What Is Anxiety Disorder?
Occasionally experiencing pain, not physical, is a regular part of life. But when it becomes a daily affair, with your being affected to the point that the pain and dread take over everyday situations, it becomes disabling. It becomes a disorder when anxiety affects your day-to-day activities.
These types of disorders are severe medical conditions, where the affected individuals can harm themselves or their near and dear ones. Anxiety disorder is as real and serious as any other disease.
Anxiety is the most common psychiatric illness in the United States, affecting both children and adults. A survey reveals that nearly 40 million adults suffer from anxiety disorders.
What Are The Kinds of Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorder is a psychiatric disorder that involves extreme worry and fear. There are numerous kinds of anxiety disorders as given below: –
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic attacks
- Panic disorders
- Selective mutism
- Social anxiety disorders
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Separation anxiety
- Some specific phobias
Not all phobias come under anxiety disorders. Some phobias such as agoraphobia fall under anxiety.
Depression is a symptom of anxiety wherein the individual feels unmotivated, hopeless, sad and totally disinterested in life. When these feelings remain for 2 weeks or more, and when they start interfering with day-to-day activities, the individual is depressed. Depression is a treatable problem since it affects the way that you feel, think and behave. About 3 to 5% of American citizens suffer from depression, and there’s a 17% risk to life.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Symptoms of anxiety include Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), with cramps, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and constipation.
Stress and anxiety manifest themselves in many ways. IBS is just one of them. An average of 1 in 5 people suffer from IBS. Women are more prone to symptoms of anxiety than men. These symptoms appear in their late adolescence. Most people who suffer from IBS have a severe reaction to stress and certain food items.
When there is an increase in depression and stress, the symptoms of IBS become worse. This is because the nervous system controls the colon and responds to stress.
Although there is no specific way to treat IBS permanently, the symptoms can be managed, and the discomfort can be eased. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse observes that nearly 90% of people suffering from IBS had anxiety disorders or suffered from depression.
What Is CBD?
In simple terms, CBD, which is the acronym for cannabidiol, is a compound found in plants. It is just one of the 120 compounds and has a lot of health benefits. CBD should not be confused with THC, which can get you high. CBD, on the other hand, helps treat a lot of medical issues. It would not be the right thing to say that CBD treats medical matters. Instead, it helps relieve discomfort and pain.
It is completely legal in the United States.
How Does CBD Oil Work?
Your body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD interacts through this system and helps the body maintain a balance, which is also known as regulating the body’s homeostasis.
When absorbed into the blood, CBD pushes the endocannabinoid system, making it more active so that it can balance functions and ensure their optimal functioning. CBD has natural “balancing benefits” which promote general wellness and helps you feel good.
How Does CBD Help In Managing Anxiety?
It is observed that CBD significantly reduces stress and helps manage GAD. It reduces behavioural signs and improves physiological symptoms, thereby managing this disorder.
CBD also benefits people with other anxiety disorders such as Social Anxiety Disorder(SAD), PTSD and anxiety-induced insomnia. A study conducted in 2011 on the effect of CBD found that people who received CBD had a significant reduction in anxiety levels. There was no change in people who were given a placebo.
Studies have also shown that CBD helps in managing PTSD symptoms such as negative memories and nightmares.
CBD has antipsychotic properties and has helped in reducing symptoms in people who have schizophrenia. Also, using CBD does not have the same debilitating effects as using antipsychotic drugs has.
A lot of research has been done on the use of marijuana, rather than cannabidiol to treat anxiety. Cannabis has been used since ancient times treat mental disorders. However, it is only recently that researchers have started observing the effect of CBD in treating mental disorders.
CBD has anti-anxiety properties, which makes it ideal in managing anxiety disorders. As a study observes, CBD reduces social anxiety symptoms in people suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder. Brain scans reveal that there is a change in the blood flow to those parts of the brain linked to anxious feelings.
Another study conducted in 2014 observes that CBD oil had antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects.
In 2015, it was concluded that CBD oil could help treat various forms of anxiety disorders including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
The report, however, warned that there was not much data on the effect of long-term CBD usage. While there is enough data that supports the usage of CBD oil for short term, not much is known about the long-term effects.
There is evidence that supports the premise that CBD can be useful in treating several medical conditions, including anxiety. It has been successfully used in the treatment of epilepsy in people who do not respond to other medications. The effect of CBD has been assessed for a wide range of medical conditions considering its antiepileptic, anxiolytic, analgesic, anti-asthmatic, antitumor, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies show that THC is anxiety-inducing, whereas CBD is anxiety-reducing.
