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FEAR ANXIETY AND HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES

Bartosz Dziemidowicz M.Sc. LCPH MARH

 

Abstract

In many research settings homeopathy has been shown to be a low-cost adjunct or viable alternative to the treatment of many common, acute and chronic conditions. The results of research in which homeopathy had been used as an alternative strategy for psychopharmacology treatment of anxiety and depression disorders and associated symptoms demonstrate that homeopathic treatment delivers positive and longer-term results, with reduced use of conventional medicines.

 

Fear, anxiety and the change.

Since last year the world is going through a significant change and nothing is left as we used to know it. We all have to deal with the crisis, but more and more people are overwhelmed and struggling to cope with the consequences of that change - loss of family members, unemployment, inability to adapt to new situations, isolation, poverty, fear, anxiety and depression. The number of people who experience difficulty getting help in addressing those issues is growing rapidly. 

We all experience fear and anxiety from time to time. It is an integral part of the human experience. Under normal circumstances, anxiety is important to our survival. It has, to a certain degree, an adaptive role helping us to improve and perform better in stressful situations. However, anxiety that occurs frequently, at inappropriate times or that its intensity and duration are excessive is dysfunctional, as it prevents the normal functioning of a person. Anxiety disorders are the most frequent of all mental disorders affecting one third of the population. Women are more often affected by anxiety disorders than men and the prevalence of anxiety disorders is highest during midlife. [1]

Fear is an emotional response to something we perceived as an imminent threat. Anxiety on the other hand is a state of distress, nervousness and uneasiness. It is the anticipation of future threat. Anxiety apart from having anticipatory character, when we expect something to happen can also persist after the danger has passed or it can also occur without any identifiable cause. Fear and anxiety are accompanied by physical symptoms like breathing difficulties, dizziness, sweating, tremor, rapid heartbeat, insomnia or changes in the behaviour for example avoiding certain places or situations. Fight or flight response and escape behaviour are more often associated with fear, while muscular tension, vigilance and cautious avoidance of threat are predominant in anxiety disorders. [2]

There can be many causes of anxiety. Different mental, emotional and physical factors can lead to the development of anxiety disorders, although its exact etiology is not known.  In many cases, anxiety can develop as a response to a threat or a stressful situation like the death of a family member or loss of a job. Anxiety is a part of the clinical picture of a wide range of ailments but it is considered a predominant feature of some physical and mental disorders. Various medical conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, overactive thyroid and irritable bowel syndrome or heart arrhythmias can cause anxiety. [3] 

Substance intoxication or withdrawal of certain medications for example: corticosteroids [4], sedatives, recreational drugs, caffeine or alcohol can lead to the development of anxiety disorders. [5] The intensity of anxiety, how it develops and how long it lasts all vary from person to person, and so is the ability to tolerate it. Anxiety disorders can lead to the development of depression and vice versa, but very often in clinical practice, those two conditions coexist. [6] Treatment of anxiety disorders usually consists of pharmacotherapy alone or combined with psychotherapy. [7] 

Homeopathic treatment of anxiety and depression disorders.

It is important to be aware of alternatives to standard pharmacology treatment and be able to use some simple self help tools, which can bring relief and improve the quality of life. Presented here are the results of research investigating the efficacy of homeopathy in the treatment of anxiety and depression disorders together with the description of some most commonly selected homeopathic remedies and Bach flower essences used to address those problems. In many research settings homeopathy has been shown to be a low-cost adjunct or viable alternative to the treatment of many common, acute and chronic conditions. The results of research in which homeopathy had been used as an alternative strategy for psychopharmacology treatment of anxiety and depression disorders and associated symptoms demonstrate that homeopathic treatment delivers positive and longer-term results, with reduced use of conventional medicines.

The study conducted in Germany points out that homeopathic formulations are a popular choice among people using over the counter medication (OTC) to help with depression, anxiety, agitation and sleep disorders. The study also reports that one in four patients prefers to use OTC formulas than conventional medication. [8] Patients who use homeopathy in the the treatment of anxiety and depression disorders use less psychotropic drugs and have a better chance to improve compared to patients relying solely on conventional medicines. [9] 

Those findings have been confirmed by another research focused on the treatment of anxiety and depression disorders in elderly patients. The study was conducted on a specific age group of patients of 65 years or older. After twelve months of homeopathic treatment elderly patients noticed more improvement and reported reduced use of benzodiazepines and psychotropic drugs compared to the control group, which was only using pharmacologic treatment. [10]

Patients suffering from affective and anxiety disorders i.e. depression, social phobia, or panic disorder, who responded poorly to conventional pharmacotherapy reported homeopathic treatment being useful and an effective treatment method. [11]

The study investigating the efficacy of homeopathy in hospital emergency and intensive care ward reported homeopathy bringing improvement and offering successful treatment in more than sixty percent of the cases where anxiety and pain were treated. Homeopathy appeared to be effective in the conventional hospital setting, treating critically ill patients and multiple casualty incidents. [12]

Homeopathic and Bach Flower remedies for anxiety.  

Aconitum Napellus

The anxiety of Aconite is very intense. It appears and disappears suddenly. A person becomes extremely nervous, agitated and very restless. There is a fear of accident, suffocation and death. The anxiety of Aconite is characterised by rapid heartbeat, palpitations, shortness of breath, paleness alternating with flushing of the face. It is the state of a sudden, immense panic with great restlessness. The panic can be triggered by any, even a very trivial reason. Aconite’s mood can be changing very rapidly and alternating between opposites. Anxiety or acute sadness can be quickly replaced by cheerful excitement. Aconite’s sleep is also affected by anxiety. It is restless with lots of tossing, turning and talking in sleep. 

