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Stress / Anxiety
Other Names
Stress, Stressful, Stressed Out, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, Anxiety Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Worry, Worrying, Feeling Tense, Tension, Phobia, Phobias, Panic Attack, Panic Attacks, Fear / Panic, Emotional Well-Being, Emotional Wellbeing, Emotionally Unstable, Emotionally fragile, Well-being, Emotional Instability.

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Stress refers to any factor or event(s) that threaten a person's health or adversely affect his or her normal functioning. Injury, disease or worry are common examples; others include internal conflicts, emotive life events - such as the death of a close relative or friend, the birth of a baby, separation or divorce - pressures at work or a hostile environment such as war or famine. Some individuals may be more prone than others to develop medical problems related to stress.

Stress prompts the body to raise its output of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, causing changes in blood pressure, heart rate and metabolism. These are physiological responses intended to improve a person's physical and mental performance - the 'fight or flight' reaction to fear. Stress may, however, disrupt the ability to cope. Constant or recurrent exposure to stress may produce symptoms such as anxiety, depression, headaches, indigestion, diarrhoea, palpitations and general malaise. Treatment can be difficult and prolonged; counseling can help as can anxiolytic or antidepressant drugs, but a change in job or life style may be necessary in some circumstances.

Anxiety describes any feeling of worry or dread, usually about potential events that might happen. Some anxiety about stressful events is normal. However, in some people, anxiety interferes with the ability to function. Severe anxiety usually lasts more than six months, though it may not be a problem every day. 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.

What are the symptoms of anxiety? Physical symptoms of anxiety include fatigue, insomnia, stomach problems, sweating, racing heart, rapid breathing, shortness of breath, and irritability.

Conventional Treatment Options: Underlying medical conditions, such as excess hormone secretion from the thyroid or adrenal glands, are treated when present. Anti-anxiety medications, such as lorazepam (Ativan) and alprazolam (Xanax), or antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), are often prescribed in conjunction with psychological counseling.

Dietary changes that may be helpful: All sources of caffeine should be avoided, including coffee, tea, chocolate, caffeinated sodas, and caffeine-containing medications. People with high levels of anxiety appear to be more susceptible to the actions of caffeine.

Nutritional supplements that may be helpful: Inositol has been used to help people with anxiety who have panic attacks. Up to 4 grams three times per day was reported to control such attacks in a double-blind trial. Inositol (18 grams per day) has also been shown in a double-blind trial to be effective at relieving the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

An isolated double-blind trial found that supplementation with a multivitamin-mineral supplement for four weeks led to significant reductions in anxiety and perceived stress compared to placebo.

Many years ago, magnesium was reported to be relaxing for people with mild anxiety. Typically, 200 to 300 mg of magnesium are taken two to three times per day. Some doctors recommend soaking in a hot tub containing 1-2 cups of magnesium sulfate crystals (Epsom salts) for 15 to 20 minutes, though support for this approach remains anecdotal.

Niacinamide (a form of Vitamin B3) has been shown in animals to work in the brain in ways similar to drugs such as benzodiazepines (Valium-type drugs), which are used to treat anxiety. One study found that niacinamide (not niacin) helped people get through withdrawal from benzodiazepines-a common problem. A reasonable amount of niacinamide to take for anxiety, according to some doctors, is up to 500 mg four times per day.

Are there any side effects or interactions? Refer to the individual supplement for information about any side effects or interactions.

Herbs that may be helpful: The preeminent botanical remedy for anxiety is kava, an herb from the South Pacific (see warning in this section). It has been extensively studied for this purpose. One 100 mg capsule standardized to 70% kava-lactones is given three times per day in many studies. Preliminary and double-blind trials have validated the effectiveness of kava for people with anxiety, including menopausal women. A previous study found kava to be just as effective as benzodiazepines over the course of six weeks. The latest research shows that use of kava for up to six months is safe and effective compared with placebo. Although kava rarely causes side effects at the given amount, it may cause problems for some people if combined for more than a few days with benzodiazepines.

Warning: Reports from late 2001 have indicated that kava may be associated with liver damage. Until additional information clarifies the extent of the risk involved, it is strongly recommended that all individuals consult their physician before taking kava. In addition, based on the available information, it seems that people with liver disease and those taking medications that have the potential to damage the liver should not take kava.

Several plants, known as "nervines" (nerve tonics), are used in traditional herbal medicine for people with anxiety, with few reports of toxicity. Most nervines have not been rigorously investigated by scientific means to confirm their efficacy. One study found that a combination of the nervines valerian and passion flower reduced symptoms in people suffering from anxiety.

Other nervines include oats (oat straw), hops, passion flower, American scullcap, wood betony, motherwort, pennyroyal, and linden.

St. John's wort is very popular for the treatment of mild depression. It has also been reported in one double-blind study to reduce anxiety.

An old folk remedy for anxiety, particularly when it causes insomnia, is chamomile tea. There is evidence from test tube studies that chamomile contains compounds with a calming action. There are also animal studies that suggest a benefit from chamomile for anxiety, but no human studies support this belief. Often one cup of tea is taken three or more times per day.

Are there any side effects or interactions? Refer to the individual herb for information about any side effects or interactions.

Other integrative approaches that may be helpful: Reducing exposure to stressful situations can help decrease anxiety. In some cases, meditation, counseling, or group therapy can greatly facilitate this process.

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. However, a trial of acupuncture treatment for anxiety associated with quitting smoking did not provide any evidence of benefit. A double-blind study of acupuncture for the treatment of anxiety associated with dental procedures reported that acupuncture and placebo were equally effective. 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. 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 (TTofranil, 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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34 total products
Stress / Anxiety   (Read all about Stress / Anxiety.)
Spearmint Pure Essential Oil
Spearmint Pure Essential Oil
0.50 oz / 14 g

10.58 US
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Spearmint Pure Essential Oil
Spearmint Pure Essential Oil
1.70 oz / 48 g

19.72 US
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Spearmint Pure Essential Oil
Spearmint Pure Essential Oil
3.40 oz / 96 g

30.77 US
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Grape Seed Extract - 50 mg
Grape Seed Extract - 50 mg
150 tablets

11.04 US
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Thyme White Pure Essential Oil
Thyme White Pure Essential Oil
0.50 oz / 14 g

11.24 US
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Thyme White Pure Essential Oil
Thyme White Pure Essential Oil
1.70 oz / 48 g

21.83 US
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Thyme White Pure Essential Oil
Thyme White Pure Essential Oil
3.40 oz / 96 g

34.67 US
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Rhodiola (Golden Root) - 450 mg
Rhodiola (Golden Root) - 450 mg
100 capsules

12.26 US
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Lemon Balm Herb (Melissa) Tea (Loose)
Lemon Balm Herb (Melissa) Tea (Loose)
4 oz / 114 g

13.21 US
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Lemon Balm Herb (Melissa) Tea (Loose)
Lemon Balm Herb (Melissa) Tea (Loose)
8 oz / 227 g

21.08 US
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Lemon Balm (Melissa) Herb Tea
Lemon Balm (Melissa) Herb Tea
25 tea bags

15.53 US
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Lemon Balm (Melissa) Herb Tea
Lemon Balm (Melissa) Herb Tea
50 tea bags

24.01 US
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