HOMEOPATHY FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSIVE DISORDERS

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Anxiety and depressive disorders affect millions of people worldwide, causing significant distress and impairment in daily life. While there are various treatment options available, ranging from therapy to medication, some individuals may seek alternative forms of treatment that offer a more holistic approach. Homeopathy has been gaining popularity as an effective means of addressing mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression. Homeopathy aims to stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote overall wellness. By focusing on the strengths of each patient and customizing treatments, homeopathy offers a unique and personalized approach to managing anxiety and depressive disorders. In this article, we will explore what homeopathy is and how it can contribute to improved mental health outcomes for individuals seeking a more natural and comprehensive approach to their well-being.

We all experience fear and anxiety from time to time. It is an integral part of the human experience. Under normal circumstances, feeling fear or anxiety is important for our survival. To some extent, it plays an adaptive role, helping us to improve and perform better in stressful situations. However, anxiety that occurs frequently, at inappropriate times or with excessive intensity and duration is dysfunctional because it prevents us from functioning normally. Anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental disorders affecting one third of the population. Women are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders than men and the prevalence of anxiety disorders is highest in middle-aged people.[1]

Fear is an emotional response to something we perceive as an imminent threat. Anxiety, on the other hand, is a state of indefinite discomfort, nervousness and insecurity. It is a state of anticipation of a future threat. Anxiety, apart from being anticipatory, when we expect something to happen, can also persist after the danger passed. It can also occur without any identifiable cause. Fear and anxiety are accompanied by physical symptoms such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, sweating, trembling, rapid heartbeat, insomnia or changes in behaviour, such as avoiding certain places or situations. The fight-or-flight response and escape behaviour are more commonly associated with fear, while muscle tension, a state of alertness, caution and avoidance of danger are the predominant symptoms in anxiety disorders. [2]

Anxiety can have many causes. A variety of mental, emotional and physical factors can lead to the development of anxiety disorders, although the exact aetiology is not known. In many cases, anxiety may develop in response to a threat or stressful situation, such as the death of a family member or the loss of a job. Anxiety is part of the clinical picture of many conditions, but it is considered to be a predominant feature of some physical and psychiatric disorders. The onset of anxiety can be triggered by a variety of conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hyperthyroidism, irritable bowel syndrome or cardiac arrhythmias. [3]

Intoxication with certain substances or withdrawal from certain medications, e.g. corticosteroids [4], sedatives, narcotics, drugs, caffeine or alcohol, can lead to the development of anxiety disorders. [5] The intensity of anxiety, how it develops and how long it lasts varies from person to person, as does the ability to tolerate it. Anxiety disorders can lead to the development of depression and vice versa, but very often in clinical practice the two conditions coexist. [6] Treatment of anxiety disorders usually consists of pharmacotherapy or psychotherapy in combination with pharmacotherapy. [7]

Homeopathic treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders.

It is important to be aware of alternatives to standard pharmacological treatment and to be able to use simple self-help tools that can relieve suffering and improve quality of life. The results of research into the effectiveness of homeopathy in the treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders are presented here, along with a description of some of the most commonly chosen homeopathic remedies and Bach flower essences used to address these problems. A number of studies have shown homeopathy to be an inexpensive form of complementary therapy or alternative treatment for many common acute and chronic conditions. The results of studies in which homeopathy has been used as an alternative strategy to the psycho-pharmacological treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders and related symptoms show that homeopathic treatment has positive and long-term results allowing for a reduction in the use of conventional medicines.

The results of a study conducted in Germany indicate that homeopathic preparations are a popular choice among users of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for the treatment of depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. The study also found that one in four patients preferred to use OTC preparations over conventional medicines. [8] Patients using homeopathy for the treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders use fewer psychotropic drugs and are more likely to improve compared to patients using only conventional medicines. [9]

These findings were confirmed by another study on the treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders in older patients. This study was conducted on a group of patients aged 65 years or older. After twelve months of homeopathic treatment, the patients noticed significant improvements in their own condition and reported a reduction in the need for benzodiazepines and psychotropic drugs compared to a control group that used only pharmacological treatment. [10]

Patients suffering from affective and anxiety disorders, depression, social phobia or paroxysmal anxiety syndrome who have responded poorly to conventional pharmacotherapy have found homeopathic treatment useful and effective. [11] A study evaluating the effectiveness of homeopathy in hospital emergency department and intensive care showed that homeopathy improved and provided effective treatment in more than sixty per cent of cases where anxiety and pain were treated. Homeopathy has been shown to be effective in conventional hospital settings as well as in the treatment of critically ill patients and accident victims. [12]

Many studies have shown homeopathy to be an inexpensive adjunct or viable alternative in the treatment of many common acute and chronic conditions. The results of studies in which homeopathy has been used as an alternative strategy for the psycho-pharmacological treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders and related symptoms show that homeopathic treatment has positive and long-term results with limited use of conventional medicines in different age groups.

Homeopathic remedies and Dr Bach’s essences that can help with anxiety and depression.

Aconitum Napellus

Aconite anxiety is very intense. It appears and disappears suddenly. The person becomes very nervous, agitated and extremely anxious and may develop a fear of accident, suffocation or death. Aconite anxiety is characterised by rapid heartbeat, palpitations, sensations of shortness of breath, pallor appearing alternately with redness of the face. It is a state of sudden panic combined with intense anxiety. Panic can be triggered by any reason, even a very trivial one. Aconite mood can also change very quickly between opposing emotions. Anxiety or intense sadness can quickly replace joyful excitement. Anxiety also affects the Aconite’s sleep. It is a restless dream, with a lot of tossing, turning and talking in his sleep.

