Fear is essential to our survival. But when it occurs out of context, is recurrent or focuses on an object or situation and impedes the natural flow of life and thoughts, then it becomes a symptom to be treated. On this page I want to focus on some general natural remedy approaches to coping with all kinds of fears, plus the specific remedies we have in homeopathy to deal with the wide varieties of anxieties, going through to conditions like PTSD.
IF YOU HAVE PTSD PLEASE READ THROUGH BUT ALSO YOU CAN CONTACT ME FOR SPECIFIC REMEDY ADVICE.
Phobias have their own page so if you have a phobia of any kind, or OCD please click onto that link.
Also, I am including a separate piece of work on PTSD, completed as part of my degree, as I thought that any extra research on such a difficult condition may be useful for someone. Look on the home page for the PTSD Essay.
Fearfulness, whether it be in a child or an adult, is treatable! In my practice I have treated children with anxieties, phobias and nightmares and seen them dissolve away very quickly. Their persistent thoughts of nasty films or events, fade into the background as the remedy re-established balance within the mind.
As you may have guessed by now - if you have become familiar with this site - that it is in the detail, those tiny specifics of events and symptoms, that we find the real cures. Other approaches aim for palliation and suppression - both of which can be extremely helpful - but if we want to get rid of a fear response and move on, then in my experience homeopathy is one of the very best tools available.
If you are in a hurry to find a remedy for your symptoms or your child's then please scroll down and read through the list. Pick the one that fits best, and order it right away from the pharmacy link. Feel free to call me or email for my support. Once you are on my list, I am there for you online and on the phone whenever you need.
But I would like talk a bit about this subject because there are many interesting aspects - the physiology, the chemicals, the two nervous systems involved, the longer term effects and, of course - the nightmare that is PTSD itself.
There are dozens of pages on the internet where you will no doubt have researched so I don't intend to repeat the basic phyiology, but my 'take' on it may add something to your understanding.
The Physiology of Fear and Panic
What we experience as 'fear' or 'panic' can be a sudden physical feeling that can come manifest as a sensation that rises from the base of the spine up to the top of the head. It is actually the result of a series of reactions in the brain to all kinds of stressful stimuli. Someone is following us along a deserted street, a huge spider is sitting in the bath, we have to make a presentation to senior colleagues at work,
How do you feel? Your throat goes dry, your heart starts to beat so loud that you can be sure others will hear it. If you are in danger then the muscles will become energized instantly as stored glucose becomes immediately available.
It is an automatic, autonomic response. Soldiers learn to control it and, if we believe what we see in movies, spies thrive on it. But a child with a persistent unpleasant thoughts is tortured; by the anticipation of a bully at school or abuse from an adult; by deep responses learned when the psyche was evolving through the normal archetypes the innocent and the orphan*. I will return to this later, as its a subject that gets overlooked so often in the normal course of life. ( *I will be including a page on an introduction to the archetypes.)
To get back to physiology - these are the parts of the brain most concerned with fear responses. You can see that different organs perform quite distinct functions and what that means is that the organ produces complex amino acids that go out to various other organs and give them instructions - not that the organ itself is a mini repository of huge amounts of data.. like a computer chip that can store endless data. ( That's what I used to think, by the way! ) No, this is all about how a stimulus causes the organ to make a chemical which acts as a messenger which then puts the body into a hyper-alert and active state. One of the messengers releases huge amounts of stored ATP, the chemical we call 'energy'.
So here they are - tiny blobs of cell tissue buried deep within the core of our brains.
The thalamus - decides where to send incoming sensory information from eyes, ears, mouth, skin.
The sensory cortex - interprets that information.
The hippocampus - stores and retrieves conscious memories and processes to establish context.
The amygdala - decodes emotions, evaluates threat and stores memories of fear related events.
The hypothalamus - activates the "fight or flight" response.
We could say that a recurrent fear is a repetitive stimulation of one of these organs, produced by a repetitive thought pattern - like a CD getting stuck and playing the same part of a song over and over again. The thought stimulates the organ, the organ produces the chemical and the chemical goes out to the other parts of the body and we get that sensation, dry mouth, heart beat elevated etc, and in some cases we 'see' or 'dream' the threatening situation over and over again .
