Anxiety to explain in simple terms is a combination of worry and nervousness. There are several types of anxiety such as driving anxiety, speech anxiety etc. Though anxiety appears to be a temporary state of nervousness of mind, its effect can lead to complications such as depression, psycho-somatic disorders etc.
Anxiety is a burning problem of the present era. Busy life, competition, eager to beat the challenges, curiosity about another’s profession, life, status, earning, presentation or outlook etc are the prime factors causing anxiety. Micro-families, staying away from the native, weekend parties, short challenges etc too contribute to anxiety.
People are trying hard to overcome these particular complaints through various trace elemental supplements and nutritional supports. Developed countries emphasise different kinds of mental exercises and relaxing technologies, may be instrumental or non- instrumental. Even though Yoga– Pranayama – Asana– Reiki– Pranic healing etc support a lot in the management of anxiety, the role of Ayurvedic medicines remains unnoticed.
Ayurveda emphasises that food habits play a significant role in the origin of anxiety (Anavasthita chitttatva).
Table of Contents
Fear of doing something out of the box, fear of getting out of the comfort zone
Spicy food (Vidahi Ahara), warm and penetrative food (Ushna Tikshna Ahara)
Pungent, sour and salty food (Katu, Amla, Lavana Ahara)
Deep fried eatables (Bharjita ahara)
Coloured and odd looking (presentation) food, Junk foods, aerated drinks, colas (Chitra vichitra Ahara)
Dry food (Ruksha Ahara, Yata yama Ahara)
Over indulgence in unrelated matters (Abhicharaja)
Interest in others life and attitudes (Anyena saha viparita bandha) etc – Love affairs, business commitments, fear of unknown.
Origin of anxiety
Due to the above said factors, both Vayu and Pitta are aggravated and it leads to Anavasthitatva (instability) of the Doshas in their sites. Thus it leads to altered or extravagant functions of the sense organs. Ultimately, the unstable mind stimulates the sense organs to perceive or overindulge in their respective sensual perceptions. Once if it is followed, the attitudes are developed continuously to follow the same. At the end, the mind loses its normal sense perception and the person is excited. Thus anxiety is resulted.
Breath easy – Whenever you feel anxiety, try to have rhythmic breathing. Take deep breaths. It helps to relieve anxiety.
Say to yourself – in times of anxiety, say to yourself, “it is okay, it is alright, nothing to worry” repeatedly.
Self message exercise: Daily when you get up and before going to bed at night, sit erect on the bed, keep right palm over the heart area and say this ten times – “ Day by day in every way I am getting better and better in overcoming all anxieties.” This is a technique invented by Divine park.
Yoga and pranayama If you have access to a yoga teacher, go for pranayama and yoga. It certainly helps.
Meditation is really useful, whatever your religion is.
Friend in need – talk to your friend, who is positive and who encourages you in all aspects.
Hobbies – Develop some healthy hobbies that interests you. Blog writing on you favourite topic, collection of antiques, learning a form of art such as dance, music etc helps. Please remember – hobbies instill confidence.
Get up early – waking up early gives you time to plan for the day and instill confidence. Try it once.
Take time to relax – Watch comedy shows on TV, spend quality time with family and friends.
Facebook anxiety – Please remember, over involvement in social media might also cause anxiety. Sometimes, pressure to grab readers / fans / followers / friends to twitter, Facebook, blogs can also make you feel anxious and nervous.
Ayurvedic treatment such as Shirodhara and medicines with herbs like ashwagandha etc are very helpful to overcome anxiety, provided they are advised under expert guidance.
Consider consulting a psychiatrist / psychotherapist for help.
These are 12 of the many important and effective ways to fight anxiety. Please remember, anxiety can be fought by adopting these simple techniques and in all cases, medicine / supplements might not be required. Perseverance and practice are two essential tools to fight anxiety. Cheers!
First line of treatment in any kind of psychological illness is assurance (Ashwasana). Proper assurance helps to correct the false believes if any, and modifies the way of thinking. Also it builds confidence in the individual and hence anxiety is reduced.
Correction of attitudes towards life, family and profession carries much importance. Reading self help books, reading biographies of successful people such as Steve Jobs, listening to music, friendly discussions, picnic or short trips, group discussions with similar minded people etc. contributes good benefits.
