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Anxiety is a normal response to everyday situations, such as undergoing a test or a high-pressured assignment landing on your desk. As Bupa points out, mild anxiety can often be positive and useful, by helping you to stay alert and perform well when you do important tasks. But if your anxiety is severe and persistent, it can interfere with your everyday life.
The general term for persistent anxiety is generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
There are many ways to alleviate this form of anxiety and taking into account individual circumstances determines the best course of action.
Treatment often comprises a combination of psychological therapies and medication if required.
Research also suggests there are a number of simple self-help tweaks you can make to alleviate anxiety.
Some research indicates that supplementing with ginkgo may reduce symptoms of anxiety, for example.
Ginkgo extract is made from the leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree native to China.
A handful of animal studies have observed reductions in anxiety symptoms that may be attributed to the antioxidant content of ginkgo.
In one study, 170 people with generalised anxiety were treated with either 240 mg or 480 mg of ginkgo or a placebo.
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The group treated with the highest dose of ginkgo reported a 45 percent greater reduction in symptoms of anxiety, compared to the placebo group.
Bolstering the association, a review of animal studies suggests that supplementing with ginkgo may help treat symptoms of depression.
According to Mayo Clinic, anxiety may occur as a symptom of clinical (major) depression and it’s also common to have depression that’s triggered by an anxiety disorder.
A review of animal studies suggests that supplementing with ginkgo may help treat symptoms of depression.
Mice who received ginkgo before an unavoidable stressful situation were less emotionally affected by the stress than the group that did not receive the supplement.
The study indicated that this effect was related to ginkgo’s anti-inflammatory properties, which improve the body’s ability to cope when stress hormone levels are high.
General tips to combat anxiety
You can get psychological therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and applied relaxation on the NHS.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.
“It’s most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems,” explains the NHS.
Studies of different treatments for GAD have found the benefits of CBT may last longer than those of medication, but no single treatment works for everyone.
“If the psychological treatments above haven’t helped or you’d prefer not to try them, you’ll usually be offered medication,” notes the NHS.
It adds: “Your GP can prescribe a variety of different types of medication to treat GAD.”
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