How can we break this repetition and then heal the organ that has been over stimulated? I have some naturopathic suggestions and a group of homeopathic remedies and Bach flower remedies for you to use. These work gently and in a subtle way. I am sure you will find something helpful and curative amongst this list.
I have included several useful links to more info and a couple of good fear and bad dream products at the end of this section.
If a child is having nightmares during sleep, suggest that they draw what it is they see in sleep that makes them afraid. Art work is one of the most therapeutic approaches to bringing the nightmares to a close. Talk to the child about what makes them afraid. Don't belittle them, or tell them to snap out of it - that would make things worse. If the stimulous is from TV, then you can talk about the use of camera and crews and make up, but what you are really aiming for is to dilute the child's memories as it were.. to break an established chemical /neurological response and we do that most effectively by following FIVE steps in a routine way.
1. Talking, art or play to find out about the nightmare. This is very important but once done, do not go back to it unless the child brings it up again themselves.
2. Physical exercise an hour before sleep, a walk, a game of ball, playing with the dog, a pillow fight. It should be fun though, not chasing or anything that might trigger the fear memory response.
3. Laughter.. plenty of that.. jokes, watching a funny movie. You know what makes your child laugh. The release of the 'laughter' chemicals, seratonins, in the brain will aid enormously in the healing of the nightmares.
4. Give Homeopathic remedies every day. Drops can be put into a drink before bed. Remedies are not addictive, they don't have side effects. They work in a very subtle way to match the symptoms that exist and thus defuse their power, like a valve being opened in all of the symptom places at the same time. Whoosh, and they are gone!
Use Arg Nit if the child is worried about ( anticipates) having the nightmare again. Use Aconite if there was a real event that has set up an anxious response..Distraction therapy and the Lighthouse
Distraction therapy is an approach I have used with adults hundreds of times. Distract the mind away from the event as frequently as you can.
Here is a useful way of looking at the whole issue of recurrent thoughts and inner conversations. Picture a lighthouse. It's light circulates around constantly, casting its beam out onto a huge circle around it. If you think of the light as the beam of your consciousness, shining onto your ideas and opinions on a multitude of topics and experiences.
When a person has recurrent anxieties or phobias it's as though the light house beam has got stuck in one place, shining it's light on the one topic or event constantly. What you need to do is deliberately and sometimes forceably place your attention on different topics. This has the effect of 'unsticking' the light and allowing it to move away from that topic and thus gradually move more freely around to the other normal topics of mind and daily life.
Always have a novel on the go.. something away from any topic related to the events that have caused the fearfulness, so don't read detective novels about murders if your fear event has been triggered by death or a crime.
Put your imagination into the world of fantasy fiction perhaps, or lighthearted biographies, romance novels. They should be easy to read, larger print with plenty of space on each page. The mind needs space and can range more easily over larger print sizes.
Make yourself read a few pages, even out loud, whenever you are feeling fearful.Reading aloud, using the fingers of both hands - one to go down the side of the page and one to track along the words.. engages multiple parts of the brain and will use other neural pathways. This is a trick used for learning speed reading but I have seen that it has much wider uses.
Then there are movies, they should be funny or engaging. If they are thought provoking, talk the plot through with someone else. Talking makes thoughts more concrete, sets them in a stronger mode and therefore acts to pull attention away from unwanted thoughts.
Every handbag or purse should contain a little bottle of rescue remedy. It is a Bach Flower combination which calms the central nervous system. Its effect is more short acting so you will need to repeat it every ten to fifteen minutes if the feeling or thoughts remains, and if you have no other remedies to hand.
Here's a really powerful remedy that calms the central nervous system very quickly. It affects the brain, the nerves, the heart and the guts.. so basically all of the main organs affected in a fear response. If you have been involved in an accident or trauma or have been badly frightened, take a dose of Aconite in one of the 'higher ' potencies. You will be feeling chilly, restless and anxious, be worse times at night and be having strong memories of the event. In the research on this remedy we found that it is useful for fear of crowds and narrow places.
It is a regular remedy used in the treatment of PTSD.Purchase Aconite 200c and keep it with you, along with your Rescue Remedy.