De-centralising the self ideas helps to seek suggestions of the fellow people. This reduces the mistakes committed due to anxiety and reduces the mis-concepts related to the self. It also gives the moral support in the routine steps of life and profession.
Mental and physical exercises which soothes the mind contributes significantly. As discussed in the beginning, specific Yogic postures (learnt from Yoga experts), Asana, Pranayama, Reiki, Pranic healing, self hypnosis etc. are much beneficial in this regard.
Medicines which calm the mind, like Vata- Pitta pacifying drugs are highly beneficial in this respect.
herbs for anxiety
Brahmi-Indian penny wort
Ayurvedic medicines for anxiety
Saraswatarishta – improves immunity, voice tone and strength.
Saraswata Churna – used in treatment of psychosis, depression, low intelligence level etc.
Brahma Rasayana – It rejuvenates the body and fights against tiredness, fatigue, early grey hairs, wrinkling (Skin rejuvenation and hair rejuvenation).
Chandanasava – used in the treatment of spermatorrhoea. It is also used to improve strength.
Ashwagandharishta – used in the treatment of sexual disorders, depression etc
Triphaladi Taila – Head massage- used in the treatment of headache, hair fall, grey hairs, etc.
Chandanadi Taila – Head massage – It is a natural coolant oil. It is used to relieve burning sensation, dizziness, etc.
Manjishtadi Taila – Head massage – used in the treatment of headache and eye diseases.
Brahmi Vati – used in the treatment of depression, blood pressure etc.
Manasamitra Vati – used in Ayurvedic treatment of psychiatric conditions, to improve intelligence, speech problems, etc.
Mansyadi Kashaya – used in insomnia, depression and anxiety
Kalyanaka Ghrta etc.
Home remedies for anxiety
10 g Ashwagandha Churna , 5- dry grapes and 5- leaves of Brahmi are added together and decoction is prepared. This is filtered and one pinch of Cardamom powder is added. This is administered daily during bed time. This reduces anxiety significantly.
10 ml of Brahmi Swarasa is taken. 2 ml of honey and 5 ml ghee are added and mixed well. This is taken by licking early in the morning, in empty stomach. This helps to reduce anxiety.
Anxiety Disorder as per Ayurveda
By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Chittodvega is a state of anxious or stressful mind. Other meanings of udvega too are applicable but stress and anxiety are more appropriate and popular correlations to this term. Chitta = mind
Udvega = stress, anxiety, distress, agitation, fear, sad
Chittodvega has been mentioned as one of the mind disorders by master Charaka. We can find this term being mentioned amongst the mind disorders in Charaka Vimana Sthana Chapter 6 – verse 5.
Rajas and Tamas are the mental doshas. The diseases caused by these doshas of mind are –
- Kama – lust
- Krodha – anger
- Lobha – greed
- Moha – ignorance (hallucination)
- Irshya – jealousy
- Maana – arrogance
- Mada – intoxication
- Shoka – grief
- Chittodvega – anxiety
- Bhaya – fear
- Harsha – excitement etc
Read – Anxiety Tips, Ayurvedic Treatment, Herbs, Home Remedies
Chittodvega or Chintodvega?
Some have considered the word chittodvega mentioned by Charaka as chintodvega. If it is chintodvega, it can be split into chinta and udvega. These two will then be different pathological entities. Here, chinta becomes – excessive thinking or worry and udvega still mean anxiety.
Immaterial of the term being ‘chittodvega’ or ‘udvega’ both define the anxious state of the mind. Even if we detach the chitta from chittodvega, udvega means anxiety and anxiety is related to mind. Therefore chitta will be invariably tagged with udvega. The mind is the residence for mental disorders and anxiety is one of the pathological disorder which manifests in mind.
Read – 16 Factors To Watch For A Healthy Mind And Body
The meaning of the word chittodvega or udvega relates it to the explanation of the below mentioned mind disorders –
- Anxiety Disorders
- Anxiety Neurosis
Symptoms of Chittodvega
The meaning of chittodvega is itself the chief symptom. Anxious, stressed or distressed state of mind is the chief symptom of the disease.
The symptoms of the above said conditions i.e. anxiety disorders and anxiety neurosis are collectively present in Chittodvega.
Read – Best Natural Medicine For Anxiety: Courage
Pathogenesis of Chittodvega
Chittodvega is the effect of the mind being afflicted by predominantly vitiated rajo guna quality. The rajo guna put into imbalance by the foods, activities and thoughts which bring about this disturbance will make the mind anxious and distressed.
