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This category of medicine contains drugs that have tendency to calm down a person suffering from anxiety or stress due to any internal or external cause. This is particularly used to control the psychosomatic disorders and phobias. The general use of ant-anxiety drugs is meant to control the tension up to severe phobias. The stage of anxiety or tension can be characterized as the reaction to the stress, danger that can be real or imaginary. The patient is having fast pulse, excess sweating, trembling, fatigue, and weakness. There may be thirst also. Certain cases that are advance stages of anxiety are epilepsy, pregnancy cases, panic disorders, and phobias. The early stages of anxiety disorders are treated easily by using the anti anxiety drugs and counseling but for complicated cases the prolonged treatment under the observation is required. For this purpose of treatment the anti-anxiety category drugs are used.
The anxiety disorders may be classified as, panic conditions, the social phobia, the obsessive-compulsive disorders and general anxiety conditions. The symptoms of the disorders are not seen in an isolated manner. In common the patient is having the syndrome of symptoms and they are complicated. The rare cases are seen with patient having symptoms of single disorder.
Normally the patient is having depression suffer with other complications too. The patient is relieved from the acuteness of the symptoms and the consistency of normal conditions is maintained by the use of drugs and behavior therapy. In ayurvedic classical texts the description of the anxiety disorders is seen in the bhootvidya (psychiatric) segment. The basic definition of health in ayurveda is a state of physical and mental well-being.
Ayurveda states that the emotional disorders as well as mental state of a patient must be balanced and should be in equilibrium. The reason behind the anxiety disorders in ayurveda is pragya apradh (the unhealthy adaptation of physical and mental type leading into the mental imbalance). The improper diet and life style that leads the disturbed state of mind causes the negative feelings that overwhelm the mind. This is termed as manovaha strota vyadhi (the disease of mental condition. The unmaad (hysteria) and apasmaar (epilepsy) are the diseases described in ayurveda.
The root cause for these disorders are purva janmakrtia (sins of the previous birth), viruddha ahaar vihaar (improper diet, overindulgence in sex, over stress), and the graha avesha (astrological and occult reasons). The pathology of the anxiety disorders in ayurveda is due to the vikriti of manovaha strota due to vata.
The basic line of treatment in ayurveda for this disease is to eliminate the vata dushti (reason). For this the nasya therapy (inhalation therapy) is used as the ayurveda suppose the nasal cavity as entrance of the brain. The anxiety disorders and the symptoms described in the classical ayurvedic text are nearly the same with those of modern sciences. The symptoms in anxiety disorders can be divided into physical symptoms and mental symptoms.
The physical symptoms are the consistent condition of the reflex action that body shows in cases of danger like increased pulse, heartbeat, hot or cold flashes, stiffed muscles, stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, headache, insomnia. The mental symptoms seen in the patient are restlessness, behavior problems, nervousness, imaginary fear, hyperactivity, and confusions.
The common symptoms seen in the anxiety disorders are insomnia, some times loss of memory, nervine weakness, unrest, and more specific symptoms like convulsions and phobias are there in advance stages. The causes behind anxiety disorders are either physiological like hormonal imbalance adrenal, thyroid, hypoglycemia, insomniac conditions as well as chronic disease. There are certain other reasons like drug dependency upon certain category drugs amphetamines, respiratory medications, hormones, withdrawal from benzodiazepines. The modern sciences treat the anxiety disorders by drug therapy and behavior therapy.
The behavior therapy is the first stage to control the anxiety disorders. In this therapy, the patient is exposed to the causes in a controlled environment so that they may get adapted and gain self-control to fight such conditions. The basic ideology of this is to change the basic thinking pattern by regular consoling and observations. This counseling therapy is normally taking 14 to 20 weeks. This is the best way to control the anxiety disorders.
The anti-anxiety drugs from allopathic aspect in general are sedatives like benzodiazepines, azapirones and antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors commonly abbreviated as ssri and others like tricyclic antidepressants beta-blockers. The most of these drugs when taken for a continuous therapy creates dependency and produces side effects as well as withdrawal symptoms.
The ayurvedic line of treatment for the anxiety disorders is the use of herbs and medicines, nasya (inhalation therapy), mantra (occult rituals), and achaar vichaar (life style modification).
The herbs used as anti-anxiety drugs are sarpagandha, khus, jatamansi, bramhi, kevada, vacha, tagar, amla, and rose. the medhya (brain tonics /intellect improvisers) category drugs are used to balance the loss of concentration, memory, and insomniac disturbances. The nervine tonics like ashvagandha and bala are used to strengthen the nervous system. the choorna of single and multiple combinations are used. Like saraswat choorna, tagaradi choorna and ashvagandhadi choorna, and single drug choorna like vacha choorna, jatamansi choorna are used. along with these medicines the rasayana preparation brahmi rasayana, ghrita (ghee based medicines) like maha paishachik ghrita, panchagavya ghrita, puran ghrita, and brahmi ghrita are given to the patient.
The fermentation preparations like saraswatarishta, balarishta are used. The rasa (mercuric) preparations like krishna chaturmukh ras, unmad gajkesari ras and smriti sagar ras are frequently used in anxiety disorders. The anti convulsant used for aptantrakari vati, and svarna bhasma (calcinated ash of gold). The oil-based medicines used are dhanvantaram oil; mahanarayana oil. the confectionary based preparation is errand paka.
For controlling the insomniac conditions the jatamansi kwath (decoction) and madananand modak (big shaped sugar mixed pill) are described as anti-anxiety drugs. The herb brahmi (bacopa monari) is a good anti anxiety medicine and have good anti stress property (see- bacopa monari). The jatamansi herb is also a good sedative and is safe, as it doesn’t perform the dependency. On the other hand the sedative from the modern sciences are very much likely to produce dependency and withdrawal symptoms.
The regular use of brahmi medicated oil on scalp at bedtime and inhalation is a better preventive measure to avoid the anxiety disorders.