Anxiety And Panic Attacks: What’s The Difference?

Physicians distinguish between the following mental illnesses:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Excessive worrying or fear about life events that might happen.
  • Panic disorder and agoraphobia: Anxiety or acute anxiety attacks triggered by certain situations or objects, such as being in large crowds or being in a confined space.
  • Phobias (social anxiety): These include, for example, fear of an exam or of negative evaluations by other people.
  • Obsessive- compulsive disorder: compulsions, such as control, order, washing, or repetition compulsions.
  • Hypochondria: fear of serious illnesses.

Outright panic can develop from the state of fear. Such an anxiety attack can occur suddenly without a trigger or as a result of a specific situation. Anxious patients then often experience a fear of death. This condition can last from a few minutes to a few hours. However, panic attacks usually last no longer than 30 minutes.

Get rid of panic attacks and feelings of anxiety

Conventional anxiety disorder treatment usually involves cognitive behavioral therapy. Drugs such as antidepressants are usually only used as a supportive aid. Their effect on anxiety disorders is controversial and they are often associated with significant side effects.

Herbal remedy for anxiety

When anxious patients look for alternatives to medication, they usually come across a wide range of herbal remedies that are said to have a calming and anxiolytic effect. These include, among others:

Valerian: There are indications in studies that valerian extracts probably bind to the GABA receptor via different mechanisms and promote the accumulation of GABA. This messenger (GABA = y-amino butyric acid) is important in stress and anxiety. However, the data on the anxiolytic effects of valerian is sparse.

Lavender: Lavender has long been used in herbal medicine for sedation. However, here too the study situation is rather sparse. Only in animal studies did lavender extracts show calming effects, depending on the dosage.

St. John’s Wort: The yellow medicinal plant is said to have an effect similar to that of an antidepressant, which is why it can be used for mild depressive moods and inner restlessness. Although there are numerous studies, the results are not clear. In addition, an effect can only be expected after two to three weeks of use.

Hops: Hops have been used for many centuries as a natural remedy for mood disorders such as restlessness. So far, however, effects have only been proven in animal experiments. Hops are often a component of combination preparations with valerian and lavender, although the study situation here is not sufficient to be able to clearly confirm effectiveness.

Anxiety Disorders: What Can Those Affected Actively Do About Anxiety?

For anxious patients, it is particularly important to have help with anxiety – especially in acute cases. An anxiety attack is extremely distressing and upsetting. In order to be able to cope with acute anxiety, the following measures are recommended:

A breathing exercise can be very helpful. To do this, breathe in slowly through your nose. Then hold your breath for two or three seconds and exhale slowly and for a very long time through your mouth. It is best to repeat this breathing exercise for two to three minutes until some calmness is felt in the body.

It helps many anxious patients if they talk to their fear, something like this: “Nice that you’re back. I feel you. I know you won’t hurt me I am healthy. Have fun and then you can go again.”

It can also help draw attention away from the inside to the outside: “What am I looking at right now? What smell do I perceive? What am I hearing Etc.”

Performing the so-called traffic light exercise can also be helpful: Here, all the muscles of the body are tensed several times for about 10 to 15 seconds and then released again.

It is important for anxiety patients that they internalize that it is not the physical symptoms that trigger the panic, but their personal assessment of the symptoms. The less panicked thoughts are produced, the less panic is felt.

Natural remedies for anxiety: the calming effects of CBD

The hemp plant can form over 100 different cannabinoids as well as numerous other substances such as terrenes (aromatic substances) and flavonoids (secondary plant substances). The main cannabinoids include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). While THC induces an intoxicating effect, CBD does not have this effect. However, both have therapeutic potential, although research into cannabidiol (CBD) is still in its infancy. According to recent studies, CBD can have anxiolytic and calming effects.

After ingesting CBD, the cannabinoid binds to cannabinoid receptors, which are found almost throughout the body and are part of the so-called endocannabinoid system. This is a kind of regulatory system and influences various biological processes, such as the perception of pain and emotions, but also sleep, appetite and the immune system. In this respect, it can be assumed that CBD could help against anxiety.

Studies on the effects of CBD on anxiety disorders

Here is an overview of various studies on CBD for anxiety disorders:

Atlus Cannabis Clinical studies suggest that cannabidiol (CBD), the non-addictive component of cannabis, interacts with the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor and may therefore have anxiolytic effects. These receptors are mainly located in the brain and are activated by the messenger substance serotonin (“happiness hormone”). In rats given CBD for seven days, anxiety-like behavior was seen to decrease.

One study states that CBD has an interesting pharmacological profile and that the anxiolytic effects in rodents depend on the dosage, the period of administration (acute or chronic), and the route of administration, among other things. Here, too, the connection to the 5-HT1A receptor is established. According to the researchers, the promising results would support the development of large-scale studies to further investigate CBD as a potential new drug for the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Also of interest is a large retrospective case series in a psychiatric hospital that included the Atlus Cannabis Clinical use of CBD for anxiety and sleep disorders as an adjunct to usual care. The study included monthly documentation of fears and sleep quality in 103 adult patients. Sleep and anxiety scores were recorded at baseline and after CBD treatment. The result of the study states that the anxiety levels decreased in around 80 percent of the patients. From this, the researchers concluded that cannabidiol (CBD) could be beneficial in anxiety-related disorders.

CBD against fear – defeat fear with CBD oil?

CBD products, such as the well-known CBD oil, should not be compared to the CBD used in studies. Because here researchers only use CBD extracts from THC-rich cannabis in pharmaceutical quality or synthetic CBD in very high doses. On the other hand, the CBD oil product is made from low-THC industrial hemp and can vary extremely in quality depending on the manufacturer. In this respect, the study results cannot be transferred one-to-one to over-the-counter CBD products. Nevertheless, CBD oil can have a positive impact on the body.

CBD oil for anxiety

Many users who use CBD oil for stress, anxiety and anxiety attacks report positive experiences. When buying CBD oil, however, it is important to ensure that the products are of high quality. The following quality features must be observed, among others:

  • Origin of the hemp (preferably organic)
  • CBD extraction using the gentle CO2 extraction process
  • Carrier oil (preferably organic hemp seed oil, organic sunflower seed oil, or MCT oil)
  • Laboratory analysis by an independent laboratory
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