Natural treatments for anxiety such as meditation and hypnotherapy are gaining in popularity amongst sufferers of common stress as well as more serious anxiety disorders.
While drugs and supplements can promise some effectiveness in treating anxiety, holistic methods can help you to make an overall reduction in stress through long-term lifestyle changes.
Even for those severely stricken with anxiety, remedies such as Xanax and Buspar are meant to treat the symptoms of anxiety, not address the root causes. Xanax and other anti-anxiety treatments can also have serious side effects including hallucinations, rashes, mouth sores, yellowing of the skin, dry mouth and headache. In addition, anti-stress medication can cause serious addiction and withdrawal symptoms if the dosage is decreased suddenly.
Various natural supplements such as ginseng and valerian have been used successfully as anxiety treatments. For example, ginseng has been shown to have positive effects on anxiety, in addition to cardiovascular health, menopause, physical endurance and diabetes. However, once the substance is no longer ingested, the beneficial effects slowly dissipate. Like prescription drugs, natural supplements fail to address underlying triggers behind anxiety and stress.
It is interesting to note that doctors are increasingly turning to natural treatments for anxiety, in addition to more traditional methods. Studies are beginning to show the physiological effects which occur in the body during holistic practices such as meditation and hypnotherapy. For example, during Transcendental Meditation, a style of meditation founded in the 1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, mental activity is slowed while alertness and clarity remain. Actual physiological changes include slowing of the metabolic rate, increased cerebral blood flow and changes in muscle resistance.
The changes are a direct reaction to physiological changes induced by heightened and continued stress. After Transcendental Meditation, the patient reports feeling relaxed, happy and better able to function both personally and professionally.
Hypnotherapy is another natural treatment for anxiety that is increasingly beginning to be accepted as valid in the medical community. Through guided imagery and positive associations, the patient works with the hypnotist to recognize underlying triggers and causes behind anxiety-ridden behaviour. Hypnotherapy has also showed promising success in treating addictive behaviours such as drinking, overeating, smoking and drug use. What makes hypnotherapy so effective is that it cuts directly to the unconscious mind, where fears and phobias are housed. There are also physiological effects which occur during hypnotherapy (lessening of the heart rate, reduction of the stress inducing hormone cortisol etc.) which lessen overall anxiety and stress.
Drugs and supplements can be an instant fix for anxiety and stress and do promise a certain amount of effectiveness and relief. In fact, doctors may prescribe medication as a means of getting some of the more immediate symptoms under control. However, if you are suffering from an anxiety disorder or a heightened stress level, be sure to inquire about natural treatments for anxiety such as meditation and hypnotherapy.
A holistic approach, addressing both lifestyle and physical symptoms, can be a more effective treatment for anxiety than conventional methods.