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Latest Edit: Iva Lloyd, ND 2015-03-29 (EDT)

Anxiety is the most prevalent of all psychiatric disorders. In general, anxiety is a normal emotion that can encourage preparation and appropriate caution required for daily activities. When anxiety becomes severe, however, it can be debilitating and reduce quality of life.


See Also Mental/Emotional or Psychological Conditions
Books Books on Mental / Emotional Health
Articles Articles on Mental/Emotional or Psychological Conditions

Naturopathic Assessment

Article The Effects of Yoga on Anxiety and Stress , Alt Med; 2012; Vol17(1)
Article Approaches to Anxiety Disorders, NDNR; 2013 March
Article An N-of-1 Placebo-Controlled Trial in Clinical Practice: Testing the Effectiveness of Niacinamide (Nicotinamide) for the Treatment of Anxiety J Orthomolecular Med 2010, Vol25(4)
Check out this book Natural Relief for Anxiety: Complementary Strategies for Easing Fear, Panic & Worry
Check out this book Anxiety, Orthomolecular Diagnosis & Treatment
Check out this book Stress, Anxiety and Insomnia- What the Drug Companies Won't Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn't Know

Causal Factors


  • Relaxation and Stress Reduction
  • Daily mind-body exercise and relaxation exercises may help to treat and prevent anxiety.[1]
  • Substance Abuse
  • Withdrawal from alcohol, cocaine, sedatives, hypnotics, and anxiolytics can cause anxiety.[2]


  • It is well known that daily situations can lead to anxiety. Events such as job loss, divorce, death of a loved one, or relocation can stimulate anxious feelings. [2]


Medical Interventions

  • Prescription Medications
  • Some medications, including analgesics, stimulants, and thyroid preparations can cause anxiety.[2]


  • Irregular breathing habits have been found to be associated with anxiety states.[3]

Diagnostic Testing

There are no lab tests or imaging to rule in or rule out anxiety, but relevant diagnostic investigations need to be explored to rule out the presence of other conditions that may be contributing. The following are the DSM-IV criteria for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):

  • Intense worrying must occur on most days for a continuous 6 month period
  • Three of the following must be present:
  • easily fatigued
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritability
  • muscle tension
  • restlessness
  • sleep disturbance [1]

Related Symptoms and Conditions

  • Organic and psychiatric disease often are associated with, result from, or lead to, anxiety disorders. The following conditions are often in some way linked with anxiety disorders:[1], [2]
Article Anxiety and Depression , NDNR; 2013 March


Anxiety is characterized by physical and emotional feelings of distress and unease that can arise from a variety of triggers. Anxiety is classified into different categories based on symptoms. The categories include:

Generalized anxiety disorder
Anxiety due to a medical condition
Substance-induced anxiety
Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Panic attacks and panic disorder
Phobic (fear-based) disorders


The most common symptoms associated with anxiety relate to the chest. These include:[4]

  • heart palpitations (awareness of a more forceful or faster heart beat)
  • throbbing or stabbing pains in the chest
  • a feeling of chest tightness and inability to take enough air
  • a tendency to sigh or hyperventilate.

Anxiety can cause tension in the muscles of the back and neck and can lead to:

Other symptoms can include:

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. The treatment of anxiety typically has a better outcome if an integrated approach that involves some form of counselling is used.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.

Home Care

Home Care strategies include:

  • Ensure that you provide sufficient time during a day to get all your tasks completed and to relax and enjoy your day.


Lifestyle recommendations include:

  • Exercise has been shown to have beneficial effects on anxiety. Aerobic exercise in particular seems to have the largest beneficial effect on mood. [1]
  • Breathing function is, to a large extent dependent for its efficiency on the postural and structural integrity of the body. Thus developing good posture can help improve breathing, thereby having beneficial effects on anxiety.[3][5]
  • Deep breathing exercises can be beneficial both prophylactically and during acute situations of anxiety.[1]
  • Ensuring adequate sleep is both a way to prevent and treat anxiety.
  • Relaxation techniques including guided imagery, hypnosis, sound therapy, and aromatherapy have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of anxiety. Therapies that facilitate a patient remembering a deeply relaxed state may be especially beneficial. [1]

Naturopathic Therapies

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

Naturopathic Therapies for anxiety include:

Article An Unexpected Herbal Treatment for Anxiety, NDNR [1], 2011 April
Article Lavender Oil for Anxiety and Depression, an ND review of the literature on the safety and efficacy of lavender, NMJ, [2], 2012 February
Article Managing anxiety with orthomolecular and botanical medicine: A simple and effective approach to treatment, IHP, Jun/Jul 2009
Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes the varied presentations of anxiety, and treatment is dependent on detailed assessment. Treatment principles utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine to address anxiety include:[9]
  • Calm the Mind
  • Nourish Yin
  • Tonify Spleen
  • Nourish Heart Yin
  • Tonify Qi
  • Move Liver Qi
  • Subdue Liver Yang Rising
  • Massage therapy is an effective relaxation tool in the treatment of anxiety.[1]
  • Exercise is very effective in decreasing the severity and frequency of anxiety.
  • CBT, Talk therapy, counselling and psychotherapy has been shown to be effective in the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder in conjuction with, or independent from, conventional medical intervention.[1]


Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND [3]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Lee RA. (2007)Rakel: Integrative Medicine 2nd ed Chap 10 Anxiety Saunders
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Prousky Jonathan (2008) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Clinical Nutrition CCNM Press.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Chaitow, L, Bradley, D, and Gilbert, C (2002) Multidisciplinary Approaches To Breathing Pattern Disorders Churchill Livingstone
  4. Michael T Murray, 1996 Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, The Essential Guide for Improving Your Health Naturally,Prima Publishing
  5. Chaitow, L (2008) Naturopathic Physical Medicine: Theory and Practice for Manual Therapists and Naturopaths Churchill Livingstone
  6. Boon Heather, Smith Michael 2004 The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to the 50 Most Common Medicinal Herbs, Robert Rose, Toronto
  7. Hershoff Asa 2000 Homeopathic Remedies, A Quick and Easy Guide to Common Disorders and their Homeopathic Treatments, Avery Publishing Group, New York
  8. Ullman Robert, Reichenberg-Ullman Judyth 1997, Homeopathic Self-Care, the quick and easy guide for the whole family. Prima Publishing
  9. Kuoch DJ (2007) Acupuncture Desk Reference 2nd ed Acumedwest.