observing how tranquilizers have become the second most consumed type of drug in Spain, behind antiulcer drugs, with the aggravation that many people already turn to them without going through a consultation.
THE FUNDAMENTAL ROLE OF PSYCHOLOGY
Psychologists consider that the origin of anxiety is not so much physical as mental, for this reason they propose to be aware of the more or less hidden reasons that cause this state and provide the person with the tools to deal with it.
The easiest reaction to combat the problem is to avoid everything that causes anxiety, because that gives a sense of control, but in practice this behavior feeds the disorder and makes the person more vulnerable. The objective is therefore not to avoid airplanes – if one day you suffered an anxiety attack while flying – but to gradually approach them.
Among the most effective psychological techniques are relaxation (physical and mental) and psychotherapy aimed at learning useful strategies for anxiety control.
Although psychiatry considers that psychological treatment is effective once control of symptoms has been achieved through medication, psychologist Cano-Vindel affirms that “if you start taking drugs it will be difficult to replace them with self-control“.
He also explains that the application of psychological techniques lasts a few months (between 4 and 12 depending on the case), after which they will have learned to control the anxiety and it will have disappeared. In obsessive-compulsive disorder, yes, “it takes more time and sometimes total improvement is not achieved.”
One of the techniques proposed is the so-called “exposure therapy”, in which the person is repeatedly exposed to the factor that triggers the anxiety, until little by little he is relieved by the familiarity he acquires with the situation, which is called habituation. It is a complementary therapy that helps a very high percentage of people if it is practiced properly.
It is not about canceling anxiety at any cost, but about giving a constructive response to its causes. Ultimately, anxiety, in its proper measure, constitutes a creative force that prompts action.
EFFECTIVE TECHNIQUES TO AVOID ANXIETY ATTACKS
Anxiety arises from oneself that is why the techniques that allow the person to see their fears from another perspective help them to gain power and objectivity.
It consists of placing the patient in an induced artificial state close to physiological sleep, which is accessed through relaxation techniques.
The mind remains awake through the unconscious and disconnects almost completely from its more rational part.
With visualization exercises, insofar as the therapist deems it useful, deep memory is accessed, where the introduced suggestions are deposited. Thus negative behaviors can be modified, and generate and release mental resources that the person even ignores having.
Afterwards, you can work with exercises to encourage self-esteem or self- control.
This psychotherapeutic method, which stands for “eye movement desensitization and reprocessing,” is effective in quickly addressing anxiety disorders, especially post-traumatic stress disorder.
It requires stimulating both cerebral hemispheres with the movement of the eyes, so that it is not only possible to desensitize the person with respect to past pain but also to dispel the associated thoughts, feelings and emotions and replace them with a positive attitude.
It is a very practical tool to feed the harmony that anxiety consumes and of which there are several methods.
One that is well suited to anxious people is creative meditation: in a comfortable relaxed posture with a straight back, the focus is on the coming and going of the breath, until an image, memory or visualization appears. Positive that makes her feel good.
You stay like this for a minimum of 15 minutes to slowly return to normal consciousness.
If practiced every day, the person will have a relatively effective tool to keep anxiety under control.