It’s normal to feel a little apprehensive from time to time. Let’s face it–life can be stressful. All of us worry about things like financial problems, work, family struggles, or health. But sometimes anxiety can become so severe that completing simple, everyday tasks is difficult. When this occurs, it may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder.
People with generalized anxiety disorder worry about many things, even when there is little reason to worry. Their stress level is so high that it interferes with their relationships and day-to-day activities.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America. Approximately 6.8 million adults suffer from generalized anxiety disorder and women are twice as likely to be affected as men. It often starts during adolescence and symptoms tend to magnify during stressful periods in life.
Signs of Anxiety in Women
- Constant feelings of worry and tension
- Worrying about simple, everyday tasks
- Inability to relax
- Unrealistic view of problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Restlessness and being “on edge” or easily startled
- Feeling tired all the time
- Irritability and mood swings
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Frequent headaches
- Depression symptoms
- Muscle tension, aches and body pains
- Trembling or twitching
- Difficulty swallowing
- Feeling light-headed or short of breath
- Stomach pains and nausea
- Feeling the need to go to the bathroom frequently
Medications to Treat Anxiety
Common medications used to treat generalized anxiety disorder include benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan. The problem with these medications is that they are highly addictive. When a person becomes dependent on these chemicals, they can develop further psychological and physical distress as well as experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the medicine. Sometimes, antidepressants are prescribed to treat chronic anxiety and panic attacks. These medications include Paxil, Effexor, Prozac, Lexapro, and Zoloft. However, these medications can cause a slew of side effects and often are ineffective.
Lavender Oil is an Effective Non-Drug Alternative
Lavender is an herb that has been proven effective by leading researchers as a natural remedy for treating signs of anxiety. In a study published in the journal Phytomedicine, lavender oil was shown to be just as effective as the pharmaceutical drug lorazepam (Ativan). Furthermore, lavender oil showed no sedative effects (a common side effect of lorazepam) and it had no potential for drug abuse or dependence. Other studies have confirmed the anti-anxiety properties of lavender as well as many other medicinal benefits:
- Lavender helps with restlessness, nervousness and insomnia.[4,5]
- Lavender helps with depression symptoms.[6,7]
- Lavender can be used for painful and inflammatory conditions including migraines and joint pain.
- Lavender can help people who suffer from agitation related to dementia.[9,10]
How to Take Lavender Oil to Calm Nervousness and Other Signs of Anxiety
Lavender essential oil in liquid format, lavender leaves and lavender flowers are more readily available than capsules and can be added to bath water. Six drops of lavender oil extract or 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dried lavender flowers may be added to bath water. You can prepare lavender tea using 1 to 2 tbsp. of whole, dried flowers for each cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes, and use a tea infuser or strain before drinking.
Lavender used as aromatherapy or by mouth may increase the amount of drowsiness when taken in combination with pharmaceutical medications such as benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Valium), narcotics such as codeine, or certain antidepressants. If you are taking prescription medications, consultation with a healthcare practitioner is strongly advised.
Other Natural Remedies for Depression and Anxiety
The effects of stress on your mental and physical health are being studied more intensively these days. Anxiety can be considered a type of stress response, typically involving a sense of fear, dread, or apprehension. Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT can be very effective for reducing anxiety by correcting the bioelectrical short-circuiting that causes your body's reactions—without adverse effects. You can think of EFT as a tool for "reprogramming" your circuitry, and it works on both real and imagined stressors.
EFT is a form of psychological acupressure, based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture for more than 5,000 years to treat physical and emotional ailments, but without the invasiveness of needles. Following a 2012 review in the American Psychological Association's journal Review of General Psychology, EFT is moving closer to meeting the criteria for an "evidence-based treatment."
Recent research has shown that EFT significantly increases positive emotions, such as hope and enjoyment, and decreases negative emotional states, including anxiety. EFT is particularly powerful for treating stress and anxiety because it specifically targets your amygdala and hippocampus, which are the parts of your brain that help you decide whether or not something is a threat.
Although you can learn the basics of EFT on your own, if you or someone you know has serious anxiety disorder, and you are interested in learning more about EFT you can book an appointment with Chloë → here. She is a professionally trained EFT practitioner.
What It's Like to Have 'High-Functioning' Anxiety
This kind of high functioning, isn't healthy, isn't success. Isn't sustainable. There is help, and there is good living beyond the anxiety. I know, I've been there and I've recovered.
 Anxiety Disorders Association of America.