Monday, August 3, 2009

A Holistic Approach to Anxiety & Panic Attacks

  • Depression, alcohol abuse, diabetes, and thyroid disease, among other conditions, can cause anxiety and should be ruled out or treated.
  • If significant anger or a low level of self-esteem is part of your symptoms, you may have an underlying depression and may benefit from consulting with a physician or psychotherapist.
  • Psychotherapy can be an important tool for anxiety. The combination of therapy and drugs or therapy and yoga is likely to be more effective than either alone.
  • Although tranquilizers in the Valium family are often prescribed for anxiety, due to side effects including drowsiness and addiction, when drugs are needed, most experts favor antidepressants such as Prozac (fluoxetine) or Zoloft (sertraline).
  • News reports, particularly television news, can fuel anxiety. Instead of watching the news for half an hour a day, do yoga instead and see if you feel better.
  • Rolf suggests cutting back on processed foods, junk food, and chemicals that increase the activation of your nervous system. In particular, he advises reducing or eliminating caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and nicotine. Rolf also favors well-cooked as opposed to raw foods in people with anxiety.
(Rolf Sovik began studying yoga with Swami Rama in the early 1970s. At his guru's suggestion, he pursued a doctorate in clinical psychology, writing a master's thesis comparing cognitive therapy to yoga, and completing a research project on the use of breathing in the treatment of anxiety. Rolf practices as a psychotherapist, teaches yoga, and with his wife, Mary Gail, is codirector of the Himalayan Institute of Buffalo, New York. He is the coauthor with Sandra Anderson of the book Yoga: Mastering the Basics, and author of Moving Inward: The Journey to Meditation.)
  • The omega-3 fatty acids found in some deepwater fish and in flaxseed oil appear to reduce anxiety.
  • German chamomile, tincture of passion flower, supplemental B vitamins, and magnesium are safe remedies that appear to have antianxiety properties. Aromatherapy with such fragrances as lavender has been shown to be calming.
  • Other measures to combat anxiety include acupuncture and regular aerobic exercise.

Source from Yoga as Medicine - The Yogic Prescription for Health & Healing by Timonthy McCall, M.D.