Anxiety/Depression: Medication, Meditation or Herbs?
What is the preferred treatment for anxiety, depression and related nervous problems? There is a huge assortment of products available today claiming to cure anxiety, depression and related problems. Obviously, one should always be careful not to overlook any serious medical problems that might be causing emotional imbalances in the first place. And it is just as important to make sure that one is not prone to eating junk and that the diet is wholesome, high in antioxidants, raw fruits and vegetables, and contains healthy super foods such as chlorella, pumpkin seed, bee pollen, raw sauerkraut, kefir, and goji berries.
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Anxiety and Depression: Medication, Herbs or Meditation?
I personally would have a very hard time trying to decide at first what form of treatment would be best for dealing with anxiety/depression. I am putting the two together here because they often do occur together, however not always simultaneously: as sometimes the victim may for a few days have anxiety and yet have more energy (adrenalin) and then go for a few days or weeks of depression and/or fatigue, yet with much less anxiety.
I think the form of treatment depends on one's inclination, degree of sensitivity (to side-effects of medication, etc.) and how severe the symptoms. I always have been quite sensitive to medications and they only seemed to create more side-effects and made my symptoms worse. However, I found herbs and antioxidants (such as glutathione, selenium, vitamin E, alpha lipoic acid, etc.) to be, by far the best thing for my sensitive nature and spiritual temperament.
The difference between herbs (botanicals) and medication (drugs) is that drugs seem to have a more forceful, unnatural, unbalancing effect, which is fine for some people if they are not that worried or sensitive about their bodies and not that concerned about side-effects and/or can't be bothered with taking the time to learn about all the possible, gentler, alternative treatments available. The correct application of the right amounts of botanicals, vitamins, minerals, and other antioxidants can be used to treat the cause of the problem with excellent results rather than just hide or artificially alter the symptoms like drugs tend to do. This difference is not absolutely always apparent regarding drugs verses herbs and/or supplements, but it is generally true. There may be some herbs taken at the right therapeutic dosages that do have side-effects like drugs. However, almost anything can create side-effects if too much is taken.
Now there is also a whole other side to treatment that uses neither herbs, diet, antioxidants or drugs which includes meditation, yoga, hypnosis, counseling, and mental reprogramming. Some of these techniques only retrain the mind to think differently, often involving the unlearning of bad habits to be replaced with good habits. Others actually attempt to suspend all thought and to guide the mind into deeper and deeper states of concentration until samadhi is reached.
In the mildest cases where all that is needed is some stress management, then meditation, hypnosis, counseling, or similar types of treatment may be all that's required. However in moderate cases, dietary changes, herbs, and antioxidants, etc. should also be considered. In the most severe cases, obviously professional
care, but preferably a physician who knows how to wean one off medication and then be able to find the correct mental balance through superior nutritional diets, herbs and antioxidants in combination with some counseling, hypnosis, and/or meditation.
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In moderate to severe cases, meditation and yoga might not be the best thing, especially too much. Like I said before, too much of anything can have side-effects, however, those with moderate to severe mental symptoms, may be quite surprised and disappointed to find that too much meditation can make their symptoms even more exaggerated! If a severe case of anxiety disorder is not at first treated biochemically with correct nutrition, antioxidants, etc., then a good session of deep relaxation might actually lead to an even deeper state of anxiety and even possibly a few panic attacks!
This increase in anxiety happens because anything out of the ordinary, and even the slightest change in consciousness can cause considerable fear in the highly strung or sensitive individual. Same thing regarding severe depression during meditation: if one who is depressed and feels poorly motivated is most likely going to be much, much worse after a long period of meditation because motivation or inclination to action is one of the first things that dissolve or disappear during deep meditation.
The transmutation of desire and motivation into inner peace, harmony, bliss, contentment and even outright joy is what is supposed to happen when a healthy person meditates. However, in a not so healthy individual, the opposite state can happen: creating the more pathological effects of an extreme lack of motivation, disassociation with life, extreme withdrawal, spacey feelings, and very poor appetite. The degree of concentration required meditate properly is also quite hard to reach when the mind is burdened or limited by depression and/or anxiety.
Medication is more forceful than herbal and other nutritional therapies, and tends to have many more side-effects and other complications than the gentle botanicals. However, the best long term treatment approach for very severe cases would be in conjunction with the help of a qualified health practitioner to gradually wean one off the drugs, figure out what metabolic problem is causing the distress in the first place, and apply the correct vitamins, minerals and herbs best suited to balance out any metabolic weaknesses. In most moderate to severe cases, the mind-body approach of meditation, hypnosis, etc., cannot stand on its own, and needs to be used in conjunction with herbs, diet, etc., otherwise it is possible that it can do more harm than good. In mild cases of stress or emotional upset, meditation, improved eating and supplementation habits can be just fine and even profoundly beneficial in some cases.
Find Your Highest Joy - Suffering seems to come in as many forms as there are people. It seems that everyone has found their own ingenious way to suffer, and suffering is definitely a most congruent and defining part of humanity. Suffering is what makes, creates or defines the individual, or what makes the person. If there was no suffering, life would be like the sculptor without the chisel, no face could be rendered clearly, nor one's individuality could ever be well-defined! Do not be alarmed that suffering is such a defining part of humanity and such a seemingly impossible thing to avoid. We suffer to learn from our mistakes and improve our self-worth. Suffering is part of a feed-back mechanism to keep us motivated. . .
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