Anxiety Disorders

 ANXIETY DISORDERS AND THE HOMEOPATHY MANAGEMENT

Introduction

Anxiety Disorders are the most prevalent of psychiatric morbidities and are the sixth leading cause of disability worldwide with 4% of all YLD (years lived with disability). It is seen more commonly in females as compared to males. Roughly 273 million had an anxiety disorder as of 2010.

An anxiety disorder may make the person feel anxious most of the time, without any apparent reason. In some cases, the anxious feelings may be so uncomfortable that the person may stop routine activities. At times, the occasional bouts of anxiety may be so intense that they terrify and immobilize the person. Fear is another emotion with considerable similarity but with some important differences. The most important distinction between fear and anxiety is the time frame. Fear is the response to a danger that is currently detected in the immediate, present moment of time. In contrast, anxiety refers to the anticipation of some potential threat that may or may not, happen in the future. In other words, fear is a response to an immediate danger in the present moment of time, while anxiety is associated with a threat that is anticipated in a future moment of time. Anxiety reflects the anticipation of fear and represents an adaptive attempt to prevent the fear-provoking circumstance from occurring. In an anxious state, people are readying themselves and preparing themselves to cope with a future problem or dilemma that they anticipate will cause some kind of harm, if not prevented from occurring. In this respect, anxiety is a normal, beneficial emotion.

Homeopathy and other system of medicines can help patients to cope better with their anxieties, fears and phobias.  Undoubtedly, one’s outlook to life and the resulting attitude of the mind often determines their reaction patterns to events which dynamically unfold before us. Homeopaths or Clinical Psychologists can positively

  • Prevent illness and promote health
  • Help to promote a healthy attitude towards life events
  • The system, when used correctly and creatively, is capable of creating conditions which can initiate sensible action aiming to bring about stability within ourselves and in our patients

Causes

The exact cause of anxiety disorders is unknown. It may be either inherited or acquired.

1.  One can trace its origins to the parents, which means, the individual possibly inherits the genes which   predispose to develop anxiety responses to external changes/events of a threatening order.

2.  Repetitive past life situations from which the individual has received an unpleasant experience which becomes fixed and which makes him anticipate the worst

3.  A particular life experience which may lead to specific fears or phobias

4.   A set of response patterns which typify the personality as an anxious personality

Thus, anxiety results from faulty interactions between the individual and his life situation. It mainly includes biological, genetic, environmental and social factors. The cause may be helpful in dealing with the patient. Each patient requires unique management viz-a-viz medicines and psychotherapy. Environmental factors such as a trauma or significant events may trigger an anxiety disorder in people who have an inherited susceptibility to developing the disorder.

Other causes include:

1. Excessive use of tea or coffee or caffeinated drinks (most of the soft-drinks) is a common preventable cause of anxiety.

2. Threat to self preservation

3. Conflict arising from development of conscience and crisis of conscience

4. Loss of ideology / loss of self esteem

5. Minor/ major stress of every day

6. Dysfunctional thoughts, beliefs, cognitive processing

7. Physical diseases like thyroid disorders

8. Social conflict

9. Difficulties in sex

10. Desire to have something for nothing

11. Psychological trauma

12. Inadequate coping mechanism 

Signs and symptoms

Physical or bodily signs and symptoms

1.   Trembling of the body, restlessness and muscle twitches

2.    Palpitations, increased heart rate, flushing, excessive sweating, rapid breathing, diarrhoea, increased frequency/hesitancy of passing urine, dizziness, dry mouth, dilated pupil

 

Psychological symptoms or symptoms of the mind may include

1.    Fearful facial expressions

2.    Poor concentration, easy distractibility, easy arousal or excitability.

3.    Inability to relax, fearfulness, irritability, feeling of impending doom, vague sense of apprehension

4.    Lack of sleep, startling in sleep

5.      A feeling that the surroundings are not real

 

