Stress is a regular part of life, and everyone experiences it from time to time. In some cases, stress can help a person work better under difficult conditions to achieve goals. It can be essential too, for survival in certain circumstances (to trigger the fight-or-flight response in case of danger). However, severe chronic stress that continues for a long time and is not managed can manifest itself in the form of physical problems. Homeopathy for stress works at a psychological level to help the body cope with the stressful conditions, and also minimize the physiological effects of stress.
Stress is a body’s natural way of responding to any danger or threat. When a person senses a threat, certain hormones come into action that either help fight the situation or run away from it. The hormones released in stressful conditions include cortisol and adrenaline. These lead to increased heart rate, alertness, accelerated breathing, high blood pressure, and tightening of muscles. Frequent arousal of this stress mechanism has harmful physical and psychological effects.
Different people react to the same kind of stress in different ways. One person may find a given situation stressful while for another person, a similar situation causes no stress. Stress to a large extent depends on a person’s perception of a given situation. Various factors can trigger stress, and these are known as stressors. Some of the major stressors include:
– problems at the workplace
– financial crisis
– disharmony in relationships, marriage
– major life changes
– negative thinking (pessimism)
– demanding perfectionism in everything
– job loss, unemployment
– moving to a new home
– an illness
– death of a family member or someone loved
– stress after a traumatic incidence like abuse, violence, natural disaster or an accident (a condition known as PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder)
The symptoms of stress are seen on different levels. Some important symptoms include:
Symptoms of stress on a physical level include:
Symptoms of stress on the emotional level include:
Symptoms of stress on the behavioral aspect include:
Symptoms of stress on the cognitive level include:
The homeopathic system of medicine carries an excellent scope to help a person manage stress. Homeopathic medicines are constitutional remedies that work on a deep psychological level to give the best results in stress management. They help in building stamina to cope with day-to-day stresses of life. They also help overcome chronic grief that is causing stress. Conditions like depression and anxiety arising from long-standing stress are also treated well with homeopathic medicines.
The top listed homeopathic medicines for stress include Kali Phos, Ignatia Amara, and Natrum Mur.
Kali Phos for stress is a top listed remedy used to manage stress that arises from overstraining of mind at the workplace or home.
A constant state of cares and worries leading to stress is a guiding feature to use this medicine. It helps to relax the overstrained mind. People needing Kali Phos tend to remain sad, irritable and restless and may be over-sensitive to noise and light. The person also tends to feel weak, fatigued and exhausted from minimal exertion. Indifference to life, a weak memory, and stress headaches are treated well with Kali Phos. Sleeplessness from stress is also treated with this homeopathic remedy.
Key indications for using Kali Phos for Stress:
– Overstrained mind
– Headache and Sleeplessness
Ignatia Amara is a well indicated medicine for managing stress that stems from some grief. For example, the grief over the death of a near or dear one or disappointment in love that leads to stress is treated well with Ignatia. The person needing this medicine has consistently sad thoughts, weeps bitterly and has a desire to be left alone. He/She may also sob and sigh frequently. A changeable mood where the person laughs and weeps in quick succession, an indifference to things the person loved in the past, discouragement, mental and physical exhaustion, and dullness of mind and difficulty in comprehension are some other symptoms that may be noted. Such people may also get frightened easily and tend to have restless sleep. Other related symptoms include head heaviness, loss of appetite, constipation and muscle twitches.
Key indications for using Ignatia Amara for Stress
– Stress from grief
– Continuous sadness and weeping
– Mental and physical exhaustion
Natrum Mur as a remedy for stress works well in cases where the stress leads to depression. The guiding features to use Natrum Mur are a desire to be alone, aversion to talking and weeping in loneliness. Consolation tends to worsen the condition, and the person develops an aversion to doing any work (whether physical or mental). They are hurried, anxious and hopeless about the future. They also become absent-minded and suffer from weakness of memory. Dullness of mind and difficulty thinking, fluttering of heart and palpitations are other features. Natrum Mur is also useful for treating hair loss resulting from stress and depression.
Key indications for using Natrum Mur for Stress
– A desire for loneliness
– Aversion to work
– Hair loss from stress
Arsenic Album is a medicine for stress that leads to anxiety. Anxiety with extreme restlessness, overthinking with several thoughts crowding the mind, a fear of death, trembling, cold sweat, and facial flushing are the typical symptoms that indicate the need for this medicine. Constriction of chest and difficulty in breathing may also be present. The anxiety attacks are more prevalent after midnight. Utmost exhaustion is present in a majority of the cases.
Aconitum Napellus is a natural medicine prepared from a plant named ‘monkshood.’ As a remedy for stress, Aconitum Napellus is used to manage acute stress (of great intensity) with panic attacks. Extreme anxiety with restlessness and hurriedness along with intense palpitations are the main symptoms. A fear of death may also be present.
Coffea Cruda is a medicine used to treat sleeplessness that develops due to stress. Excessive thoughts flow through the mind constantly and lead to sleeplessness. Palpitations may be present, and the person tosses about in the bed from side to side. Nervousness, restlessness, excessive weeping and lamenting over trifles, oversensitivity, and irritability are the main symptoms that indicate the need for Coffea Cruda.