When To Use CBD Oil To Treat Anxiety And Depression?
CBD has been held as a miracle cure for a lot of diseases, including anxiety. However, there is the question as to when you should use CBD oil to treat depression and anxiety. Should you use it regularly and will it always work, or should you give up your medication and start using CBD oil regularly?
There are limitations and dangers when you are using CBD oil without any supervision and knowledge about cannabis.
There is a limit to how well CBD can work for you. Here is a case about a young girl who became prone to anxiety and started using CBD oil.
Sheba (name changed), a college student, drank and ate a lot of junk food like other college students. As a result, she rapidly gained weight. She started having problems with her self-esteem to the point that her life started revolving around how she looked. In addition to her mental problems, she started experiencing physical issues too. She wasn’t feeling too good and, even though she didn’t realise it, she was suffering from anxiety. She went through anxiety and depression, showing all the symptoms of anxiety such as withdrawing from friendships, missing classes because she couldn’t stand the idea of people looking at her and commenting on how she looked. Her mental condition seemed beyond repair. She fell so deep into a hole of depression that she became suicidal. She was in a deep dark place from where she couldn’t pull herself out.
She approached a wellness coach who tried to coach her into loving herself. She counselled her to love her body inside out, the way she looked, without thinking about what other people said.
But the counselling sessions didn’t work, and finally, the wellness coach gives her a bottle of CBD oil to use and help her get out of that hole of depression.
Sheba started using CBD oil and supplements. The effect of CBD was so miraculous that the change occurred, literally, overnight. She began attending classes from the next day. She went back to school and felt better than ever. She stopped seeing the wellness coach. A few days later, she meets a guy in a party, and they hit it off. He suggests taking things to a physical level, and Sheba has another anxiety attack. She is worried about how her body would appear to the guy and about her being fat. She thinks that the guy would find fault with it and not love her and these thoughts send her back into depression.
She calls up the wellness coach the next day and explains that she is not able to get out of bed because of her anxiety problem. When asked, she says that she is still using CBD, but it wasn’t working for her anymore.
This is a classic case of how CBD oil works. The oil worked for her as long as she was out of that environment that was causing her anxiety and depression. The moment she gets back into the atmosphere and is reminded about her fat body, her mind spirals back into a state of depression, even though she is using CBD oil.
When you are anxious, it is about you and the world. CBD oil is not going to get rid of the situations that trigger anxiety episodes. It can calm down the brain a little. It produces serotonin, which is a positive chemical in the brain. So, when you use CBD, you are in a happy place. But when the negative thought pattern is triggered, you start feeling anxious again.
As long as you are out of the anxiety-inducing or anxiety-triggering atmosphere, you are okay. But the moment you get back into that atmosphere, your anxiety is triggered. So, in addition to using CBD, you should coach yourself or see a psychiatrist so that your mental state is good. CBD can help maintain that positive mental state, but it cannot work all by itself.
Benefits of CBD Oil In Treating Anxiety Disorders
- CBD oil helps produce serotonin, which is the chemical in the brain that works to keep you happy and focussed.
- It reduces cortisol, which is the stress hormone.
- CBD oil brings down the negative focus and prevents your body from succumbing to stress.
It should be noted that CBD does not change the conditions that brought you to this point of life in the first place.
There are some side effects which have been reported by CBD users. This includes an upset stomach and diarrhoea. However, these side effects are general in nature, and they go away very quickly.
When Should You Not Use CBD?
You should not use CBD under the following conditions: –
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, then you should not use CBD. If you feel the need to use is CBD oil, then please consult a doctor who can advise you best about this.
- CBD can interact with medications, and therefore, you should consult your doctor first before you start using cannabis oil.
The quantity of CBD that you should take depends on your activity levels and age. Again, only a doctor can advise you best about the dosage.
Studies show that CBD oil greatly helps reducing anxiety and its symptoms. However, the lack of data compels us to warn you that CBD oil should not be used as a treatment. It can be used as a supplement for treating anxiety, but you should continue to see your psychiatrist and follow the advice given.
It does appear that CBD oil helps reduce the symptoms of anxiety and can be used as a supplement to treat this disorder. But, there are insufficient clinical trials that have been conducted to assess the effect of CBD oil in treating anxiety disorders. Therefore, when you are using the oil, start low and slow. This means that you should start with a small dosage and gradually increase the dosage if you do not experience any side effects.
If you experience side effects, please discontinue using CBD oil and consult your doctor immediately.