Anxiety is a complex combination of feeling apprehension, dread, fear, nervousness and worry, in anticipation of problems or misfortune. If you’ve ever had to speak or perform in front of a large group of people, you’ve probably felt a little anxiety. Most people do. In fact, it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious when facing difficult, dangerous or even challenging situations.
However, for about 18% of the adult population (about 40 million people), anxiety is something far more serious and persistent. These people have anxiety disorders, which are often severe enough to interfere with family relations, socializing and work. Anxiety disorders include panic disorder (panic attacks), phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
Severe anxiety can manifest as shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat or heart palpitations, muscle tension, trembling, insomnia, irritability, chest pain, cold sweats, feeling faint and general feelings of stress. These symptoms are bad enough, but to make matters worse, anxiety contributes to the development of other health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, and pain-related disorders such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. There is also a high correlation between anxiety and addiction to alcohol, smoking and drug use.
While there are drugs that can reduce anxiety, these medications, like all drugs, can have serious side effects. They also fail to correct some of the underlying causes of the anxiety. Fortunately, there are herbs, nutritional supplements and other natural methods that can reduce anxiety and assist people with anxiety disorders in having a normal life.
In this month’s Sunshine Sharing Hour, we’ll discuss what anxiety is, the major types of anxiety disorders and some of the natural remedies that can help.