Anxiety is a term overused and familiar to everyone. Medical literature started to incorporate terms like anxiety, stress, etc into physical diseases only in recent times. Mental health was considered very distinct and different from physical health by most of us. But is it the truth? To get a clear answer, we should look into the mind and it’s functioning in depth. The word mind is most often mistaken as a separate entity apart from the body. Many others understand the mind as simply the functioning of brain chemicals only. In both these ways, there is no connection between physical diseases and mental problems. Till the last century, doctors sought the etiology of physical and mental diseases separately. But there were always unsuccessful cases that got relief when cared for by an empathetic approach. Slowly, it is understood that some diseases show a better prognosis when considering emotional aspects of the condition while prescribing medicines for the pathology. There are conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome when the mind is irritated, the body shows signs of it as physical manifestations. In such cases, the relationship between mind and body is very important and the conditions are known as psychosomatic diseases.
Any emotional problem can lead to physical manifestations and the commonest of all is believed to be anxiety. Anxiety being another form of stress needs stress management techniques to be dealt with its complications. When psychosomatic diseases are physical manifestations of mental problems, some diseases show the exact opposite pathogenesis like in people with Wilson’s disease. In patients with Wilson’s disease, the deranged metabolism of copper leads to manifestations with neurotic and psychotic features. Though there will be physical signs, in some cases the condition may be misunderstood as psychosis. It is obvious that our body and mind are mutually wired and when one of them is afflicted, the response will be visible on the other one too. So, it is a necessity to evaluate and examine each condition before diagnosis and treatment, be it a physical or mental disease. Many times physical discomforts that are described by the patient will be nothing but the presentation of a disturbed mind. For example, signs of depression in teenagers may be presented as random body aches, loss of weight, or gastric problems.
Every person is different, so are their mental attributes. But people like teenagers, old aged ones, or postpartum women may show more chances for physical or emotional discomforts. Hormonal imbalance and life circumstances can be blamed for it. On the contrary, stress is an inevitable part of everyone’s life nowadays regardless of age, race, sex, or nationality. In fact, a little amount of stress is needed for a person to move forward. It helps the person focus on work and finish the task. It motivates and guides people towards success. But if uncontrolled, stress can be the source of extreme panic and anxiety leading to a lot of diseases. It is curious that many of the clinical manifestations of anxiety are physical diseases.
Considering mental diseases, diagnosis may be subjective often. In cases of anxiety disorders, it is needed to be handled professionally. Feeling a little anxious or nervous just before the exam results are announced is perfectly normal but continued stress & anxiety that interferes with the daily chores is not favorable. Often signs of depression in teenagers are misdiagnosed as anxiety disorders as they present a lot of similar signs due to the hormonal surge. Also, mental disorders are considered a shame by society. People would prefer to suppress the problem rather than planning any means of stress management techniques.
Stress or anxiety leads to many problems. The most common anxiety disorders are generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and phobia. Anyone’s diagnosis is common but also some anxiety disorders can coexist in the same patient. Proper evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment are very important for managing the condition without complications. Most patients with anxiety disorder exhibit a group of common signs and symptoms. These include:
- A feeling of nervousness
- Feeling or sensing a close danger
- Rapid breath
- Excessive sweating
- Trembling or shaking of the body or body parts
- Feeling that always weak or tired
- Concentration problems
- Difficulty to deviate thoughts from the worry
- Gastric problems
- Sleep problems
- Fear and tendency to avoid many situations due to anxiety
If not managed properly, anxiety disorders may lead to serious complications like depression. People with anxiety disorders show self-harming nature or suicidal tendencies if not managed properly. Some people may face social isolation and end up in substance abuse like alcohol. Many other complications are also possible including insomnia, poor performance in studies or work, or cardiac problems. Anxiety disorders cause the person to lead a poor-quality life if not treated well. The conditions run with a chronic pathology and are not easily curable in most cases. Medicines and therapies are available for anxiety disorders which help a lot in symptomatic management. But many of the medicines have serious adverse effects. People choose rather safe and natural remedies in such a situation. Safe and effective herbal medicines are available especially in ancient Indian natural medicine called Ayurveda. Known as the science of life, Ayurvedic medicines are used safely and effectively in most cases of anxiety disorders. Ayurveda describes the condition as an imbalance in the Vaata dosha.
Herbal medicines that pacify Vaata dosha help the person relax naturally and analyze the situation without panic. Stress management techniques are included in ayurvedic therapies used in physical, mental, spiritual and social aspects. Cleansing therapies in Ayurveda Panchakarma like therapeutically induced herbal vomiting, diarrhea, enema, nasal drops, etc can help the person expel the metabolic toxins out of the body. Also, the body channels and circulations become devoid of obstructions, and circulation is improved. With better metabolism & circulation, physical and mental health improves. Once the body is clean, formulations are used for reducing anxiety and its associated problems. Ghee based Ayurvedic medicines like Tiktakam ghrutam, Kallyanakam ghrutam, etc can influence the function of the brain by reacting with the blood brain barrier in a safe and natural way they are fat soluble. Most of the herbs used in such formulations have a bitter taste that regulates hyperactivity and restlessness.