About This Condition
Anxiety describes any feeling of worry or dread, usually about events that might potentially happen. Some anxiety about stressful events is normal. However, in some people, anxiety interferes with the ability to function.
Some people who think they are anxious may actually be depressed. Because of all these factors, it is important for people who are anxious to seek expert medical care. Natural therapies can be one part of the approach to helping relieve mild to moderate anxiety.
Physical symptoms of anxiety include fatigue, insomnia, stomach problems, sweating, racing heart, rapid breathing, shortness of breath, and irritability.
Reducing exposure to stressful situations can help decrease anxiety. In some cases, meditation, counseling, or group therapy can greatly facilitate this process.1
Acupuncture has been the subject of limited research as a therapy for anxiety. In an uncontrolled study, eight patients suffering from anxiety were treated with acupuncture three times per week for eight sessions. Six of the eight patients achieved good to moderate improvement.2 However, a trial of acupuncture treatment for anxiety associated with quitting smoking did not provide any evidence of benefit.3 A double-blind study of acupuncture for the treatment of anxiety associated with dental procedures reported that acupuncture and placebo were equally effective.4 Acupuncture remains unproven in the treatment of people with anxiety.
A form of counseling known as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be superior to placebo for managing the symptoms of panic disorder.5 In a controlled trial, six months of CBT produced a response rate of 39.5%, compared to only 13% in the placebo group. When combined with the tricyclic antidepressant drug imipramine (Tofranil®), response rates were even higher (57.1%). For long-term management of panic disorder, imipramine produced a superior quality of response, but CBT had more durability and was better tolerated.
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.