Anxiety: symptoms, causes, all remedies

Anxiety: symptoms, causes, all remedies

Anxiety, anticipated worry, often without a specific reason that invades our thoughts and does not allow us to fully experience the “here and now”


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Anxiety is a widespread and persistent state of tension that never leaves the sufferer.
The emotional state associated with a condition of alertness towards something external is usually characterized by an excess of worry, an exaggerated reaction with respect to the real conditions.

Let ‘s find out what it is and how to cure it .

  • What is anxiety
  • Types of anxiety
  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • Causes
  • Diagnosis
  • How to fight anxiety
  • Diet
  • Herbal remedies
  • Bach flowers
  • Chinese medicine
  • Aromatherapy
  • Homeopathy
  • Exercises


Definition of anxiety

“ The apprehensive anticipation of a future danger or negative event, accompanied by feelings of dysphoria or physical symptoms of tension. The elements exposed to risk can belong to both the internal and external world “this is the definition provided by the American Psychiatric Association (1994)

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by sensations of:

  • Voltage;
  • threat;
  • concerns;
  • physical changes, such as increased blood pressure.

People with anxiety disorders usually have circular and disturbing thoughts .
The most common physical symptoms of anxiety are:

  • Sweating;
  • trembling;
  • tachycardia;
  • vertigo / dizziness.

Anxiety may be  due to an organic disease and is different in this case from situational anxiety. Chronic anxiety, on the other hand, is still treated with  long-term drug therapy with hypnotic-sedative drugs, possibly associated with psycho-therapy.

Recent studies also show that prolonged states of stress and anxiety not properly managed erode our telomeres , favoring aging .


Types of anxiety

According to the guidance provided in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fifth edition; DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013), anxiety disorders differ from normal developmental fear or anxiety because they are excessive or persistent (typically lasting 6 months or more) than the stage of development.

Several types of anxiety disorders are classified:

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder feel anxious almost all the time, sometimes without understanding the cause.
  2.  Phobias : A phobia is a realistic or exaggerated fear of a specific object, activity or situation that actually presents little or no danger. The most common phobias include the fear of animals such as snakes and spiders, the fear of flying, and the fear of heights. 
  3. Social Phobia : Social anxiety disorder can be confused with extreme shyness.
  4. Obsessive Compulsive Anxiety (OCD): It is characterized by unwanted thoughts or behaviors that seem impossible to stop or control.
  5. Separation Anxiety : Separation anxiety is a normal part of childhood development.
  6. Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder: Panic disorder is characterized by repeated unpredictable and often unmanageable panic attacks.

Symptoms of anxiety

According to data from the WHO  (World Health Organization), the number of people who experience anxiety with a significant frequency amounts to about 400 million.

Among the symptoms of anxiety we find manifestations that can affect one or more organs simultaneously and give rise to:

  • Intestinal disorders; 
  • tachycardia;
  • extrasystole;
  • tremors;
  • ringing in the ears;
  • feeling of suffocation.

Stomach cramps and weakness are also other conditions that can accompany anxious states.

Causes of Anxiety

Understanding the underlying causes of a mental disorder is not always easy.

Anxiety can certainly arise from external reasons such as severe stress , but many times there doesn’t seem to be a trigger. In general, however, it is possible to identify three main types of factors that affect people, causing more or less severe anxiety states:

  • Intense lifestyles (hectic pace of work, psychotropic substance abuse, etc.).
  • Hereditary genetic factors.
  • More or less natural imbalances of chemicals present in the brain (noradrenaline and serotonin).


It frequently happens that anxiety generates irrational fears, attacks and uncontrollable states of phobia that have different names depending on what turns into the triggering cause of anxiety (from the classic agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces, to arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, up to amatophobia, fear of dust, or misophobia, fear of being “contaminated” by contact with foreign bodies, more often by human contact).

DAP  (  panic disorder ) is very common  , while  GAD  (generalized anxiety disorder) is the condition of persistent anxiety that generates motor restlessness, agitation, sleep disturbances. Anxiety also characterizes obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder . 

How to fight anxiety

It is not easy to defeat anxiety, but it is possible to calm anxiety by using more tools that improve our lifestyle, starting with nutrition.

Nutrition in case of anxiety

In anxiety, useful foods are those that can rebalance the nervous system. There are four amino acids that are important for this ailment:

  • Histidine: promotes a calming and relaxing effect on the mental level
  • Tryptophan: precursor of serotonin . Anxious people often have a deficiency of serotonin in the blood, tryptophan together with the B vitamins and vitamin C becomes important in maintaining mental and emotional balance
  • Glycine: acts at the level of the spinal cord by controlling the motor alteration experienced by anxious people
  • Taurine: contained in the central nervous system

Histidine, Tryptophan and Glycine are contained in proteins of animal and vegetable origin , with a higher percentage in soy .