I find that Aconite and Arnica can be alternated in the hours following a trauma and have a long term calming effect.
If you have fears about something that has not happened yet - anxiety about the future, nervousness about going on a plane, fear of narrow spaces or in crowds, anticipation that things will go wrong or you won't remember anything in the examination - then Arg Nit will be your savior. Its a great help during a melt down.
If you need this remedy you will be having frequent thoughts of death or that you are about to die. If you have lost someone close to you, perhaps these thoughts of your own death have stayed with you. Has your sleep been affected, can't get to sleep or wake up a couple of hours after falling asleep? You struggle to keep life neat and tidy and normal, to keep death, trouble or misfortune at bay.
A great remedy for children who may be timid and shy. Perhaps they have been bullied or laughed at. They are afraid of strangers and that they can't keep up at school. Its a remedy that will need to be repeat over some time, but the transformation and strengthening of character and resolve can be remarkable.
The fears of this remedy are usually associated with a fever, but can stay around for a while after an illness. All kinds of fears of spooks and even devils that will have originated in a delerious state during fever but have been remembered.
The main fear felt in this remedy is that of poverty. It makes the person work too hard and stress themselves. They talk continuously about business.
This is a great remedy for a child or an adult who have all kinds of fears and anxieties which they keep to themselves. It can be as simple as being afraid that other people will see ( or think) that they cannot do their work or their job as well as they should. So the fear is one of failing. They might fear that they will go mad, loose their health. They become easily startled and cannot bear to watch anything with excessive cruelty in it.
These kinds of fears that may have arisen from the use of marajuana. Remember that the remedy, although it is sources from cannabis, is only the energy imprint and will not cause any symptoms, ONLY get rid of these kinds of fears: fear of darkness; fear of leaving the body: fear of insanity
This powerful medicine has great feelings of apprehension , anticipation and dread of ordeals so we use it for exams and going into new situations.
This remedy fears responsibilities and commitment. They can be quite cowardly and lack confidence but don't show it much.
A great remedy for stopping those nagging thoughts and fear about past events which haunt the mind.
The phosphorus person has lots of fears, thunderstorms, the dark, being alone, ghosts, their health.. Its a remedy I have used on countless occasions for children with nightmares.
Another remedy for night terrors in children, but also adults who have been in a very frightening situation where there was a lot of violence and cannot forget about it. They are especially afraid in tunnels and closed places.
STRYCHNINIM One of our main remedies for panic attacks. Contact me for more information.
BACH FLOWER REMEDIES
The main ones I have found useful and effective for fearfulness are:
For those who hide their troubles from themselves and others, making light of inner difficulties and rarely burdening others with them. They avoid arguments and confrontations. They will avoid being alone, and may use alcohol, drugs, food, or work to escape their pain. Teaches honesty about feelings and the ability to express them.
For those who have vague but troubling fears and anxieties which suddenly arise for no apparent reasons. These may be in the form of nightmares or apprehensions; they may also be related to religious or spiritual beliefs. Gives courage in exploring the unknown.
For known fears: of the dark, heights, disease, death, poverty, etc. Teaches courage and an understanding of other people's fears.
Star of Bethlehem
For trauma and shock, whether experienced recently or in the past. Teaches the ability to recover from traumas and to integrate them into the present life.
For unwanted thoughts and worries which seem to endlessly recur and which can cause insomnia. Teaches a balanced state of mind and the ability to use one's thoughts constructively.
Contains Rock Rose, Cherry Plum, Clematis, Impatiens, and Star of Bethlehem. This is good both for emergency situations, shock, and stress. Helps to stabilize the emotions.
Just a few words on this debilitating condition as I think it would be preferable to have contact with you if you suffer from PTSD. There has been a ton of new research done since Desert Storm and plenty more support and recognition of the 'realness' of the symptoms.
Studies done in the eighties showed a marked improvement in symptoms with the use of yoga and from a homeopathic point of view I can attest to the fact that remedies DO absolutely help. Go back to the lighthouse analogy and you'll understand how distraction therapy is just one of the strategies I use for relief of these thoughts and recurrent memories.