Nicky Whitehead Homeopathy


Anxiety is a normal human feeling; we all experience it when faced with situations we find threatening or difficult. Fear and anxiety can help us to avoid dangerous situations, and can motivate us to deal with problems. But if the feelings are too strong, or go on for too long, they can stop us from doing things.

An example:
A man is being chased by a lion. He is afraid and runs as fast as he can. This reaction is appropriate as his survival depends on it.
The same man is subsequently chased by a dog. He reacts as if he is being chased by a lion, feeling the same fear and panic, and running as fast as he can.

His initial reaction was suited to the situation, but that state of mind and body needs to change when:

  • Such a situation doesn't exist (no lion)
  • The situation is now different (only a dog)
  • The reaction is out of proportion to the situation (excessive panic)

The pattern results in a loop:

  • We experience panic attacks
  • Fear of the panic attacks stops us from doing things
  • The panic attacks increase because we are unable to do things - events seem uncontrollable, threatening or dangerous

The aim of homeopathy is to help us to step outside of the loop.

Conventional medical treatment

Conventional medical treatment can act by removing the symptoms.
For example, brain chemicals called neurotransmitters enable brain cells to communicate with each other. Low levels of certain neurotransmitters are associated with high levels of anxiety.
Benzodiazepines (eg diazepam ) reduce anxiety by stimulating the neurotransmitter system. They are indicated for short term relief of severe anxiety (2-4 weeks), but withdrawal often leads to a return of the original symptoms
Arguably, this is not a cure, but a masking of symptoms, not addressing the underlying cause.

Homeopathic treatment

There may be some common symptoms, but no two individuals will experience panic attacks exactly the same.
I am more interested in what is unique to your panic attacks.
Eg common physical symptoms may include heart palpitations, chest pain, sweating, difficult breathing, abdominal discomfort, dizziness, frequent urination, shaking.
I am interested in how you experience those things, for example

  • What are the sensations and emotions that come with the physical symptoms?
  • Do the symptoms always come together?
  • Are there other times when you have experienced the same symptoms?
  • Is there anything that makes the situation better or worse for you?
  • How do you react, what do you do?
  • What sorts of things might trigger a panic attack for you?

I would like to understand what it is like for you? Take me there - talk me through it. Take me by the hand and walk me through it.

Homeopathy would see the symptoms as being the result of a central disturbance. That disturbance is likely to result from something that has happened and the way in which you reacted to it, and adapted to it over time. We all tend to adapt over time, sometimes without even noticing on a conscious level - "normality" is constantly redefined and is different for each of us. How we perceive things as individuals is different, and fundamental in dictating how we respond to things, or how we anticipate things.

We have an innate desire and ability to heal ourselves - the symptoms will be a result of that attempt to "rebalance" things. Sometimes we get stuck in a loop, or stuck in a state which might have been appropriate once, but is no longer.

For example, the lion in the jungle - adrenalin flows, you run literally for your life. That is entirely appropriate. But ... next time you see a dog on the high street, the same thing happens - less likely to be appropriate but it happens all the same.

Homeopathy would look at this on two levels:

Acute attacks

A homeopathic remedy could be an additional coping mechanism, an alternative to, or alongside conventional medication, with a view to minimising the suppression or masking of symptoms and feelings.

Underlying chronic condition

A homeopathic remedy to recognise the underlying condition giving rise to the acute panic attacks, including how you have adapted to any significant events, and how you perceive things.

This can be seen as a process of working backwards through the series of events that led you to where you are today. Like peeling an onion - things happen, we adapt, we add another layer. This is unravelling them to find the real you inside.

What to expect from homeopathic treatment for anxiety

The aim of homeopathic treatment will be :

  • Reduced incidences of panic attacks
  • Reduced severity of acute panic attack symptoms
  • Increased ability to cope with outside influences
  • Acknowledgement and expression of suppressed feelings
  • Increased understanding, calmness and acceptance
  • Clearer, more coherent thinking

More information ...

National Phobics Society

A national registered charity formed 30 years ago by a sufferer of agoraphobia for those with anxiety disorders. Includes:
A Guide to Anxiety Drugs, including "An Informative Layperson's Guide".

The Royal College of Psychiatrists

On line publication on Anxiety and Phobias