Taurine is an amino acid that the body is able to synthesize itself. Equally important are the B vitamins contained in whole grains and in brewer’s yeast , which contain chromium which is also useful in fighting anxiety.

Vegetables such as lettuce , green beans , and zucchini help calm the central nervous system .

These nutritional associations help calm anxiety and irritability:

  • Boiled potatoes : cooked in a saucepan and covered with water to which oil, salt, chopped parsley and garlic will be added, they have  potassium , an essential mineral for the proper functioning of nerve cells
  • Marinated courgettes : sliced ​​and fried in extra virgin olive oil, drain and season with chopped garlic and parsley
  • Pasta with pesto : prepared with fresh basil, a tablespoon of pine nuts and half a clove of garlic.
  • Risotto with lettuce : in a saucepan, sauté a lettuce cut into strips with a clove of crushed garlic in extra virgin olive oil. After seven minutes it is diluted with hot water and when it starts boiling again, the rice is added.

Instead , coffee, tea and drinks that contain caffeine should be reduced .

Herbal remedies for anxiety

It is possible to try to fight anxiety without drugs by resorting to herbal medicine and its natural remedies : using herbal teas, mother tinctures or dry extracts of plants with a sedative action by intervening on the system affected by the somatization of this disorder are methods to reduce anxiety.

In fact, if the state of anxiety manifests itself on the muscular system , chamomile and lemon balm will be very useful, which calm irritability and nervous tension, through the relaxation of the muscles. They are therefore indicated for their antispasmodic activity in gastrointestinal disorders of neurovegetative origin, such as spastic colitis, irritable bowel, gastritis and meteorism.

If anxiety is accompanied by tachycardia, palpitations, altered heart rhythms, hypertension, lime and hawthorn carrying out a hypotensive and calming action on the cardiovascular system , they are used to combat insomnia, arrhythmias, nervousness and headache, due to states of anxiety and stress.

Even in the forms of the bud derivatives, respectively Tilia tomentosa and Crataegus oxyacantha , they are effective remedies to relax very nervous people, in which they reduce emotionality, in states of agitation, anguish, and in case of insomnia of the elderly and children.

Passionflower ( Passiflora incarnata ) the aerial parts perform a sedative action on the central nervous system with tranquilizing and anxiolytic effects. The type of activity exercised by this plant is similar to synthetic sedatives, as it has receptors common to benzodiozepines, but without producing the narcotic side effects that these drugs can give. 

Learn more about herbal remedies for anxiety

Bach flowers for anxiety

Flower therapy intervenes on the different forms of anxiety states, deriving from difficult transitory moments that the individual goes through in the course of his life; in other cases the anxiety is linked to negative character attitudes of his personality. Bach flowers act as natural anxiolytics and in moments of acute anxiety the Rescue Remedy  immediately relieves major discomfort .

  • Agrimony : suitable for anxiety caused by an inner torment that we hide from others. Those who mask problems from others suffer from this by resorting to a facade of cheerfulness that is functional to avoid conflicts and discussions. The flower helps to face problems, stemming the tendency to hide them for fear of not being accepted, giving serenity and optimism in facing them.
  •  Walnut : For anxiety resulting from a stressful event or life change. The remedy helps in times when breaking old bonds, associations, and lifestyles can lead to anxiety, instability, confusion and uncertainty about the decisions made. The remedy gives perseverance, decision and determination, ability to adapt, without regrets.
  • White Chestnut : is the remedy for anxiety caused by circular thoughts, of which we cannot find a solution. It suffers those who for a period find themselves suffering their own thoughts, without being able to dominate them, ruminating relentlessly on past traumas. The flower helps keep obsessive thoughts at bay, promoting relaxation and mental peace.
  • Aspen : the remedy for restlessness and apprehension caused by indefinite fears. These individuals live with a sense of constant threat, of dire and unmotivated omens, in anticipation of an impending catastrophe, of impending doom. The remedy instills courage, helping to overcome anguish and fears.
  • Elm : the remedy for anxiety caused by excessive responsibility. Those who never hold back or, in the face of an emergency, do not let themselves be frightened by fatigue, end up asking too much of themselves. The flower helps to manage stress and energetically recharges.
  • Impatiens : the remedy for anticipation anxiety. Those who, for example, easily get impatient at traffic lights, in front of queues, live with this type of disturbance, because they are terrified of wasting their time. The subject who falls into this type often suffers from insomnia at night, mentally anticipating the commitments of the next day. The flower helps to ease the spasmodic tension and teaches to accept the natural flow of life and its times.
  • Scleranthus : for the anxiety caused by the indecision between two possibilities. The person suffering from it fluctuates from one extreme to the other, and in the grip of uncertainty, is unsure of which decision to make between two alternatives or two possibilities. The flower helps to reset the scale of values ​​and priorities in order to then arrive at a decision.
  • Red chestnut : for anxiety that something bad might happen to loved ones. This flower is useful for those who consider life a threat and, forgetting themselves and their needs, fear and care only about the health of others, with a loss of balance and serenity. The flower allows you to control anxiety and more rationally manage the overprotective that generates apprehension.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine, each organ of the body has a corresponding psychic content , which means that we also deposit mental energies inside the organism. Anxiety arises from energy imbalances, intoxications and malfunctioning of organs that damage mental energy: for example, an intoxicated liver decreases the strength of decisions.