Arsenicum Album

The fear of Arsenicum originates from perceiving the surrounding world as dangerous, chaotic and full of threat. The person feels isolated, lonely and dependent 

on others. There is a deep feeling of insecurity and fear caused by the sensation of being weak, dependant, defenceless and therefore being exposed to exploitation. Because of this person will be very anxious and suspicious. Arsenicum will act with extreme caution, otherwise, he may lose everything. Fear and extreme caution make the person restless, conscientious and deeply anxious about their health, and extremely concerned with order and security.

Argentum Nitricum

People, who can benefit from using Argentum Nitricum, are concerned about their performance in difficult situations or at the time of crisis. There is a feeling of isolation, being left alone in the struggle with no help from outside and a desperate need to find the way out of the situation. The need of being in control is extremely important. Lacking control over the situation, feeling of being trapped and unable to find the way out of the situation makes the person extremely nervous and prone to taking sudden and impulsive action. Argentum Nitricum is full of anticipation, apprehension and fear which makes him agitated and hurried. There may be a fear of heights or flying, a feeling of intense oppression and claustrophobia. When there is nothing more that can be done in a particular situation, a person, as a result, can become slow, dull and unresponsive.

Ignatia

Ignatia can help with worry, anxiety and depression, which follows the experience of acute grief, loss, shock and bereavement. There is a sense of intense grief following the loss of somebody or something very dear to them. A person needing Ignatia is very sensitive and prone to intense mood swings. There are rapid changes between opposite states of mind. Laughter alternates with bursts of tears, sobbing and frequent deep sighs. The Ignatia person may laugh when there is a need to be serious. When Ignatia is disturbed any consolation will only aggravate their anxiety, they don’t tolerate contradiction or reprimand. The person may experience Globus syndrome – a sensation of something stuck in the throat. 

Aspen

Aspen can help with sleeping problems and insomnia caused by haunting nightmares. It is also beneficial in case of panic attacks occurring without any apparent reason. There is anxiety about death. Anxiety attack may be accompanied by shaking and trembling. Aspen’s mind is very receptive, easily influenced and impressed by superstitions, ghost stories and omens. Aspen may develop ritualistic behaviour to establish a sense of protection against haunting anxiety and insomnia.

Mimulus

Mimulus is very helpful in case of anticipatory fears and anxiety of a known origin. There is something specific: an object, person, or situation easily identified as a cause of fear, which the person will try to avoid. Mimulus can help with fear of death, of poverty, of accidents, of loneliness. Fear and anxiety of Mimulus can be accompanied by digestive disturbances, frequent loose stool, intestinal pains and chronic diarrhoeas of emotional origin as well as skin problems: urticaria and atopic dermatitis. Mimulus can help chronically shy and nervous people to overcome social anxiety and phobias.

Rock Rose

Rock Rose helps with the state of acute anxiety, intense fear and panic, a "fight or flight" response and post-traumatic stress disorder. Fear of Rock Rose is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, fainting, accelerated heart rate and shortness of breath. Rock Rose helps with symptoms of an exhausted nervous system and nervous breakdown. The prolonged state of fear can cause frequent nightmares or chronic loss of sleep.

Cherry Plum 

Cherry plum can help in situations of extreme nervousness when overwhelming stress creates anintense fear of losing control and sudden mental breakdown. Cherry plum can be used in case of long-term mental strain exhausting nervous system. When the mind is getting closer to the breaking point building up tension in the body can be expressed by nervous gestures, twitches or unpredictable outbursts of rage.

References:

1. Bandelow B, Michaelis S. Epidemiology of anxiety disorders in the 21st century. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2015;17(3):327‐335.

2. Hamm, AO. Fear, anxiety, and their disorders from the perspective of psychophysiology. Psychophysiology. 2020; 57:e13474. 

3. Sartorius N, Holt RIG, Maj M (eds): Comorbidity of Mental and Physical Disorders. Key Issues Ment Health. Basel, Karger, 2015, vol 179, pp 81-87. 

4. Korte SM. Corticosteroids in relation to fear, anxiety and psychopathology. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2001 Mar;25(2):117-42. 

5. Brady KT, Haynes LF, Hartwell KJ, Killeen TK. Substance use disorders and anxiety: a treatment challenge for social workers. Soc Work Public Health. 2013;28(3-4):407‐423. 

6. Hirschfeld RM. The Comorbidity of Major Depression and Anxiety Disorders: Recognition and Management in Primary Care. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2001;3(6):244‐254. 

7. Bandelow B, Michaelis S, Wedekind D. Treatment of anxiety disorders. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2017;19(2):93‐107.

8. Hamann J, Linde K, Schweiger HD, Kusmakow O, Förstl H. Over-the-counter-drugs for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders--the views of German pharmacists. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2014;47(3):84‐88.

9. Grimaldi-Bensouda L, Abenhaim L, Massol J, et al. Homeopathic medical practice for anxiety and depression in primary care: the EPI3 cohort study. BMC Complement Altern Med 16, 125 (2016).

10. Danno K, Duru G, Vetel JM. Management of Anxiety and Depressive Disorders in Patients ≥ 65 Years of Age by Homeopath General Practitioners versus Conventional General Practitioners, with Overview of the EPI3-LASER Study Results. Homeopathy. 2018;107(2):81‐89.

11. Davidson JR, Morrison RM, Shore J, Davidson RT, Bedayn G. Homeopathic treatment of depression and anxiety. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 1997 Jan;3(1):46-49.

12.Oberbaum M, Singer SR, Friehs H, Frass M. Homeopathy in emergency medicine. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2005;155(21-22):491‐497. 

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