Specific anxiety disorders with their manifestations are as follows:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder – the essential feature is excessive anxiety and worry, occurring fairly often for a period of at least 6 months. These are regarding a number of events or activities. The individual finds it difficult to control the worry.
  • Panic attack – it is a discreet period of intense fear or discomfort in the absence of real danger that is accompanied by symptoms like palpitations, trembling, sensation of shortness of breath, feeling of choking, chest pain or discomfort, fear of losing control, fear of dying.
  • Panic disorder – Denotes the presence of recurrent, unexpected panic attacks.
  • Agoraphobia – There is anxiety about being in places or situations from which escape might be difficult (or embarrassing) or in which help may not be available in the event of having a panic attack or panic like symptoms
  • Separation anxiety disorder - It is a childhood disorder characterized by anxiety that is excessive for the developmental level and related to separation from parents or others who have parental roles.
  • Specific phobias – The essential feature is clearly discernible, circumscribed objects or situations
  • Social phobia (social anxiety disorder) – The essential feature is a marked and persistent fear of social or performance situations in which embarrassment may occur.
  • Substance-induced anxiety disorder – It is characterized by prominent symptoms of anxiety or panic that are a direct result of abusing drugs, taking medications, being exposed to a toxic substance or withdrawal from drugs.
  • Anxiety disorder due to a medical condition - It includes prominent symptoms of anxiety or panic that are directly caused by a physical health problem.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of anxiety disorders like depression is difficult. A lot of patients visit their healthcare professionals with physical complaints as a result of which the medicine relevant to that complaint is given. This often leads to either a temporary or no relief. It is only when the physical complaints do not respond adequately or tends to recur that one investigates further and takes the help from specialists. In the meanwhile, a lot of time and energy is lost leading to expense as well and perhaps sub-optimal functioning. Once the physician is sure of the likelihood of anxiety disorder from the history, examination findings help to rule out any obvious medical condition that may be associated with anxiety.

Complications

Anxiety disorders lead to reduced efficient and effective working capacity due to lack of concentration. It can also lead to or aggravate depression, which often occurs with anxiety disorders. The patient may fall a prey to substance abuse like alcohol or drugs. On occasions, the anxiety may aggravate and develop into a panic disorder where the patient and his family may be concerned about possibility of death. There may also be physical health related issues such as digestive or bowel problems, headache and poor quality of life. Trouble in sleeping and headache are common associated symptoms. Cases and attempts of suicide are also reported in unchecked anxiety disorders.

Management

To treat an anxiety disorder, its evolution must be understood. Tracing the cause is as important as treating it and the manifestations which are troublesome. Usually, the management consists of desensitizing the patient. It means that the patient is subjected to a milder version of the trigger and subsequently the intensity of the trigger is increased. The patient has to be helped to gain insight into her/his problem. Some medications (anti-anxiety) may also be used.

References

1.  American Psychiatric Association: Defense Levels and Individual Defense Mechanisms. In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition. Washington D.C, 1994:752.

2. Boericke W. G., Pocket Manual of Homeopathic MateriaMedica, Reprint Edition: January 2007, I.B.P.P.

3. Dhawale, M. L., 2004, Principle’s and Practice of Homeopathy Chapter 11, pg 196, Dr. M.L.Dhawale Memorial Trust.

4. Hahnemann Samuel, 2004, “Organon of Medicine”, 6th edition, Edited by William Boericke(ed), IBPP.

2. Kent. J. T, Repertory of the Homeopathic MateriaMedica, Fourth Indian Edition, Reprint Edition: August 2008, I.B.P.P.

3. Dhawale Kumar, Nikumbh Sunita and Patel Manoj; The ICR Symposium: Homeopathic Approach to Anxiety and its Management, The Homeopathic Heritage, Vol-40, No- 4, July 2014.

4. Sadock and Sadock, 2009, “Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry”, 9th Edition, Sadock Benjamin James, Sadock Virginia Alcott, Ruiz Pedro(Eds), Wolters Kluwer / Lippincott Williams and Wilkins / Health, Vol 2, Chapter 30, pg2784-2802.

5. http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/mental-health/data-and-statistics

6. https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/normal-and-abnormal-anxiety-what-s-the-difference/

7. http://www.mayoclinic.org/ 

  • PUBLISHED DATE : Feb 05, 2016
  • PUBLISHED BY : Zahid
  • CREATED / VALIDATED BY : Dr. Eswara Das
  • LAST UPDATED ON : Aug 10, 2016

Discussion

Write your comments

This question is for preventing automated spam submissions