In addition to the Liver meridians, it is useful to treat those of the Heart and Spleen. Acupuncture can be one of the methods to reduce anxiety since it mobilizes the qi , the energy of the Liver, and calms the shen , through the work on these points:

– Shen men (on the transverse crease of the wrist), which tones and regulates the cardial qi ;
– Xing jian (between the big toe and the second toe), which tones and regulates the Liver, and cools the Blood;
– Feng long (between the lower edge of the patella and the vertex of the external malleolus), which dissolves moisture, mobilizes the qi of the Spleen and Stomach, calms the shen and promotes the descent of the yang .

Acupressure , which is based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, can also be a good remedy for anxious states.

Aromatherapy for anxiety

In the treatment of anxiety, lemon balm essential oil is generally recommended : 2/3 drops of essential oil 3 times a day dissolved in a spoonful of honey.

Lavender oil , widely used in aromatherapy as it is very versatile, relaxes the body and is used in the diffuser, mixed with water or other vegetable oils, or in the bath (from 5 to 10 drops).


Homeopathic medicines that treat anxiety are divided into two categories: somatic medicines and deep-acting medicines.

Symptomatic treatment involves taking Argentum nitricum 15 CH (5 granules, 1-3 times a day), which mitigates states of agitation, and Gelsenium 9 CH (5 granules, 1-3 times a day), also recommended for eve of an important test, an intervention or an exam. In the basic treatments, Arsenicum album 15 CH (5 granules, 1-3 times a day) is used, which cures constant states of anguish, and Lachesis 15 CH (5 granules, once a day), specific for sadness, sleep, melancholy and anxiety in menopause.


It is easy for the anxious subject to reproduce more or less the same motor patterns and remain “caged” inside. In this case, the Feldenkrais method is excellent so that the body returns to experience movement in an easy and organized way.

Excellent results are also obtained with dance movement therapy and bioenergetics.

In general, the advice is to listen to yourself in the movement .

Faced with an episode of anxiety that manifests itself with tremor, tachycardia , a feeling of suffocation, it is of great help to  massage some points  of your body indicated in traditional Chinese medicine.

We suggest  two techniques : with the thumb of the right hand, massage the center of the palm of the left hand in a circular motion for about two minutes. Repeat the massage on the right. Another technique is to press with the index finger, for five minutes, the point between the two eyebrows: exert a little force in the pressure, the benefit will be immediate. 

In case of anxiety it is of great help to massage some points of your body indicated in traditional Chinese medicine.

We suggest two techniques :

  1. With the thumb of your right hand, massage the center of the palm of your left hand in a circular motion for about two minutes. Repeat the massage on the right.
  2. Another technique is to press with the index finger, for five minutes, the point between the two eyebrows: exert a little force in the pressure, the benefit will be immediate.

If, on the other hand, you want to deal with the disorder in a more systematic way , we recommend oriental practices such as integral yoga or Chinese gentle gymnastics ,  gentle gymnastics tai chi chuan and qi gong . 

Foot  reflexology  is also a useful discipline against anxiety. The foot reflexology massage, in fact, is also an excellent tool to  relax or to help yourself during an episode of  insomnia.

Those who suffer from anxiety find it difficult to enter into the perspective of stillness and meditation  (in movement or through positions maintained through the  breath )  of these disciplines, which however in the long term are of exceptional help to regain contact with the interiority, through the exploration and overcoming of body blocks.

Much depends on the empathic capacity of the teacher and the willingness of the practitioner to create the “void inside”, even if only to open a passage, in a first phase.

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