Do you suspect you have anxiety? Here you’ll find the causes of anxiety, the symptoms and the best essential oils to use to help you get relief.
Anxiety is a general term for disorders characterized by feelings of anxiety, fear and worry that affect how a person behaves.
It can cause physical symptoms such as nervousness and apprehension that are strong enough to interfere with daily activities.
People with anxiety disorder, for example, experience a level of stress to an event that is out of proportion to the actual impact of the event.
Most have an inability to deal with the stress and set aside the worry and restlessness it causes them.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, the most common being panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The condition is manageable and treatable by a medical professional with the right therapy and treatment that includes counselling and medication such as antidepressants.
There are also natural treatments you can try such as, deep breathing exercises, or using essential oils, which will be discussed in this post.
You can find deep breathing exercise instructions in my post Lymph Node Locations and Importance of Lymphatic Drainage.
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What is Anxiety?
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Anxiety is something we all experience as a normal part of life that affects each person in a different way.
Whereas the stress that causes anxiety comes and goes in proportion to the external factors that causes it, such as money problems, work situations, or relationship problems, anxiety can persist, sometimes even when the cause of is unclear to the sufferer.
Anxiety disorder is experienced when a person reacts to a normal situation they perceive to be stressful or dangerous, while others will regard it as a normal part of daily life.
A person suffering from anxiety disorder can imagine that events in their life are worse than they actually are which prevents them from confronting their fears.
These feelings can be overwhelming often provoking thoughts that they are going mad or that some terrible psychological imbalance is the cause of their discomfort.
What is important is to recognize is that anxiety is part of our normal feelings. This is a normal bodily function that has helped our ancestors deal with stress from the early days of mankind.
Anxiety was the internal alarm system that helped protect them from the dangers that surrounded them in the wild environment that existed in those days.
These bodily systems made them hyper-alert and provided a boost of adrenaline to increase the heart rate and amount of oxygen needed by the limbs and muscles to fight for their lives, or run from danger.
Those same bodily functions still exist in us today and have been named the “flight or fight response”.
The feelings associated with anxiety like butterflies in the stomach are signs of this protective mechanism kicking in. This normally occurs in a situation we perceive as threatening or dangerous.
However, people with anxiety disorders ,the situations they experience are most often not immediate and of physical danger.
Instead of using the anxiety to avoid immediate danger, it is often inappropriately activated during normal, everyday situations when stress has been allowed to build up, often unknowingly.
The Causes of Anxiety
Often there are actual identifiable causes for anxiety such as a traumatic accident, a significant life event causing stress like moving your home, pending surgery, or getting divorced.
While most people manage to deal with these life events and move on, some people do not have the ability to do so and the anxiety remains long after the event.
Some people do not have any identifiable causes for their anxiety and yet it causes them to experience the same distress.
When stressful situations, even normal ones like commuting to work or going to school are allowed to accumulate over time without any means of releasing it in a normal way, stress levels can overflow.
It can cause sudden feelings of anxiety coming out of the blue without any significant trigger. Even very small stressors can tip one over the edge.
What is needed is to relieve the stress in a positive and healthy way.
Some things that help are exercise, meditation, relaxation, yoga, massage, aromatherapy with essential oils, and spending time with family and friends.
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder
Some of the most common physical symptoms experienced when feeling stressed or anxious are:
– Difficulty breathing
– Hyperventilation (over breathing)
– Increased heart rate
– Tight feeling across the chest area
– Weakness and shakiness in the legs
– Tingling in hands and feet
– Feeling sick or nauseous
– Tension headaches
– Frequent urination
– Dry mouth
– Hot flushes
– Heart palpitations
– Trembling and shaking
– Choking sensations
– Increased perspiration
Some of the more common psychological anxiety symptoms which are the altered perceptions and thoughts experienced are:
– Thoughts that you may be losing it or going mad
– Thoughts that you may die
– Feeling that people are staring and can see the anxiety you are feeling
– Feelings of detachment and withdrawal from your environment
– Feelings that you may be sick, faint, have a heart attack, or a brain tumor
– Feelings that things are speeding up or slowing down
– Feeling on alert or on edge
– Feelings of wanting to escape or run away from the situation
The most common behavioral symptom (the things we do when anxiety strikes) is avoidance.
The problem with avoidance is that a person never gets to establish whether the feelings of fear about what could happen are actually true or not.
Avoidance of a situation that causes anxiety provides immediate relief, however it is a short-term solution and the anxiety will invariably return.
Psychologically it only reinforces the message sent to the bodily system that there is danger.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
– Panic Disorder
With panic disorder it feels like terror strikes at random that causes panic attacks. during a panic attack you may feel like you are having a heart attack with palpitations (irregular or rapid heartbeat), chest pain, choking, or sweating.
– Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia
Overwhelming feelings of self-consciousness and worry over ordinary social situations and fixating on feelings of embarrassment or ridicule from others judging you.
– Specific Phobia Disorder
Intense fear of a specific situation or object that goes beyond what is normal and appropriate such as the fear of flying or heights that causes avoidance of ordinary situations.
