Most of us suffer from chronic anxiety to some extent because modern life is jagged, fast-paced, and divorced from the natural rhythms that tend to create a harmonious inner life. The calming cycles of farming, the instinctive satisfactions of hunting and gathering and pure faith in religion gave our ancestors inner resources that few of us possess today.
People who suffer from the emotional illness called anxiety disorder, however, go a step beyond this common feeling. The quality of their lives is significantly diminished by the pervading presence of fear, which is often unrelated to any obvious cause. Even if a cause can be identified, the magnitude of anxiety they experience is greater than the actual degree of stress.
Typical symptoms of anxiety disorder include feeling of tension, irritability, worry, frustration, turmoil, and hopelessness, alogn with insomnia, restless sleep, grinding of teeth, jaw pain, an inability to sit still, and an incapacity to cope. Physical sensations frequently arise as well, including a characteristic feeling of being unable to take a full, satisfying breath; rapid heart-beat; heart palpitations; a lump in the throat; tightness in the chest; and cramping in the bowles. Anxiety can also give rise to panic attacks. These may be so severe that they are mistaken for heart attacks. The heart pounds and palpitates, the chest feels tight and painful, and the whole body tenses with unreasoning fear. Such attacks can be triggered by anxiety-provoking situations, but they may also come out of nowhere, perhaps even awakening you from sleep. When a person tends to suffer more from panic attacks than generalized anxiety, physicians call the illness "panic disorder".
The medical treatment of anxiety involves mainly antianxiety drugs. Some, such as Xanax, are effective immediately; others, such as Bu-Spar, take a week or more to reach full effect. Antidepressant drugs may also be helpful. Panic attacks are generally more difficult to treat than other aspects of anxiety.
Medications are best used in the short term, and it is advisable to seek permanent help through psychotherapy.

Principal natural treatments
The herb KAVA is widely used in Europe as a medical treatment for anxiety.
Other natural treatments
The following natural treatments are widely recommended for anxiety, but they have not been scientifically proven effective at this time.
Valerian: May provide calming effects. The herb valerian is best known as a remedy for insomnia. However, according to one preliminary double-blind study, it also produces calming effects in stressful situations.
Other herbs and supplements
Othe rherbs or supplements that are frequently recommended fo anxiety include "skullcap", "hops", "lemon balm", "chamomile", "passionflower", "suma", "5-HTP", "gamma oryzanol", "inositol".

The information contained in this web site is strictly intended for educational purposes. It is not intended for use as a diagnostic tool, prescription or as a medical advice. Consult your physician for professional advice.
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