Anxiety and depression are two of the most widespread mental health concerns in our society. Both are not the same, but they often occur together. It is not unusual for people with depression to experience anxiety and people with anxiety to become depressed.
One of our worried readers posted a question to our Expert Panel about herbal remedies to deal with anxiety and depression and this is what the experts say:
Name: Anna Newton
Question: What are the best herbs and how to use for a person that suffers from anxiety attacks and depression?
Diets high in vitamins and minerals can help calm anxiety and have positive effects on the nervous system. Vitamins B stabilize the body’s lactate levels, which are responsible for various anxiety attacks. Vitamin C produces a tranquilizing effect is brought about that decreases anxiety. And Vitamin E helps in transport of oxygen to the brain. All are found in the Buddha’s Herbs Complete Multivitamin. Also Buddha’s Herbs Organic Chamomile and St. John’s Wart teas can help ease common tensions and nervous unrest by supporting emotional health.
Tanya Reid, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner
Tanya Reid is a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Idaho Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Smoking Cessation Facilitator with the American Lung Association and American Cancer Society.
Understanding the basics of both anxiety and depression:
The science of the body and mind helps us comprehend how anxiety and depression may be caused by a variety of factors. These can include nutritional, psychological, physical, emotional, environmental, social, and spiritual factors, as well as genetic tendencies or brain disease. While we often hear about a biochemical cause, meaning that certain chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters are out of balance, it is not clear if the level of neurotransmitters is the actual cause of anxiety and depression, or simply a symptom that a person is anxious or depressed.
Depression is typically characterized by low energy and temperament, low self-confidence, and loss of concentration or pleasure in generally enjoyable activities.
Warning signs you should know to pre-empt depression:
- Sleep disorders
- Shifts in appetite and weight
- Irritability or anxiety
- Chronic physical symptoms, including pain, gastrointestinal disturbances, headaches, etc.
- Loss of energy and fatigue
- Feelings of persistent sadness, guilt, hopelessness, or loss of self-worth
- Thinking difficulties, such as memory loss, challenges concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Anxiety could be a normal reaction to stress, and it can serve as a good excuse to deal with difficult situations swiftly and firmly. However, when anxiety becomes extreme, it may fall under the classification of an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorder is characterized by emotional, physical, and behavioral symptoms that create an unpleasant feeling that is typically described as discomfort, fear, or concern. The worry is commonly accompanied by physical symptoms, especially exhaustion, headaches, muscle stiffness, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, quivering, convulsing, irritability, perspiring, and hot flashes. Emotional symptoms include fear, racing thoughts, and a sensation of imminent doom. People suffering from anxiety often withdraw and seek to avoid people or certain places.
While generalized anxiety disorder is the most common, there are other anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The detailed infographic below clearly shows the what it is and is nots of depression and anxiety, as well as symptoms and treatments:
You can choose to take the road to recovery
- Take time-outs. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problems helps clear your head.
- Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks at hand.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
- Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
- Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health.
- Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
- Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
- Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, be proud of however close you get.
- Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective.
- Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
- Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
- Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
- Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify?
- Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.
We will conclude hopefully on a positive note by sharing with you ways to keep an optimistic outlook on life: