Natural Remedies for Anxiety, Depression, and Panic Attacks in Adults and Children
Anxiety, depression and panic attacks are very common mental disorders in today’s world and they have impact on the moods and feelings of the affected persons. These disorders can be very unpleasant and people who experience them sometimes find it difficult to tell anyone about their condition. It is important to note that these disorders can be diagnosed and treated and they are different from the feeling of stress, fear or sadness.
Before we get started, let’s take a brief look at the individual conditions.
Anxiety is a state of mental disturbance, fear, or worry about an uncertain thing. This feeling is usually normal but it becomes a medical disorder when this feeling becomes too regular and inappropriate.
According to WHO, anxiety disorder refers to a group of mental disorders characterized by feeling of anxiety or fear. This feeling can increase the blood pressure if not handled properly. In 2015, there were 264 million people estimated to have been living with this disorder in the world (this was about 3.6% of the world population) from which the African region had 10% which is about 25.91 million people.
This is mental disorder that occurs as unhappiness which lasts for several weeks. Its victims generally battle with low moods; low self-esteem and they also have a loss of interest in day to day activities. This disorder can be long lasting or reoccurring and it can hinder the general performance of the affected person. Most severe depression can lead to suicide. Depression is a very common disorder and there are more than 1.5 million cases in Nigeria per year. This condition too is diagnosable and treatable.
A panic attack is an unexpected session of intense fear which can cause the body to react in different ways. It is often accompanied with symptoms like trembling or shaking, a feeling of shortness of breath, choking, discomfort in the chest, cold or hot flashes, etc. This attack can be really scary but it is not a life-threatening condition and it can be treated. This condition can occur when the victim is calm or afraid and its symptoms can reach its peak of intensity before 10 minutes before it starts subsiding.
Natural remedies for panic attacks
As a victim of panic attack, you can help yourself by:
Taking deep breaths
This can bring a panic attack under control. Breathe deeply and slowly from your abdomen to fill your lungs slowly with air.
Lavender essential oil can make patients for panic attacks feel relaxed. It is advised that you rub some drops of this oil on your hands and inhale during the attack.
Undergoing some light exercises can reduce panic attacks as it will help in the release of body relaxing hormones.
Herbs for anxiety and depression
- Ashwagandha: this herb helps the body to stably respond to stress hence it is used in the treatment of anxiety. Research has shown that ashwaganda destroys free radicals and help to enhance focus, help reduce fatigue and treat anxiety without the side effects of the conventional therapy.
- Gingseng: this herb has been used for thousands of years as a Chinese medicine for reducing stress and boosting energy. It is believed that gingseng because these properties of it can improve mood, energize and motivate those that are going through depression. Its stress reducing power also helps in relaxing those struggling with anxiety.
- Lavender oil: this essential oil has been used by many to reduce anxiety and mood swings. It has also been scientifically proven that it has the ability to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and treat depression.
- St John’s wort: This herb has been used for the herbal treatment of mental health for a long time. It is very effective in treating mild to moderate depression. It works just as good as the antidepressant drugs. This herb should not be taken alongside an antidepressant drug as it can interfere to reduce the performance of the drug or make the symptoms worse.
Natural anxiety supplements
Most anxiety and panic attacks are connected to the body’s deficiency in vitamin B6, B9 (folate or folic acid), and B12 because they are important in mood regulation. Vitamin B6 in particular is necessary for the creation of neurotransmitters like serotonin which is the happiness hormone. Taking the required amount of these vitamins can help treat the disorder. The following are good sources of vitamins B for anxiety:
- B6: fish, bread, soya beans, eggs, wholegrain cereals (like brown rice), milk, peanuts, etc., about 1.4mg is needed a day for men and 1.2mg for women between the ages of 19-64.
- B9: broccoli, chickpeas, leafy vegetables, peas, brussels sprouts, liver (not for pregnant women), etc. 200microgram(µg) of folate is needed daily by an adult.
- B12: meat, milk, cheese, salmons, eggs, etc., about 1.5mg is required daily by an adult.
This is an important component for the synthesis of serotonin. Children of ages 2-11 require an average daily intake of 13.7-15.1mg while teens (aged 12-19) need19.3mg; adult women need 20.5mg while men need 17.0-18.9mg daily. The pregnant women need 14.7mg a day.
