What Are Anxiety Alternative Therapies?
If you are experiencing anxiety or have an anxiety
disorder, you may want to try alternative therapies. The basic goal of
alternative therapy is to improve your general health and relieve specific
symptoms with few or no side effects.
Alternative therapies can be helpful in reducing anxiety,
but it may take some time before you see results. If you are having a panic
attack or other severe symptoms of anxiety, alternative therapy alone will
probably not be enough. Alternative therapies often work best when used along
with traditional treatment like medication and counseling. It’s always best to
consult your doctor before beginning an alternative treatment program,
especially one that includes herbal remedies. Some of these can have serious side
effects, and some can be harmful if combined with certain prescription medications.
Here are some alternative treatments that can help with
Eat a Balanced Diet
It’s important to maintain a balanced diet whether or not you
are experiencing anxiety. Your body runs better when it has the proper fuel.
Try to eat a wide variety of fresh, whole foods every day. Avoid processed or fast
food and limit your intake of sweets. Eating healthy food makes you feel
better. Eating unhealthy food adds stress to your body. This makes you less
able to handle the other stresses in your life.
Drink More Water
Seventy percent of the body’s weight is water. Water is
the essential component of a healthy body and mind, and we often don’t get
enough of it. Drinking eight large glasses of water a day helps your body
perform properly, especially under stress.
Limit Your Caffeine
That morning cup of coffee might help you get out of bed,
but too much can give you the jitters and decrease your ability to handle
Avoid Alcohol and Nicotine
Some people use alcohol and nicotine to relieve their symptoms of
anxiety. This relief is only temporary. In fact, alcohol and nicotine can
actually make symptoms of anxiety worse and frequent, long-term use of both
substances can lead to addiction and serious health complications later on.
Get Regular Exercise
Regular exercise is good for everything, especially
relieving stress. Cardiovascular exercise has been shown to help lower stress
levels and anxiety, and improve the immune system. Cardiovascular exercise
means getting your heart rate up for 30 minutes.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Lack of sleep can increase negative thoughts. Try to get at least
seven to nine hours of quality sleep every night.
Massage Your Muscles
Muscles can store stress. Massage therapy helps relieve
muscle tension and promote blood flow to key areas of the body to release
built-up stress and anxiety.
Take Time to Meditate
Taking time to clear your head can do wonders. Meditation
doesn’t change the world around you, but it can change the way you respond to
it. Stress can cause disdain, distrust, and anxiety. Successful meditation can
help you better understand the source of your anxiety and possibly overcome it.
Other Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation may help in the treatment of phobias and panic disorder. Muscle relaxation and mental visualization can help you
focus your attention on a calming feeling. Breathing techniques can help you learn to control your
breathing so you don’t hyperventilate during a panic attack or other
anxiety-producing event. This can help to keep you calm. Biofeedback can help you learn to
recognize and control the physical signs of anxiety, which in turn helps to
relieve the anxiety. Yoga
combines breathing techniques, meditation, and stretching through its advvaphysical
postures. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), yoga is one of the top 10 complementary and alternative practices
used to treat a variety of disorders, including anxiety and depression.
Studies continue to examine the effects of herbal remedies
to treat mild to moderate anxiety. While there has been some positive
association between symptoms of anxiety and the use of certain herbs, there is
no strong evidence that herbal remedies are helpful for anxiety.
Doctors and patients should be aware of the potential
risks and benefits of herbal remedies and consider incorporating nutritional
and dietary changes.
Nutritional supplements and herbs used to relieve anxiety include:
- vitamin B12
- fish oil
- kava root
- St. John’s wort
Always check with your doctor before
taking any of these supplements. Some can have dangerous side effects. For
example, kava has been associated with liver problems. It can also interact
dangerously with medications that are metabolized by the liver. Valerian often
causes headaches and upset stomachs and may not be safe during pregnancy.
Most alternative therapies involve
general good health practices and have little risk, but it’s a good idea to
talk to your doctor before beginning a new treatment regimen in order to
minimize potential complications. But if your goal is to feel better, incorporating
these practices into your treatment plan can be very helpful.