– GAD – Generalized Anxiety Disorder
– Feelings of unrealistic, excessive tension and worry with little or no reason.
What is the Difference Between Normal Anxiety and Anxiety Disorder?
The distinction between normal anxiety and anxiety disorders is not always clear.
Everyone experiences nervous or anxious feelings from time to time, for example, when going through difficult personal situations or having to speak in public.
How can you tell when everyday anxiety has turned into a disorder is not easy.
Anxiety can present itself in many different forms the most common being panic attacks, social anxiety, or phobias.
For some people anxiety becomes so frequent and forceful that it takes over the normal functioning of their lives.
If you experience the following on a regular basis you may have anxiety disorder:
– Excessive worry about everyday things to such an extent that it interferes with daily life. It is often accompanied by physical and psychological symptoms.
The distinction between normal anxiety and anxiety disorder is whether the emotions experienced are causing a lot of dysfunction and suffering in your life.
– Sleep problems such as trouble falling asleep or waking in the middle of the night not being able to get back to sleep.
Chronic sleep problems associated with physical and psychological symptoms may be an indication that you have an anxiety disorder such as GAD.
Another symptom of anxiety disorder is waking up with your mind racing, feeling wired, and unable to calm down.
– Irrational fears attached to a specific object or situation like crowds, animals, or flying that becomes overwhelming.
When feelings are experienced that are way out of proportion to the event it is a telltale sign of phobia.
Phobias are not always obvious and may only surface when confronted with a specific situation that triggers irrational fear.
– Chronic indigestion
Even though most anxiety starts in the mind, it often manifest physically in the body through chronic digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.
This is a condition that is characterized by cramping, bloating, stomach aches, constipation, gas, and/or diarrhea.
IBS is basically anxiety experienced in the digestive tracts. Although not always related to anxiety, when both occur one can make the symptoms of the other worse.
Because the gut is extremely sensitive to psychological stress the physical discomfort of IBS can make a person feel increased anxiety.
Treatment of Anxiety Disorder
If you are affected by anxiety disorders you know how much of an impact it can have on the daily quality of your life.
Depression and anxiety are extremely common conditions and a leading cause of disability globally.
It is estimated that approximately 350 million people from young to old suffer from anxiety and depression worldwide.
Many highly effective options are available for the treatment of anxiety disorders, broadly categorized into three general approaches:
- Alternative and complementary therapies
People with anxiety disorders can benefit from a combination of these therapies but in this article we will discuss the benefits of using essential oils in alternative and complementary therapies.
One of the most effective ways to treat anxiety is the use of essential oil blends in massage or aromatherapy. In a UK study over a 6 month period it was found that massage combined with aromatherapy reduced improved mood and reduced anxiety in patients diagnosed with depressive disorders and anxiety.
Besides inducing feelings of calm and well-being, the use of essential oils in the treatment of anxiety reduces the risk of developing anxiety related diseases caused by stress with its associated complications like allergies, sleep problems, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils have been used as part of medicinal remedies, religious ceremonies, and primitive cosmetics for thousands of years.
They contain the essential essence or chemical compounds of certain plants that are considered to be beneficial to human health.
The concentrated liquids are made from the aromatic roots, leaves, seeds, fruits and flowers of plants.
Why Use Essential Oils for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders?
Before going any further it must be stressed that although essential oils can be helpful in both mild cases of emotional distress as well as clinically diagnosed anxiety disorders, severe anxiety disorders such as phobias require more comprehensive treatment including medication and psychological treatment.
Essential oils should be viewed as an enhancement for traditional treatments in severe disorders.
Essential oils offer anxiety sufferers and holistic approach without any side-effects.
One of the most significant causes of anxiety is stress and using aromatherapy and massage with appropriate essential oils forces you to take time out from the stressful circumstances in your life and focus on yourself.
Any therapy that helps to relax the body and nervous system is beneficial in the treatment of anxiety related disorders.
How Do Essential Oils Work in the Treatment of Anxiety?
Treating anxiety with essential oils that contain active and highly concentrated plant essences releases the healing compounds directly into the skin in massage and into the overall system with aromatherapy.
A scientific study in Germany found that these healing substances could be detected in the bloodstream as soon as five minutes after topical application to the skin.
While the topical use of essential oils is highly effective, inhaling the vapors of essential oils in aromatherapy is the most powerful method of treating anxiety.
What is Aromatherapy?
According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, aromatherapy seeks to enhance the innate healing processes of the body by unifying the psychological, physiological, and spiritual systems of the body. Scents can have a powerful effect on emotions.
When the sense of smell is engaged the olfactory cells in the nose absorbs the molecules of the aroma that sends signals to the brain’s limbic system.
The limbic system of the brain rules our emotions which is why emotions like a sense of joy, peace, excitement, or contentment are often triggered when smelling certain essential oils.
It follows that the right blend of essential oils can help lift the mood, relax the nerves, and produce feelings of well-being and calm.
Besides triggering positive emotions the limbic system is connected to areas of the brain that control emotions such as fear, depression and anger as well as breathing, memory, heart rate, blood pressure, hormone levels and stress levels.