Vata too is rich in rajo guna and is driven by that force. Therefore vata imbalance in due course of time would afflict the rajo guna of the mind and put it into imbalance leading to chittodvega.
Read – Vata Dosha – Mastermind Behind All Body And Mind Activities
Causes of Chittodvega
- Foods and activities putting the rajo guna into a state of imbalance
- Foods and activities which tend to imbalance vata – most of the symptoms of chittodvega are those of imbalance of vata, therefore vata is invariably involved in the causation of chittodvega. Pitta association too may be seen at times.
- Etiological factors for contamination of mind carrying channels
- Etiological factors of heart disease (heart is the seat of mind)
Treatment of chittodvega
Primary treatment principles would be the same as the ‘general principles of treating mind disorders’. They include –
- Dhee – proper and skilful use of / training the intellect
- Dhairya – seeding courage in one’s mind
- Atmadi Vijnanam – to make one to realize the importance of ‘self worth’ – counseling
Read – Counselling – Types, Benefits, Myths And Facts
The treatment principles of chittodvega would focus towards –
- Nidana parivarjana – avoidance of etiological factors
- Treatment principles of contaminated mind carrying channels
- Treatment to balance vata, pitta and rajo guna and enhance sattva guna
- Treatment principles of psychosis (unmada) and epilepsy (apasmara)
Other effective treatment principles –
- External therapies like shirodhara and other therapies done on the scalp – murdni taila
- Nasal medication
- Therapeutic purgation and enemas
- Daivavyapashraya – divine remedies like penance, meditation, prayers, sacrificial rituals, fire sacrifices, etc
- Sattvavajaya – mind strengthening therapies
- Yoga – Virasana, Tadasana, Trikonasana, Matsyasana (Fish Pose), Balasana, Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose)
- Medhya Rasayanas – anti aging and brain – mind health promoting medicines.
Anxiety Disorders – Modern Concept
Anxiety is a normal and common reaction to stress. It is beneficial at times and harmful for health at times. On the beneficial side, anxiety alerts us to certain dangers or dangerous situations which we might tentatively confront and helps us to prepare and pay attention to it.
Anxiety disorders – Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders. They affect approximately 30% of adults at some part of their lives. These disorders are harmful for our health. They differ from normal feelings of anxiousness or nervousness. They involve excessive fear and anxiety. At the same time, these disorders can be treated as there are many treatment options to deal with them. Women are likely to experience these disorders more than men.
Stats of kinds of anxiety disorders in (U.S.) adults
|Sl No||Type of anxiety disorder||Percentage of adults sufferingfrom this condition annually|
|2||Social anxiety disorder||7%|
|5||Generalized anxiety disorder||2%|
|6||Separation anxiety disorder||0.9-1.9%|
Criteria for diagnosing anxiety disorder
To diagnose a given mental condition as anxiety disorder, the fear or anxiety must –
-be out of proportion to the situation
-inappropriate to age
-hinder normal functioning ability
Interesting points about Anxiety
Anxiety most of the time is ‘anticipation of a future concern’. It is associated with muscle tensions and avoidance behavior.
Interesting points about Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders make people avoid situations that cause or worsen their symptoms. Sometimes this helps. Anxiety disorders have a bad impact and can affect personal relationships, performance at job and school life.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Generalized anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder
Separation anxiety disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Excessive and persistent worry and tension which is ongoing
Worries are so worrisome that they interfere with ones daily activities
Association of physical symptoms like restlessness, easy fatigue, muscle tensions, difficulty in sleeping, difficulty in concentrating
People keep worrying on daily affairs and activities like personal and family health, responsibilities at home and office, appointments and small issues like chores, paying bills, catching bus or cab at time, repairs of vehicles and at home etc
The main symptom of this disorder is occurrence of recurrent panic attacks. Panic attacks consist of physical and psychological distress. These attacks may either be expected or come in an unexpected way, without any reason. It is generally found to occur in people of 20-24 age groups. It may also occur in association with other mental disorders such as PTSD or depression.
The below mentioned symptoms occur in varying combinations in different individuals while they have a panic attack –
Pounding heart / chest pain
Shortness of breath
Feeling as if being choked / being smothered
Numbness / tingling sensation
Feeling detached from everything / everyone
Fear as if losing control over things
Fear of dying
Nausea / abdominal pains
The symptoms of panic attacks are so severe that people start believing that they are having a heart attack or some kind of life threatening illness. They may go to the extent of seeking medical help or visiting an emergency section of a hospital.
