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Can you use Essential Oils to treat anxiety, panic attacks and PTSD? Let's first discuss, the differences between each of these afflictions.
What is a panic attack?
A panic attack can strike without warning and without any obvious reason, bringing with it an overwhelming and paralyzing fear and terror. The experience is far more intense than a feeling of being ‘stressed out’, and terrified individuals often report that they thought they were going crazy, losing control, or even having a heart attack.
Panic sufferers say the attacks are some of the most sudden, frightening and uncomfortable experiences you can imagine, I can tell you from experience that is absolutely correct.
Panic attacks range from a feeling of uneasiness to paralyzing bouts of terror. In this extreme state people experience heart-pounding terror that strikes suddenly and without warning. In this state the afflicted are unable to control their thoughts. Since the attacks are unpredictable, a person can live in constant worry that another one could strike at any time.
A panic attack happens when the body’s ‘flight or fight’ reaction kicks in at the wrong time. This is an involuntary physiological response that happens when the body is preparing to deal with an emergency or dangerous situation. When stress causes an increase in adrenaline it will cause the body to increase metabolism to quickly produce energy.
The muscles become tense, heart beat and breathing accelerate and the blood composition actually changes slightly. The signs and symptoms of a panic attack reach their fullest intensity within a few minutes and usually begin to subside within 20 minutes, but that is not always the case - sometimes you can be in a constant state of panic for many hours (although the full on panic attack has subsided).
Panic attack symptoms include any or ALL of the following:
- Sudden and repeated panic attacks of overwhelming anxiety and fear
- A feeling of being out of control, or a fear of death or impending doom
- Physical symptoms of a pounding or racing heart, sweating, chills, trembling, breathing problems, weakness or dizziness, tingly or numb hands, chest pain, stomach pain, and nausea
- An intense worry about when the next panic attack will happen
- A fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past
Panic attacks cross all barriers of ethnicity, financial means and intellect. In fact, it has been shown that it afflicts more people of higher intellect.
What is anxiety and how is it different from panic?
An easy way to distinguish between the two is that an anxiety attack often comes in reaction to a stressor. For example you're walking down a dark alley and hear footsteps, or you're at the top of a rollercoaster and looking to go down that large hill.
An anxiety attack, people may feel fearful, apprehensive, may feel their heart racing or feel short of breath, but it's very short lived, and when the stressor goes away, so does the anxiety attack. Whereas a panic attack is unprovoked and unpredictable when it occurs.
What is PTSD?
PTSD, or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood. Most survivors of trauma return to normal given a little time. However, some people will have stress reactions that do not go away on their own, or may even get worse over time. These individuals may develop PTSD. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged, and these symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to significantly impair the person’s daily life.
PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years. If the symptoms last longer than four weeks, cause you great distress, or interfere with your work or home life, you might have PTSD.
There are four types of symptoms of PTSD but they may not be exactly the same for everyone. Each person experiences symptoms in their own way.
- Reliving the event (re-experiencing). You may have bad memories or nightmares. You even may feel like you're going through the event again. This is called a flashback.
- Avoiding situations that remind you of the event. You may avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the event. You may avoid talking or thinking about the event.
- Having more negative beliefs and feelings. The way you think about yourself and others may change. You may feel guilt or shame. Or, you may not be interested in activities you used to enjoy. You may feel that the world is dangerous, and you can't trust anyone. You might be numb, or find it hard to feel happy.
- Feeling keyed up (hyperarousal). You may be jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger, have trouble concentrating or sleeping. You might suddenly get angry or irritable, startle easily, or act in unhealthy ways (like smoking, using drugs and alcohol, or driving recklessly
Current conventional treatment for anxiety, panic and PTSD is a combination of prescription medications such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines, all of which have many side effects, are controlled substances and result in physical and psychological addiction if taken longer than a short period of time.
For those of us who experience any of these issues and choose not to use conventional medications, what options do we have? I have done extensive research and testing to find something that would bring relief for myself and my family and friends, whether it is mild anxiety or a full blown panic attack and help keep symptoms under control.
Upon my own diagnosis of PTSD, I used the prescribed antidepressant for a period of about 6 months and it mitigated my PTSD symptoms but had no effect on treating the panic attacks and I did not want to use benzodiazepines as the side effects interfered with daily life. Thus began my search for alternative treatments.
I began extensively researching oils, herbs and natural treatments and found many medical studies and articles about successful treatment of anxiety, panic attacks and even PTSD using essential oils.
Post-traumatic stress disorder affects around 8 million adults in the United States, but treatments for the condition are still limited. Orange essential oil may offer a nonpharmaceutical option to help reduce the stress and fear associated with the disorder, suggests research carried out by scientists at George Washington University
I have come up with a blend of essential oils, all of which have their effectiveness backed by rigorous scientific research to target anxiety relieve heart palpitations, dispel the fearful feeling, lift the spirits, calm the nerves, act as a natural tranquilizer, improve blood circulation, and reduce inflammation. I am not endorsing anyone eliminate your medications, but for those of you searching for supplementary help or alternative help, you do have options.
You can find this proprietary blend of oils in two products - Be Chill Roll On or Be Chill Balm . These products have been successfully tested by myself and others who suffer panic and PTSD. My prayer is for no one to have to have to continue to experience these symptoms, ever.
xo - Nico
Disclaimer: I am not a trained physician or pharmacologist and that any information presented here is not meant to treat or diagnose any illness or disorder. You should always discuss your health and treatment options with your physician(s).