Anxiety disorders are by far the most common mental illness in the United States. 18% of the population suffer yearly, but only 37% of these people receive any sort of treatment. The fact that so many people never seek help is perhaps a cruelly ironic reflection of how difficult it is for sufferers of these disorders to escape the confines of their illness.
The Silent Sickness
Anxiety disorders encompass anything from obsessive compulsive disorder to panic disorder to social anxiety to PTSD. The common thread is a tendency toward over-excitement and nervousness. A panic attack represents the most acute state of anxiety, while a sufferer of generalized anxiety disorder might feel a sort of free-floating unease at all times. Sufferers of OCD feel compelled to engage in repetitive behaviors, or are plagued by thoughts they can’t get rid of. And those with post-traumatic stress disorder are so scarred by what they’ve experienced that they are left permanently on edge, if they aren’t helped. These mental illnesses can pose a major impediment to people’s forward progress in life.
For centuries, anxiety has been treated in ways both barbaric and ineffective, and often both. People with disorders like OCD were committed to insane asylums if their symptoms were too blatant for society to ignore, while the average anxiety sufferer was likely unable to even articulate what it was that made them different from their fellow man. The advent of psychoanalysis made for some advances, but labeling anxiety sufferers as “neurotics” did not do much to help them, and the majority of people couldn’t afford this therapy anyway.
The treatment that the American medical system produced for anxiety was profitable and pharmaceutical. Drugs like Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin are the most prescribed treatment for anxiety. But all of these drugs (which belong to a class called benzodiazapenes) pose a significant risk of long term addiction and can have vicious withdrawal symptoms. Is there any remedy for anxiety that isn’t chemically comparable to ingesting alcohol??
CBD Arrives on The Scene
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a substance derived from marijuana. But don’t let that scare you off; it could really improve your mental health. It’s not THC, the element in pot that makes you feel intoxicated. CBD has anxiolytic effects, meaning it reduces the levels of stress, but is not psychoactive in the way that THC is. It will not get you “high.” But a 2010 study showed that it can improve the symptoms of social anxiety in people who suffer from that specific disorder. Another study found the same for people who feared public speaking, one of the most common sources of anxiety.
A Natural Anxiety Treatment
CBD does not incur withdrawal symptoms like benzodiazapenes, and it has promise for treating everything from OCD to PTSD to general anxiety, based on a 2015 analysis of available research on the subject. This is a major boon to the myriad sufferers of these disorders, who are often at risk of addiction because of their condition. CBD oil is available in most American cities and can be ordered via the Internet, and is legal in all 50 states, although you should familiarize yourself with local law before purchasing.