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Phytotherapy for anxiety and depression

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Phytotherapy for anxiety and depression
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п»їAnxiety or mood disorders are behind much of the discomfort felt by people in our society. Faced with these problems we have different tools to design and propose an intervention. Thus, in this article we will focus on how phytotherapy can be used for anxiety and depression.
Phytotherapy consists of the treatment of diseases through the use of plants or plant products. Currently, there is much scientific evidence of its efficacy, especially in mild and chronic conditions. However, to achieve this efficacy, it must be used properly.
Let us see how phytotherapy can help in the treatment of such common disorders as anxiety and depression.
AnxietyAnxiety disorders involve episodes of intense worry and fear about everyday situations. There may be panic attacks that are difficult to control. These episodes can be prolonged in time and are not proportional to the real dangers.
Conventional treatment of anxietyThe usual treatments for anxiety include drugs and psychotherapy. Regarding psychological therapy, it is usually carried out according to the cognitive-behavioral therapy approach that helps the patient to control situations and symptoms.
Regarding pharmacological treatment, there are many anxiolytic drugs specially designed for the treatment of these disorders. Among them are the well-known benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam, bromazepam, lorazepam or diazepam.
Antidepressant drugs, low-dose neuroleptic drugs such as risperidone or quetiapine, and even some antiepileptic drugs such as gabapentin are also sometimes used.
DepressionDepression is a mood disorder that causes constant feelings of sadness and lack of motivation. It is often accompanied by tiredness, lack of energy, sleep disturbances, feelings of guilt, suicidal thoughts, etc.
Conventional treatment of depressionAs in the case of anxiety, psychotherapy and antidepressant drugs are usually used, although there are also other alternative therapies. Within the antidepressants we find different types; among them are:
SSRIs or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, such as fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine or escitalopram .
MAOIs or Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors, such as selegiline.
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, such as duloxetine or venlafaxine.
Tricyclic antidepressants, such as imipramine or amitriptyline.
Atypical antidepressants, such as mirtazapine, bupropion or trazodone.
Phytotherapy for anxiety and depressionThe treatment of these disorders is often complex. Phytotherapy for anxiety and depression has proven to be effective on certain occasions and with certain patients.
It is not a matter of eliminating pharmacological treatments but, many times, of complementing them or reducing their doses.
The most effective plants in the treatment of anxiety and depression are among others:
Lime blossom.
Hops: it is indicated in the treatment of mild symptoms of mental stress. According to its traditional use, it is effective for anxiety and restlessness.
California Poppy: it is indicated as an anxiolytic and sedative. It can be used in states of anxiety, sleep disturbances and nervousness.
Melissa: improves mood, has beneficial effects on cognitive behavior, reduces stress and has anxiolytic properties. It is indicated for states of restlessness, tension and irritability.
Orange blossom.
Hypericum or St. John's wort, for example, is one of the most effective plants against depression. It is accepted by the AEMPS or Spanish Medicines Agency as effective in the symptomatic treatment of states of decay that are accompanied by fatigue, sleep disturbances, discouragement and lack of interest.
It is indicated, therefore, in episodes of mild to moderate depression. It should be taken into account that hypericum can interact with other drugs, such as amitriptyline, some benzodiazepines, simvastatin, digoxin, finasteride, some oral contraceptives, etc.
Regarding adverse effects, it should be remembered that no treatment is free of them. Even in the case of medicinal plants, the indications of the specialist should always be followed. Do not fail to consult your doctor, especially if you combine different treatments, as they may interfere with each other.
Conclusion: phytotherapy for anxiety and depressionThe conventional treatment of anxiety and depression is often limited by the presence of side effects or drug interactions, for example. This is due to the fact that drugs are often abused as the first and only measure for these disorders.
For this reason, and taking into account that each person is unique and each case is also unique, it is necessary to look for other alternatives, such as phytotherapy, that can help us.
Other examples are psychotherapy, proper nutrition, physical exercise, stress management, use of probiotics, etc. Be sure to consult your doctor to help you find the treatment that best suits you.
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