The fear of going out in public, because one thinks that they will suffer from panic attacks and be embarrassed, humiliated, or ridiculed by others is called ‘agoraphobia’. Can this condition be treated holistically or naturally, without the use of medicines? Find out in this article.
Agoraphobia is a condition which is characterized by anxiety and stress. This is because a person suffering from agoraphobia is constantly worrying that he/she will suffer from panic attacks in a public place and that there will be no one to help him/her, or understand what is happening. Agoraphobics fear that people around will make fun of them, or they will end up doing something that will make them extremely embarrassed when the attack has passed.
The sufferers of agoraphobia are so scared of losing control, specially in unknown places, that they prefer to be in their ‘comfort zone’ when the attack strikes, to ensure that they are either alone or with people who know what they are likely to do at the onset of an attack. So much so, that they prefer being in their comfort zone all the time, since they do not have any idea when the panic attack will hit.
Eventually, this leads to a fear of stepping out of the house, and the sufferers of agoraphobia then isolate themselves from the outside world, and lose contact with their near and dear ones. This lifestyle, needless to say, is unhealthy, and can produce negative and long-lasting psychological effects.
What can be done to remove this fear? Are tablets and drugs the only solution, or are there any natural remedies for curing agoraphobia? The answer is yes, there are. A few of them have been listed below. But before that, let us try to understand why natural remedies are preferable as compared to drugs.
Natural Remedies – Why You Should Opt for Them
Natural remedies are usually very effective without really having any side effects. While medicines and drugs can help alleviate the symptoms, more often than not, what they do is help in masking the symptoms. The root cause is not addressed, which means that although the symptoms reduce or disappear for a while, they reappear once the medication is discontinued and its effect wears off. Natural remedies are very useful in addressing the root cause of the symptoms, and this helps prevent relapse. Also, the chances that you will have any side effects due to these remedies is next to nothing, as compared to other medicines and drugs.
Natural Remedies to Treat Agoraphobia
Given below are a few natural remedies for agoraphobia. Some people may be allergic to particular herbs, and in such cases, it is advisable to consult your physician before opting for any of them.
Passion flower is used extensively to treat anxiety disorders. These flowers have antianxiety properties, as well as a sedative effect, which make them very effective in calming someone who is hyperventilating due to anxiety. The stems as well as the leaves of passion flower can be used as a treatment for agoraphobia.
Skullcap is effective for a range of symptoms related to anxiety. It reduces hysteria, tension, stress, anxiety, restlessness, spasms due to nervousness, etc. It calms, nourishes and strengthens the nervous system. It slows down the nervous responses and thus, helps in soothing frayed nerves and in calming the brain and body. It also helps in treating insomnia, and is known to have anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties.
Chamomile is a multifaceted natural remedy for stress. Besides being a great remedy for reducing stress, chamomile also has other properties like sedative effects and antispasmodic effects. It is also a popular nervine (remedy that soothes the nervous system, thereby reducing stress, and the chances of a nervous breakdown in an extremely stressed person), and is known to aid sleeping.
This herb contains valepotriates, which are active ingredients that bind to the benzodiazepine receptors found in the brain, thus having an effect similar to Valium. It helps reduce the anxiety levels in a person. It is a very effective muscle relaxant. Like chamomile, it also aids in sleeping, but care should be taken to not use it if one is depressed and/or suffering from thyroid disorders.
Lemon balm is quite a potent antianxiety herb and it also has sedative properties. Lemon balm relaxes the person when he is overanxious and calms him down. It also reduces the heart rate to a normal level and soothes restlessness and irritability. The aroma of lemon balm helps reduce palpitations, blood pressure, digestive spasms, nausea and rapid breathing. However, this herb should be avoided by those who suffer from hypothyroidism.
Similar to Valerian, Kava also contains active ingredients that bind to the benzodiazepine receptors in the brain, producing relaxing and tranquilizing effects on the person taking it. This too, is a very potent herb and one should consult a medical practitioner before taking it. Also, it is important to remember not to take this herb if you are already on another medication.
Lavender is another nervine, which is extremely effective in reducing the anxiety and stress that an agoraphobic goes through, when he has to venture out of his comfort zone. It helps to decrease the cortisol levels in the body and thus, helps in relaxation. Merely smelling this herb can reduce the anxiety levels, restlessness and agitation, making the person feel calm, relaxed and more in control of their feelings and responses to the feelings.
St. John’s Wort
A potent nervine, St. John’s Wort reduces the levels of norepinephrine, which is a hormone produced by our body to combat stress, and helps in relaxation and in reducing stress and anxiety. When stress and anxiety increase to really high levels, this hormone is released in the body. But too much of this hormone in your blood can have negative health effects, so it is necessary to break down the excess quantities. This is exactly what this tonic herb does. Some people are known to be allergic to this herb, so it is best to ask your doctor before taking it.
These are a few of the many natural remedies that can be used to treat anxiety and give the person some control over his/her thoughts and actions. Although all of them are natural, they have to be taken in proper doses for them to be effective. Also, most of these herbs do not work well in combinations, so do not try different combinations without professional consultation.
Do NOT combine the herbs with any other medication. It is always a safer bet to talk and discuss your treatment preferences and options with a doctor who has your entire medical history, and who will be able to guide you properly. Agoraphobia can be a severely debilitating condition as it progresses, so sooner treatment is sought, better are the chances of a quick and complete recovery.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is in no way promoting these herbs, or advising the reader to use any of the natural remedies mentioned above, without consulting a doctor or health care professional.