The Holistic Way to Worrying Less? Homeopathic Medicine as Treatment for Anxiety
Homeopathy is a complementary medicine that offers a holistic alternative to treating illnesses. Based on the belief that the body can cure itself, this medical system uses small amounts of natural substances to stimulate the body’s healing process for certain health conditions. This includes psychological disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and stress.
“Like Cures Like” Principle
Homeopathy stems from the principle of “like cures like.” It is the mindset that a substance that causes certain symptoms when taken in large amounts, can — in smaller doses — treat an illness with similar symptoms.
For example, drinking too much coffee causes agitation and sleeplessness. Once you apply the “like cures like” principle, you can use coffee to treat people suffering from sleeplessness and agitation.
The application of the “like cures like” principle on stress and anxiety treatments depends on the homeopathic practitioner’s recommendation. Symptoms of anxiety do not follow a set pattern and vary from one patient to another. As a result, the medication and dosages are also different. The practitioner will determine the cause of the disorder and the type of anxiety before they recommend treatment.
Homeopathic for Anxiety: The Debate
Homeopathy is a difficult field to study in terms of medical research. Skeptics of the practice attribute successful homeopathic treatment results to the placebo effect (i.e., patients believe the medication will help, and this belief triggers a healing response).
There are a few studies that support homeopathy medication’s ability to treat anxiety. A 2012 study from the journal Homeopathy reported that pulsatilla, a homeopathic drug, had anti-anxiety effects on mice. This study, however, used animals instead of humans for test subjects.
Due to the need for better research that verifies its claims, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning against using homeopathy to treat serious illnesses. According to the organization, homeopathy shouldn’t replace a doctor’s recommendation. It can, however, treat mild anxiety and complement other medical approaches.
Popular Homeopathic Remedies for Anxiety & Panic Attacks
Aconitum napellus (also known as aconite) is the ideal remedy for sudden panic attacks accompanied by strong fear. The symptoms of this form of anxiety include shortness of breath, strong palpitations, and flushing of the face. Aconite calms your anxiety and panic attacks by lowering your adrenaline levels in an instant.
Aconite is useful for treating sudden symptoms after an unexpected event, such as a car accident or earthquake. It also remedies ongoing anxiety due to past traumatic events.
Homeopathy practitioners recommend Argentum nitricum (also known as silver nitrate) for patients suffering from anxiety due to uncertainty or anticipation. This medication relieves stage fright or apprehension accompanied by feelings of hurriedness or agitation. Silver nitrate, in smaller doses, also treats disorientation and feelings of helplessness.
This homeopathic remedy is from the calcium in oyster shells and is a useful remedy for anxiety due to drastic changes in plans. People with this form of anxiety have a fear of breaking out of their comfort zones. Calcarea treats the following symptoms: unresponsiveness, withdrawal, indifference, and despair. It also keeps the patient’s behavior from escalating into an obsessive one.
This remedy is ideal for people dealing with anxiety due to feelings of inadequacy. Patients with this type of anxiety often avoid crowds, experience agoraphobia, and are prone to fainting. Gelsemium relieves apprehension accompanied by weakness, headaches, dizziness, and trembling. It also helps patients recall memories and focus better.
Homeopathic practitioners recommend Ignatia to individuals suffering from anxiety due to grief or loss. People with this type of anxiety are prone to mood swings, localized headaches, and hypersensitivity to noises, light, emotions, and pain. Homeopaths don’t usually recommend Ignatia for generalized anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or panic disorder.
Patients likely to respond to this treatment suffer from a lack of self-confidence and experience stress-related anxiety. They become self-conscious and are easily intimidated by people they perceive as dominating. Symptoms of this anxiety type include digestive trouble, claustrophobia, bloating, and excessive craving for sweets.
People with childlike anxiety require constant reassurance and support. If the stress due to the anxiety causes the person to feel inadequate, pulsatilla is the go-to homeopathic remedy. It treats crankiness, irritability, and social withdrawal due to stress.
Most homeopathic anxiety remedies are safe to use. Those that do contain toxic ingredients are diluted to ensure safety. Keep in mind, however, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate homeopathic medication.
Homeopathy is a relatively safe alternative for individuals who wish to relieve their anxiety naturally. If this holistic alternative works for you, feel free to continue using it. On the other hand, if you are having doubts about the treatment or want to try it for the first time, talk to your doctor about it first.