Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about a real or imagined event. It results from a hypersensitive stress response, where the body's response to a stressor is too sensitive, too intense, or too long.
Anxiety is a common mental health complaint with 1 in 7 people experiencing a diagnosable anxiety disorder.
There are various types of anxiety disorders including; panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, generalised anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
During periods of anxiety our 'fight or flight' response is turned on resulting in symptoms such as a racing mind, muscle tension, disrupted sleep, prediction of impending danger, general nervousness, stomach upset, excessive sweating, heart racing, and shortness of breath.
High anxiety can negatively affect normal daily activities. These may include home responsibilities, work and/ or study, close relationships, and social life.
Regular stress and anxiety can also affect physical health, causing significant strain on the heart, lungs, digestive system, and the brain. As a result, all anxiety disorders are associated with an increased prevalence of several medical disorders including skin diseases, digestive disorders, and brain disorders, including Alzheimer's disease.
There are numerous strategies that can be employed to reduce anxiety. Relaxation exercises, breathing techniques, exercise, meditation, supplements, and medications can all be effective in reducing anxiety.
Convention medical treatments for anxiety involve the use of medications known as benzodiazepines (tranquilisers) and antidepressants. Some examples of medications used to treat anxiety problems include Xanax, Valium, Prozac and Ativan.
The problem with the medical approach is that these medications can have a range of unpleasant side effects, such as: drowsiness, lack of energy, clumsiness, slow reflexes, slurred speech, confusion and disorientation, dizziness, light-headedness, impaired thinking and judgment, memory loss, forgetfulness, nausea, stomach upset, blurred or double-vision, and even brain damage! Benzodiazepines can also be addictive making withdrawal very difficult.
Another option to help deal effectively with anxiety is to use natural supplements, especially those demonstrated in clinical research to be effective for the treatment of stress and anxiety. An advantage of many natural supplements is that they generally don't have the side effects commonly associated with pharmaceutical drugs.
An amino acid from green tea, called theanine, has been shown in research studies to effectively calm and relax the mind and reduce anxiety.
Theanine is able to induce relaxation and relieve anxiety by increasing alpha wave production in the brain. This has been demonstrated in EEG (electroencephalogram) studies. Alpha waves occur during periods of high relaxation and are often induced during periods of meditation. In alpha wave states, thoughts are more focused and are associates with calming images and sensations.
Researchers have found that theanine can also reduce a number of markers of the stress (fight or flight) response including blood pressure, heart rate, and salivary immunoglobulins (s-IgA).
The calming and relaxing properties induced by theanine occur without causing drowsiness. In fact, it can actually improve cognitive function and alertness!
These mind-calming and relaxing properties of theanine can relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety in healthy individuals and may also be beneficial for peoples suffering from chronic anxiety.
In addition to its anxiety-relieving effects, theanine offers a wide range of health benefits making it beneficial for use on a regular basis. Here are some of the health benefits provided by theanine that have been proven by scientific research:
Theanine is able from health food stores and selected pharmacies throughout Australia.