The right blend of essential oils can balance the functions controlled by the system.
– Aromatherapy can simply be inhaled by rubbing a few drops of the essential oils into your hands and cupping them to your face. A few drops on a cotton wool ball held below the nose will have the same effect.
– An aromatherapy diffuser can be used to spread the aroma of the essential oils into the air.
– Quality candles infused with essential oils are another way to breathe in the aroma.
– A blend of essential oils in unscented carrier oil like olive or almond can be worn on the body. The natural warmth of the body will cause the aroma to be diffused into the air for inhalation.
-A few drops of essential oils in a warm bath is a great way to inhale and absorb the healing scent while at the same time relaxing the body.
Best Essential Oils For Anxiety
Which essential oils to use is often a matter of preference since they elicit such powerful emotional reactions that are unique to each individual person.
If you experience an upliftment in spirits or a calming, relaxing feeling when you have been stressed out, it is most likely that the type of essential oil you are using is beneficial for treating your anxiety.
One of the most commonly use essential oils for relaxation, lavender has a pleasant fragrance and a relaxing effect that induces sleep and relieves tension and stress.
Studies have found that lavender can reduce the heart rate in times of stress.
Inhalation of lavender essential oil has been shown to reduce postpartum depression, ease dental anxiety, and improve mood in patients suffering the PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder).
Lavender was found to be an effective substitute for depression and anxiety medication in GAD (General Anxiety Disorder).
Oral lavender oil application over a six week period showed effective relief from generalized anxiety compared with lorazepam which is an extremely powerful anti-anxiety drug.
Chamomile is most commonly known for its sedative effects and essential oils have been found to be clinically effective as a meaningful antidepressant when taken orally.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology stated that chamomile capsules had mild anxiolytic activity in patients with mild generalized anxiety disorders.
Rose essential oils can lower anxiety levels and a study with women in active labor reported that a 10-minute foot bath with rose essential oil in water and inhalation of the aroma significantly reduced stress and anxiety.
Ylang Ylang is effective at reducing psychological stress.
Inhalation of the oil has been shown to significantly reduce stress and anxiety in patients with hypertension.
A blend of bergamot and lavender oils can help in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
Applied to the skin of the abdomen, it had a positive effects on blood pressure, pulse rate and skin temperature of participants in a study.
Emotionally the group that used essential the mixture of bergamot and lavender essential oils described feelings of calm and feeling more relaxed than the control group.
In a Korean study, the effect of daily hand massage with a blend of bergamot, frankincense and lavender essential oils on hospice patients reported lower levels of depression and pain in comparison with massage without essential oils.
Clary Sage has an anti-depressant effect that is useful in highly stressful situations and has been found to be even more effective than lavender for treatment of anxiety in women.
Angelic comes from the word ‘angel’ and it is believed that the plant’s healing compounds were revealed to a monk during the period of the terrible plague.
Angelica essential oils is effective as an anti-anxiety remedy that is completely free of side-effects.
All citrus oils are beneficial in combating anxiety and depression but sweet orange essential oil is the best.
A study found that patients suffering from depression and on medication needed reduced doses of anti-depressant drugs when treated with orange essential oils.
How To Use Essential Oils for the Best Effect
When it comes to essential oils the old adage, “less is more” is true.
Don’t overdo it.
Aromatherapy exposure for one hour is effective in most cases and longer exposure has not been shown to improve results in any significant way, but rather could over-stimulate the system and create the opposite effect.
Panic attacks are terrifying with sudden feelings of helplessness and fear that can last anything from a few minutes to half an hour.
It is normally accompanied by physical symptoms that are scary such as breathing problems, chest pains, stomach pains, feeling cold or hot and a racing heart.
Not everyone who experiences a panic attack necessarily has an anxiety disorder but if you repeatedly feel a gripping fear of what could happen to you, you need to see your doctor.
People with anxiety disorders live in fear of what could happen to them when, where, and why it is happening to them.
They tend to avoid situations and places that may trigger a repeat of attacks that have occurred in the past.
Anxiety disorders are treatable with the right therapies including alternative therapies, medication, and psychological treatment.
Never stop taking medication that has been prescribed for you by your doctor as there could be serious side-effects from sudden cessation of certain drugs.
If you have a current health condition or are taking prescription drugs, it is safest to consult with your doctor before using essential oils. Certain essential oils can have interaction with drugs.
Always use only the purest, highest quality essential oils and dilute it with carrier oil before applying it directly to the skin as some oils can irritate sensitive skin.
Always read the precautions on the labels and adhere to any warnings issued.
Health Ambition – https://www.healthambition.com/essential-oils-anxiety-depression/
The content of this website is research done by me, Linda Edwards, author of blossomingwidow.com.Everything you find here is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any medical condition. The information you find here is not to replace your relationship with your physician or other medical professionals. The information is not intended for medical advice but rather, sharing with you knowledge I have gained through research and experience. If you apply any information you find here, it is based solely on your own discretion, and at your own risk. Linda Edwards / blossomingwidow.com shall not be held liable for any reason.