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How To Treat Anxiety Naturally Without Medication

Recognizing Anxiety Symptoms

One of the most common forms of mental health disorders affecting Americans today are anxiety disorders. Generalized anxiety disorder is defined as “the presence of excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of topics, events, or activities” that occurs for more than six months and is a serious hindrance to everyday activity.  Anxiety can take many forms, from physical symptoms like panic attacks and sweaty palms to invisible ones like never-ending worry and compulsions.

And though some anxiety symptoms are severe enough to require formal anxiety treatment, less severe feelings of anxiety can be significantly reduced from lifestyle changes and better stress management alone. Below, we will explore some natural remedies that you can use to try to control your anxiety without medication, like mindfulness, meditation, and physical activity.

Natural Remedies for An Anxiety Disorder

Though taking medication to reduce anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of, for many people, holistic techniques are enough to ease anxiety significantly. Mindfulness, which involves a deliberate focus on the present moment as opposed to letting thoughts of the past or future take hold, can help some people to prevent anxiety by taking their attention away from potential stressful situations back to the here and now.

One powerful method for improving mindfulness and well being is meditation, a period of deliberate focus intended to train your capacity for attention and awareness. A Harvard medical school study found that meditation has a beneficial effect on the brain, shrinking the area responsible for fear, stress, and anxiety while bolstering areas involved in positive feelings like empathy, compassion, learning, memory and emotional regulation.

Meditation can also improve sleep, which can be another important factor when it comes to brain health and anxiety. Making an effort to get a good night’s sleep will increase your energy levels at well as reduce anxiety. But since anxiety can interfere with sleep, it can also perpetuate a cycle in which lack of sleep leads to more anxiety ad infinitum.

To end this cycle, some find it helpful to try alternative medicine techniques like herbal supplements and essential oils, which are sold online as well as in many physical stores. You should not try one of these remedies without first talking to your doctor, since some of them can cause significant health effects or interfere with other psychiatric and non psychiatric medications. However, a few studies have supported herbs like Valerian, chamomile, kava, and passionflower for help with sleep and anxiety.

Both insufficient sleep and unhealthy eating patterns can cause elevations in the stress hormone cortisol, which can impair brain function and fuel anxiety. So, you may also want pay close attention to your diet, making sure to include foods high in nutrients that will give your brain and body the fuel they need to function optimally. You should also avoid skipping meals or loading up on carbohydrate heavy junk food, both of which can cause blood sugar drops that can increase anxiety symptoms.

Acute stress or fear can cause an anxiety attack, a period of intense anxiety that can cause physical symptoms like elevated heart rate, fast shallow breathing, sweaty palms, shakiness, and feelings of a sense of impending doom or extreme tension. This occurs because the body is going into a “fight or flight” response , preparing to confront danger that someone may have faced in the time before modern life made most physical confrontations rare.

Harvard Health Publishing has published information about the relaxation response, which is an opposite of sorts to this fight or flight response that makes you feel anxious. Deliberate, controlled deep breathing can induce this response, while shallow breathing can do the opposite, making one feel more out of breath and more out of control and anxious. A breathing technique as simple as taking a deep breath for three counts each and then releasing it for three counts has been shown to ease anxiety.

Sensory input can also distract from acute anxiety and allow someone to calm down, including in the form of exercise, which has also been demonstrated to have its own mental health benefits, including for issues like anxiety.

Aerobic exercise in particular has been shown to have significant benefits when it comes to anxiety. Exercise leads to the release of feel good neurotransmitters called endorphins, which help put you in a better mood, and exercise can increase sleep quality, which ties back in to the issues discussed earlier. Exercise also can enhance your self esteem by making you feel more capable and better about your body.

Then, there are therapeutic interventions that have shown great benefit for anxiety without necessarily requiring medication. The most widely used of these, cognitive behavioral therapy is supported by peer reviewed studies and doctor recommendations, and involves reframing reflective negative thoughts that can lead to anxiety and replacing them with healthier ideas. For instance, in the case of social anxiety, you may work with your therapist to build confidence in your ability to interact with others.

When You May Need More Anxiety Treatment

Though these natural ways to relieve anxiety are powerful for many, sometimes the anxiety reducing benefits of these tactics are not enough to manage anxiety without medication, which is when anxiety treatment may be called for.

For instance, an anxious child whose anxiety is affecting their ability to develop normally at the same pace as their peers or someone whose anxiety begins to take over their life may want to consult a doctor or healthcare provider about medication for their symptoms.

Someone showing symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder or another serious anxiety related condition may also need to be on anti anxiety medications, which can fight anxiety disorders more effectively than other treatments alone and may be a necessary measure for someone suffering from severe anxiety.

Treat Anxiety Disorders That Occur With Addiction At Reco Intensive

Treating anxiety disorders and any other co occurring mental health disorders is an important part of bolstering the overall mental health of someone who is suffering from addiction. Since we recognize that not everything can be solved without medication, we also have a doctor on staff to prescribe any medication we do deem necessary to control anxiety or any other symptoms.

To learn more about Reco Intensive’s addiction treatment program and whether it may be the right fit for yourself or a loved one, feel free to call us anytime at 561.327.7368. Any medical information that you share with us will remain confidential, and we are eager to help you get back on the path to a brighter future and better life.

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