Nux Vomica is a prominent medicine indicated for stress accompanied by irritability and anger outbursts. Nux Vomica is suitable when the person is stressed and tends to get easily angered or irritable, get offended easily, and are quarrelsome. Oversensitivity to light, noise, smell, and anxiety about small things, sleeplessness, and gastric troubles may also be present. An inclination to take drugs or excessive alcohol may be seen among individuals requiring homeopathic medicine Nux Vomica.
Aurum Met is indicated medicine for stress in people who have pessimistic thinking about life.
The person needing Aurum Met is always unhappy and thinks life is a burden. He/She develops a weariness towards life and feels hopeless. Suicidal thoughts, a longing for death, anger from contradictions, palpitations with sleepiness, and fatigue of the limbs are other symptoms.
Stress can contribute to many health problems. When left untreated or unmanaged, chronic stress can lead to hair fall, digestive issues, skin problems, weight gain and other serious problems like heart diseases, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and reproductive issues.
The link between heart disease and stress is not yet clearly understood. However, it is known that stress contributes to many changes in the body that collectively work and increase the risk for heart disease. These changes resulting from stress include an increase in blood pressure, worsening of high cholesterol, thickening of the blood, damage to the lining of blood vessels, and atherosclerosis. Other contributing factors include alcohol, smoking, overeating, and doing less exercise due to stress.
Stress does tend to cause an increase in the blood pressure due to the rise of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. However, this increase in blood pressure is temporary, and it drops down to normal levels once the stressful condition is over. The exact link between stress and long-term hypertension is not known, but it is possible that frequent rising and falling of blood pressure due to stress may add up over time, and lead to chronic hypertension. Along with this, if a person consumes alcohol, tobacco, or starts overeating, these factors can contribute to chronic hypertension.
Chronic stress carries a risk of contributing to the development of type 2 diabetes. Stress may lead to unhealthy lifestyle habits like lack of exercise, smoking, changing eating habits, alcohol intake, etc. All these factors put a person at risk for developing diabetes. Stress causes long-term activation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (a complex set of interactions between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands) and the sympathetic nervous system. These lead to the development of abdominal obesity and further increase the risk of diabetes.
During a stressful situation, the hormone cortisol is released. This hormone is known to increase the appetite, and increase the cravings for sugary and fatty foods. This can increase the belly fat and cause obesity over time.
Stress can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract ( GIT ). The process of digestion slows down during stress. Stress can also cause inflammation in the GIT, acid reflux, diarrhea, constipation and bloating. It is also a leading predisposing factor for IBS – irritable bowel syndrome and tends to worsen peptic ulcers.
In males, stress can lead to weak erections or impotence. In females, stress can lead to low libido, severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and intense symptoms during menopause. In pregnant women, the chances of a premature birth increase if the woman is stressed.
Stress can lead to hair fall by triggering conditions like telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, and trichotillomania. In the case of telogen effluvium, stress makes hair follicles to go into a resting phase. The affected hair falls out in bunches upon combing or washing.
Stress can also cause hair loss in spots (alopecia areata) by triggering an autoimmune response.
Trichotillomania is a condition where a person has an irresistible desire to pull out hair from eyebrows, scalp, and other areas of the body as a result of stress.
Stress can trigger many skin complaints and cause flare-ups. Acne is one of the most common skin conditions triggered by stress. Stress boosts the levels of the hormone cortisol. This leads to an increase in the production of oil, making the skin more prone towards acne. Stress can also trigger or flare up an autoimmune response linked to skin complaints like vitiligo and psoriasis. Apart from these, eczema and acne rosacea also tend to flare up due to stress.
Stress can be divided into three types – acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress.
It is short-term stress and is also the most common type of stress. In acute stress, the body immediately reacts to a new challenge or an event. For example, giving a speech to a group of people, an argument with someone, or being stuck in a traffic jam can trigger acute stress. The symptoms of acute stress include increased heart rate, anxiety, shortness of breath, palpitation of the heart, increased sweat, tension headache and tensed muscles in the neck and back.
Episodic Acute Stress
Episodic acute stress is the condition where acute stress occurs on a very frequent basis. Anxious personalities and people who tend to think negatively most of the time are at an increased risk to suffer from episodic acute stress. The symptoms of episodic acute stress include tension headaches, migraines, depression, chronic fatigue, hypertension, and irritability.
The stress that is persistent and lasts for a long time is known as chronic stress. Chronic stress occurs due to a variety of reasons, like unhealthy relationships, poverty, unsatisfactory job/career. Persons with chronic stress are at a high risk to develop conditions like heart disease, stroke, cancer or to commit suicide.
Apart from homeopathy, the following tips can help manage stress:
– Adopting relaxing techniques like yoga, meditation
– Taking a healthy diet including fresh fruits, vegetables, and omega three fatty acids
– Doing regular exercise
– Getting enough sleep
– Avoiding taking alcohol, drugs, and tobacco
– Cutting down the amount of sugar and caffeine intake
– Deep breathing exercises
– Maintaining a positive attitude towards life
– Taking time to cultivate some relaxing hobbies
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