Dr Vinita Pandey (PhD, LCHE, RSHom)
Anxiety & Covid-19: Can Homeopathy help?
Updated: Nov 2, 2020
Whilst there is currently no known cure for COVID-19, various therapies are being explored in supporting people through all aspects of this crisis. Homeopathic medicines have been used extensively for flu-like symptoms and in epidemics around the world (1). During this challenging period homeopathy could be used to reduce the symptoms of anxiety caused by worrying about the COVID-19 outbreak.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal response to a threat or to stressful events and is occasionally experienced by everyone. Normal anxiety serves an important survival mechanism and induces the body for the fight-or-flight response. However, when it happens out of place, occurs frequently or is out of proportion and interferes with a person’s normal activities, it becomes the anxiety disorder (2).
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Anxiety can arise gradually over minutes, hours or days or can occur suddenly as in panic. Anxiety can range in intensity from noticeable uneasiness and qualms to a full-blown panic attack during which a person may experience shortness of breath, dizziness, and increased heart rate and palpitations. The diagnosis of an anxiety disorder is based on its symptoms. A family history of an anxiety disorder may help the doctor make the diagnosis.
Depending on the anxiety disorder conventional treatment usually consists of drug therapy or Psychotherapy (such as behaviour therapy), alone or in combination. Medicines commonly used include antidepressants, benzodiazepines, tricyclics, and beta-blockers etc.
Cognitive behaviour therapy has been shown to be beneficial for generalised anxiety disorder. Exercise, yoga, meditation and relaxation techniques may also be of some help.
Homeopathic remedies for anxiety
Homeopathy treats the individual person rather than any one specific disease - a truly holistic approach which can be effective in helping with emotional, psychological conditions and physical symptoms. It is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’ in which a substance given in small doses will cure the same symptoms of illness they are known to cause in high doses (3).
It has been demonstrated in a study at the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital that when patients with long term conditions use homeopathy their presenting symptoms and well-being often improve (4). Homeopathy is safe to use along with conventional medicines and are reported to have no side effects. Some useful remedies are mentioned below which may be helpful in alleviating the anxiety of people worrying about their health or the health of their loved ones or caused by the uncertain economic future caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic. Homeopathy is most effective when prescribed on an individual basis by a registered homeopath and should not be self-prescribed.
Aconite is recommended for intense, sudden anxiety, panic, or fear. Symptoms of this type of panic include dry skin, dry mouth, and fast heartbeat.
Argentum nitricum is recommended for people who are impulsive and have anticipatory anxiety (worry about forthcoming events) and feel hot. This includes claustrophobia, hypochondria, fear of heights, or fear of everyday things. Uncertainty-based anxiety could be accompanied with digestive disturbance, such as belching, wind and diarrhea. Very characteristic is the great desire for sweets.
Arsenicum album is the remedy indicated when patient develops intense fear of death accompanied by restlessness. The patient may also experience chest pain, indigestion, acid reflux, dizziness and breathlessness. Arsenicum album (white arsenic) if taken in a toxic dose causes all the above symptoms, while taken in dilute doses will relieve or alleviate the same symptoms. Patient is chilly and is thirsty of frequent sips of water and often has aggravations occurring after midnight.
Bryonia is indicated in people who are very business-like, facing fierce competition with a sense of financial insecurity, and the primary expression of this insecurity is the fear of poverty. He wants to be left alone, undisturbed, while at the same time constantly needing great quantities of water.
Causticum Patient needing this remedy is in a state of melancholy, hopelessness, anxiety and fear. Nervous remedy and always anticipates some dreadful event is about to happen. The nervous system becomes extremely sensitive to noise, touch, excitement or anything unusual.
Calcarea carbonica is indicated in patients suffering from prolonged worry or anxiety especially when the patient fears of insanity. Anxiety and fear is more pronounced in the evening with restlessness and palpitation. These people have a strong sense of duty, are responsible and work themselves to exhaustion. A dose of Calcarea carb may help restore balance and give perspective to their worries.
Gelsemium is for people facing anxiety due to feelings of inadequacy. People with this type of anxiety are often timid and shaky. They may experience agoraphobia, avoid crowds or public speaking, and be vulnerable to fainting.
Kali phophoricum is highly recommended for those who are oversensitive, nervous, vulnerable to stress or becoming overwhelmed. It is also useful in patients worn out from long sorrow, vexation and suffering or prolonged mental work.
Lycopodium is suggested for people who lack self-confidence. Though they fear speaking in public and have stage fright, they hide it well. They might cover it up with talking loudly or too frequently.
Silica is similar to gelsemium and lycopodium. It is for people who fear experiencing new things, talking in front of people, and getting a lot of attention. They tend to become workaholics to soothe their fears. Those people whose constitution is Silica are sensitive to taking cold and lack grit, moral or physical.
Ignatia is recommended for those experiencing anxiety caused from grief or loss. People who fit this description are often very sensitive and prone to mood swings, moving from laughter to tears. Ignatia is also an invaluable remedy for depression.
Nux Vomica is often associated with those where anxiety is caused by overwork, from overly conscientious attention to details, and from an exaggerated sense of the need for efficiency or overindulgence with caffeine or alcohol.
During this global pandemic caused by the Covid-19, medical health advice is of utmost importance and should be followed at all times of social distancing and washing hands for 20 seconds.
1. Jacobs J. Homeopathic Prevention and Management of Epidemic Diseases. Homeopathy. 2018;107(03):157-160.
2. Homeopathy Treatment for Anxiety Disorders - Dr. Manisha Bhatia. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://hpathy.com/cause-symptoms-treatment/homeopathy-anxiety-treatment/
3. Pandey V. Hay fever & homeopathy: a case series evaluation. Homeopathy. 2016;105(2):202-208.
4. Thompson E, Viksveen P, Barron S. A patient reported outcome measure in homeopathic clinical practice for long-term conditions. Homeopathy. 2016;105(4):309-317.