Natural remedies for anxiety and depression
Eating balanced diet
A healthy diet goes a long way in the general well-being of the body. Eating poor foods can cause excessive weight loss or gain which may lead to an unhealthy self-image which can lead to anxiety and depression. Eating anti-inflammatory foods can help the body in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and balance your mood and response to stress. Foods rich in magnesium, vitamin B, calcium and omega-3 can help in improving anxiety symptoms.
Stop alcohol and caffeine
It has been proven by research that an excessive consumption of caffeine can induce symptoms of anxiety and panic disorder; this should be avoided by people trying to treat these disorders. Alcohol if it must be taken should be reduced to 1-3 bottles a week while coffee and black tea should be reduced to only one cup a day.
Avoid sugary foods
Refined sugar and carbohydrates can make the blood sugar level unstable and these can increase anxiety and fatigue. They can also interfere with the energy levels of the body which will in turn make the symptoms of anxiety harder to control. Processed foods should also be avoided so that the blood sugar levels can be maintained and anxiety symptoms improved.
Natural remedies for anxiety in children
Anxiety affects children too and they may not be emotionally mature enough to know what to do about it. As a parent or guardian, you can do the following to help your child overcome anxiety.
- Get closer to them so you can know what it making them afraid
- Show them a good example; drop the complains and be more appreciative about life and your child will learn too
- Get them to undergo yoga and breathing exercises, it will help them overcome whatever trauma they are facing.
- Help them express themselves through arts. Let them draw, paint, carve or do whatever it is to let go of the emotion.
Natural herbs for anxiety and panic attacks
The following herbs are powerful in the treatment of anxiety and panic attacks:
- Turmeric: this rhizome contains curcumin which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. These curcumin is effective in reducing anxiety. Turmeric can be used as a spice for food during pregnancy but it should not be exclusively taken while pregnant. This should also be avoided by people with iron deficiency.
- Kava kava: this is an amazing remedy for panic attacks. It gives a quick response to emergency cases. Some drops of the liquid extract of this herb should be added to water and taken to relieve symptoms.
- Reishi mushroom: this herb helps the body adapt to stress by toning your adrenaline glands and regulating the way you respond to stress. Take it before going to bed to enjoy a sound sleep.
Anxiety treatment without medication
Anxiety can interfere with your daily activities and earlier you send it out the door, the better. Here are some ways you can treat anxiety without having to go through the conventional treatment every other person does.
- Speak up, talk to someone you trust. Don’t keep the feeling bottled up. If you scream out loud, the frustration will go.
- Get some exercise, they raise the endorphins and serotonin levels which will help you feel better.
- Avoid caffeine, it may make you feel temporarily okay but it makes anxiety worse.
- Eat healthy; do not miss your meals. With these, your body will be well nourished and your hormones will be balanced.
- Get some rest; it will help your body heal.
Herbal teas for anxiety
Every tea has its own set of component which makes them function more or less than others. Below are some herbal teas listed out to help you fix the disorder.
The extracts of this beautiful daisy-like flower has been discovered to reduce moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety disorder. It has calming effects and it can bind to GABA receptors in the brain and this helps in inducing relaxation and sleep.
This tea is prepared by adding one teaspoons of dried or two tablespoons of fresh chamomile flower to hot water and allowed for 5-10 minutes. This tea should be drunk before going to bed.
Research has suggested that the aroma of this plant to boost mood and reduce the feelings of anxiety, frustration and fatigue. The strength of this tea has been linked to its phenolic components including rosmarinic acid and menthol.
To prepare this tea, add one teaspoon of dried or two tablespoons of fresh peppermint to every cup of water. Its leaves can also be added to boiling water and allowed to extract for 3-5 minutes and taken in the morning to boost your mood and give you a high spirit.
Research has proven that rose water aromatherapy reduced the feeling of anxiety and the smell of roses is well known for its laxative properties. This tea has been discovered to have hypnotic effects; this is why it makes falling asleep easy and also makes the sleep deep.
To make this tea, one tablespoon of rose petals should be added to eight ounce of water and boiled for 5-8 minutes. Sieve the rose petals and drink. You can add honey if you want to enhance its taste.
Lemon balm tea
This tea with its lemony fragrance is really helpful in reducing stress, anxiety, sleeplessness and fatigue. Research showed that it decrease moderate anxiety and insomnia and its effect in treating anxiety lasted up to three hours after consumption.
To prepare, add one teaspoon of dried or two tablespoons of fresh leaves and allow extracting for 5-10 minutes. It can be drunk during the day because it does not have a drowsy effect.