Arsenicum Album

Fear in Arsenicum comes from perceiving the surrounding world as dangerous, chaotic and full of threats. The person feels isolated, alone and dependent on others. There is a deep sense of insecurity and fear caused by a sense of weakness, dependence, vulnerability and thus the risk of falling victim to exploitation. Because of this, the Arsenicum person will be very anxious and suspicious. Arsenicum will act with extreme caution, otherwise they could lose everything. Fear and extreme caution make the person anxious and deeply concerned about order, safety and their health.

Argentum Nitricum

Argentum Nitricum people are concerned about how they will cope in difficult situations or in times of crisis. Argentum Nitricum have a sense of isolation, loneliness in dealing with adversity, a lack of outside help and a desperate need to find a way out of a crisis situation. The need to have control is extremely important in Argentum Nitricum. The lack of control over a situation, the feeling of being trapped and the inability to find a way out of a situation makes Argentum Nitricum extremely nervous and prone to sudden and impulsive action. Argentum Nitricum is full of anxiety and fear, which creates a sense of restlessness, a lack of patience and a need to hurry. A person who needs Argentum Nitricum may develop a fear of heights, a fear of flying or a feeling of claustrophobia. When all options for action have been exhausted and nothing more can be done in a particular situation, Argentum Nitricum may consequently become sluggish, dull and cease to respond to the environment.

Ignatia

Ignatia can provide relief when feelings of worry, anxiety and depression have arisen after experiencing sudden loss, shock and grief. It is an intense sadness that occurs after the loss of someone or something very close to someone. A person in need of Ignatia is very sensitive and prone to intense mood swings. Rapid shifts between opposing states of mind occur. Laughter is interspersed with bursts of tears, crying and frequent deep sighs. In a situation where seriousness needs to be maintained the person needing Ignatia may burst out laughing. When Ignatia is anxious, any attempt to comfort her will only exacerbate her anxiety. Ignatia does not tolerate opposition or reprimand. Ignatia often develops globus syndrome – the experience of feeling like something is stuck in the throat.

Aspen

Aspen can help with sleep problems and insomnia caused by night terrors. Aspen is also useful for panic attacks occurring for no apparent reason. An anxiety attack may be accompanied by tremors. The Aspen mind is very receptive and easily influenced by superstition, ghost stories and fortune telling. Aspen may develop ritualistic behaviour to establish a sense of protection against persecutory anxiety and insomnia.

Mimulus

Mimulus is very helpful for anticipatory anxiety and anxiety of known origin. Anxiety is triggered by something specific, it is an object, person or situation easily identified as the cause of the fear, which the Mimulus person will try to avoid. Mimulus can help with feelings of fear of death, poverty, accidents and loneliness. The Mimulus person’s fear and anxiety may be accompanied by digestive disorders, frequent loose stools, intestinal pain and chronic emotional diarrhoea, as well as skin problems: hives and atopic dermatitis. Mimulus can help chronically shy and nervous people overcome social anxiety and phobias.

Rock Rose

Rock Rose can help with sudden anxiety, intense fear and panic, ‘fight or flight’ reactions and post-traumatic stress disorder. Fear Rock Rose is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, fainting, accelerated heart rate and shortness of breath. Rock Rose helps with nervous system exhaustion, nervous breakdown, frequent night terrors or chronic sleep loss caused by long-term anxiety.

Cherry Plum

Cherry Plum can help in situations of extreme nervousness, when overwhelming stress causes intense fear of losing control and sudden mental breakdown. Cherry Plum can be used with prolonged mental strain exhausting the nervous system. When the mind is approaching a breaking point, the mounting tension in the body can be expressed through nervous gestures, twitching or unpredictable outbursts of rage.

References:
1. Bandelow B, Michaelis S. Epidemiology of anxiety disorders in the 21st century. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2015; 17 (3): 327-335.

2 Hamm, AO. Fear, anxiety and their disorders from a psychophysiology perspective. Psychophysiology. 2020; 57: e13474.

3 Sartorius N, Holt RIG, May M (eds): Comorbidity of Mental and Physical Disorders. Key Issues Mental Health. Basel, Karger, 2015, volume 179, pages 81-87.

4 Korte SM. Corticosteroids and anxiety, anxiety and psychopathology. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2001 Mar; 25 (2): 117-42.

5 Brady KT, Haynes LF, Hartwell KJ, Killeen TK. Substance use disorders and anxiety: a therapeutic challenge for social workers. Soc Work Public Health. 2013; 28 (3-4): 407-423.

6 Hirschfeld RM. Co-occurrence of major depression and anxiety disorders: recognition and treatment in primary care. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2001; 3 (6): 244-254.

7 Bandelow B, Michaelis S, Wedekind D. Treatment of anxiety disorders. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2017; 19 (2): 93-107.

8 Hamann J, Linde K, Schweiger HD, Kusmakow O, Förstl H. Over-the-counter medications in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders – opinions of German pharmacists. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2014; 47 (3): 84-88.

9 Grimaldi-Bensouda L, Abenhaim L, Massol J, et al. Homeopathic medical practice for anxiety and depression in primary care: the EPI3 cohort study. BMC Complement Alternative Med 16, 125 (2016).

10 Danno K, Duru G, Vetel JM. Management of anxiety and depressive disorders in patients aged ≥ 65 years by homeopathic general practitioners compared with conventional general practitioners, with a review of the results of the EPI3-LASER study. Homeopathy. 2018; 107 (2): 81-89.

11. Davidson JR, Morrison RM, Shore J, Davidson RT, Bedayn G. Homeopathic treatment of depression and anxiety. Alternative therapies in health and medicine. January 1997; 3 (1): 46-49.

12.Oberbaum M, Singer SR, Friehs H, Frass M. Homeopathy in emergency medicine. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2005; 155 (21-22): 491-497.

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