It is 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 can be 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 may not be 100% effective.
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 anxiety. In a 2010 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.
- Lavender helps with depression symptoms.
- 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.[7,8]
Lavender oil can be taken by mouth in adults, but it is difficult to find capsules at a health food store. The lavender oil capsule preparation used in the cited study is called Lavela WS 1265 and can be purchased on a retail basis here and at other online stores. Before purchasing lavender oil, you should consult with a health care professional to determine the dosage that is best for your needs. Children should not consume essential oil capsules.
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.
Other Natural Remedies for Depression and Anxiety:
- Reduce consumption of caffeine products and energy drinks. Excessive caffeine consumption can contribute to increased restlessness and anxiety.
- Exercise daily and eat a healthy diet. Try walking outside in the sunshine for 15 to 20 minutes per day and increase consumption of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
- Seek professional help from a counselor or integrative physician to discuss cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Depression and anxiety may be due to a neurochemical imbalance in the body such as serotonin deficiency or dopamine deficiency. In our FREE report, How to Treat Depression Without Medication: 5 Natural Depression Therapies that Treat Serotonin Deficiency Symptoms and Other Common Causes of Depression, you can learn more about safe, alternative therapies for coping with depression and anxiety by reversing serotonin deficiency and using natural dopamine boosters.
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 health care practitioner is strongly advised.
 Anxiety Disorders Association of America.
 Kirsch I, et al. “Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration.” PLoS Medicine Vol. 5, No. 2, e45. Published online: February 26, 2008.
 Phytomedicine. 2010Feb;17(2):94-9. Epub 2009 Dec 3.
 J Altern Complement Med 2005;11:631-7.
 Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2003;27:123-7.
 J Ethnopharmacol 2003;89:67-71.
 Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2007;22:405-10.
 J Alt Comp Med 2004;431-7.