Phobias / Specific Phobia
Phobia means a kind of fear. Specific phobia is the presence of excessive and persistent fear which is generally not harmful to others. There may be fear of –
specific object, situation or activity
Most people suffering from phobia are aware of their unusual fears. They know that their fear is excessive and not necessary. In spite of that they cannot overcome their fears. The fears are so much that they create immense distress. Some people go to extremes of avoiding what they fear – like speaking in public, fear of flying, fear of spiders etc.
Agoraphobia means ‘fear of being in certain situations’. These are the situations from where –people will feel it difficult escaping or being in situations which are embarrassing or situations of panic wherein help might not be available
The fear factor in agoraphobia is out of sorts and out of proportions to the actual situation. It usually lasts for 6 months or even more duration. The fear causes problems in normal functioning. These people experience fear in 2 or more of the below mentioned situations –
– using public transport
– being in open spaces
– being in enclosed places
– standing in a line
– being in a crowd
– being alone, outside home
– avoids situations which might bring in fear
– feels the need of a companion
– endures with intense fear or anxiety
Criteria for diagnosis – A given condition of mental issue can be diagnosed as agoraphobia when the fear
– is out of proportions to a given situation (usual and normal for others)
– intensively upsetting in nature
– significantly interferes with normal daily activities of the person
Social Anxiety Disorder / Social Phobia
People with disorders have significant anxiety and discomfort. The anxiety or discomfort is all about being humiliated, embarrassed, rejected or looked down on in social interactions. As a result, these people will try avoiding such situations or endure it with great quantities of anxiety.
Examples- extreme fear of meeting new people, eating or drinking in public places or fear of public speaking
These symptoms will cause problems with day to day functioning. The symptoms will stay for at least 6 months.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
People with this disorder will suffer from fear of getting separated from people with whom they are very much attached. This anxiety is beyond what is normal for a person’s age. This stays for at least 4 weeks in children and persists for at least 6 months in adults. When it persists, it causes problems with day to day functioning.
These people are –
– constantly worried about losing people who are closest to them
– reluctant / refuse to go out of home without that person who is closest to them
– refuse to sleep away from home without people who are closest to them
– refuse to be without that person who is closest to them
– may experience nightmares about getting separated from that person who is closest to them
Physical symptoms of distress in these conditions will often develop during childhood. The same symptoms might get carried into adulthood.
Risk factors for anxiety disorders
The actual causes of anxiety disorders are currently unknown. The causes might involve a combination of –
Psychological factors and
These disorders are often seen to run in families. This suggests that a combo of genes and environmental stress can cause these anxiety disorders.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Anxiety Disorders
The doctor will first examine thoroughly and also interrogate so as to rule out the physical problems which might cause similar symptoms as found in anxiety disorders.
A mental health professional might help in the best possible way once the diagnosis of anxiety disorder has been precisely made. It is also true that many people with anxiety disorders will not seek medical help. There is also no realization or awareness on the part of the people having anxiety symptoms that they have an illness and there are effective treatments to combat these illnesses.
Most of the anxiety disorders respond to psychotherapy or talk therapy, along with suitable medications. These treatments can also be combined or tried individually.
CBT – Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a type of talk therapy. This will help a person to learn different ways of thinking, reacting and behaving. This will make the person feel less anxious about the same things and situations.
Medications will not cure these disorders but can provide symptomatic relief and can be combined with the above said therapies. Anti-anxiety medications / anxiolytics and antidepressants are the most commonly used medications for treatment of anxiety disorder. Beta-blockers are found to control physical symptoms of anxiety sometimes.
Self help –
- One can try stress management techniques and meditation and Yoga to help cope up with their symptoms. When these measures are inculcated in the treatment program, they will help in making the treatments more effective.
- In-person or online support groups will also help you to share your experiences and to cope up with anxiety disorders.
- Awareness of the disease, its variants and symptoms will help one to combat anxiety disorders in an effective way and also to help others suffering from the same.
- Caffeine may be avoided
- Keeping in touch with doctor
Anxiety disorders are often associated with one or more of the below mentioned conditions –
PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
ASD – Acue Stress Disorder
OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder