Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
I suffer from anxiety disorders that sometimes result in panic attacks. How can I treat this disorder? I would like to try a more natural approach if possible.
A: The medical treatment of anxiety usually involves anti-anxiety drugs, such as Xanax, BuSpar, or antidepressant drugs may also be helpful. Panic attacks are generally more difficult to treat than the other aspects of anxiety. Medications are best used in the short term, and it is advisable to seek more permanent help through psychotherapy.
There are herbal treatments that can help relieve anxiety. In Europe, the herb kava is widely prescribed for anxiety. The herb valerian is best known as a remedy for insomnia. However, according to one study, it also produces calming effects in stressful situations. Other herbs or supplements that are frequently recommended for anxiety include chamomile, 5-HTP, gamma oryzanol, hops, lemon balm, passionflower, skullcap, and suma, as well as inositol for panic disorder. Supplementation with selenium, flaxseed oil, or a general multivitamin are all said to help relieve anxiety symptoms in some people.
I would suggest you discuss the possibility of trying these recommendations with your physician.
Additionally, you might like to try the Traditions of Tao herbal formulas “Calm-fort/Sleeping”, “Anxiety/Sleepless”, and the “Five Elements of Health”. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.