Anxiety can strike at any age and appears to affect twice as many women as men.
We all experience the feelings of nervousness, dread or apprehension – and most of the time these feelings are a perfectly normal response to stress. However, anxiety may manifest itself in a variety of physical symptoms, including: chest pains, chills, clamminess, dizziness, difficulty breathing, excessive sweating, fainting, hot flashes, insomnia, intestinal distress (diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps) and a pounding heartbeat.
In addition to the physical symptoms, one experiencing a panic attack typically feels an overwhelming sense of terror. A panic attack is an instance in which the body’s natural “fight or flight” reaction occurs at the wrong time. The physical and emotional symptoms are so terrifying that those who experience panic attacks often are convinced they are having a heart attack.
Panic attacks are unpredictable. Fears caused by the anticipation of a panic attack only adds to the level of anxiety which interferes with normal everyday living and lives being abnormally limited.
Because anxiety disorders tend to run in families, there may well be a genetic component. There is considerable debate about the causes of panic attacks, many experts believe that a neuro-chemical imbalance can trigger both anxiety disorders and depression. (Those prone to depression also tend to experience panic attacks.)
Although prescription medicine and psychological treatments can be helpful in managing anxiety, natural remedies also can be helpful.
Calcium and magnesium have been shown to calm the nerves and reduce anxiety when taken together. Take up to 1500 milligrams of calcium and 750 milligrams of magnesium daily.
Chromium deficiency can produce nervousness, shakiness and other general symptoms of anxiety. Take 200 micrograms of chromium picolinate daily.
Garlic encourages the release of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps to regulate mood. High serotonin levels act like a tranquilizer to calm the nerves and relieve anxiety. Commercial products are available, follow package directions.
Selenium has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression and fatigue. Other studies have shown that taking selenium with vitamin E and other antioxidants can improve mood and increase blood flow to the brain. Take 50 micrograms of selenium daily.
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is referred to as an “anti-stress” vitamin because of its ability to relieve anxiety and depression. Take 500 milligrams daily.
Many medicinal herbs have a calming effect and are age-old remedies. These are some of the most effective.
Lemon balm is known as an all purpose soother that has the potential to relax nerves and aid sleep. Commercial products are available, follow package directions.
Passion flower is well known for treating anxiety, insomnia and stress. It contains tranquilizing substances making it an excellent nervine. Commercial products are available, follow package directions.
Skullcap has the reputation to calm people down. It tones and relaxes the nervous system and is useful for all types of anxiety; especially if your anxiety is accompanied with worry. Commercial products are available, follow package directions.
Valerian contains chemicals that have sedative actions and has an age-old use as a tranquilizer. It has been used successfully to guard against anxiety, restlessness, sleeping disorders and as a muscle relaxant. Commercial products are available, follow package directions.
Other herbs that may benefit those with anxiety include: astragalus, ashwaganda, chamomile, dong quai, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, gotu kola, lavender, and licorice.
During a panic attack, it can be difficult to determine whether or not you are experiencing a heart attack, if in doubt, seek immediate medical attention.