Herbal remedy to help with anxiety (and insomnia)

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Noble Glomad
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29 Sep 2021, 5:51 am

Hi Everyone, our 13yo (autism, ADHD) is very troubled by anxiety. In the past they have reluctantly taken medication. I've suggested we look at something more natural, like St John's Wort, GABA, or valerian root, or even chamomile tea?

Have you had any success with reducing anxiety in your child safely, by herbal supplements?

Many thanks for all suggestions.



Steve1963
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29 Sep 2021, 6:08 am

I've personally had success with Motherwort for certain types of anxiety. I have a fear of bridges...and it has helped me to at least get over some of the larger ones.



timf
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29 Sep 2021, 7:33 am

My wife takes GABA for insomnia. However as anxiety is often a major expression of Aspergers in children, you might want to also consider helping your child to experiment with various exercises that can contribute to a sense of control that can reduce anxiety.

For example, a bedtime routine of listening to a favorite song, an almost ritual set of actions, and perhaps a dim night light may establish a routine from which a sense of control and comfort might be derived.

Anxiety can arise in Aspergers as the neurological variant called Aspergers presents with a faster, more complex, or more sensitive neural processing that can be overwhelming. In children, learning how to cope with this neurological avalanche can take years.

What is often seen as developmental delays in Asperger children can be the difficult they have in learning the skills to manage anxiety. Here parents can help the child to experiment and find ways to manage themselves and their environment in ways that can reduce anxiety.

Sensory inputs can be muted, thoughts can be channeled, and actions taken that contribute to control and reduce feelings of being overwhelmed. It can be more helpful to guide the child to see themselves as being the one to select which tactic to use.

By establishing a system of experimentation, you are helping your child learn to exercise control.



Flown
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29 Sep 2021, 8:17 am

Noble Glomad wrote:
Hi Everyone, our 13yo (autism, ADHD) is very troubled by anxiety. In the past they have reluctantly taken medication. I've suggested we look at something more natural, like St John's Wort, GABA, or valerian root, or even chamomile tea?

Have you had any success with reducing anxiety in your child safely, by herbal supplements?

Many thanks for all suggestions.


I'm an autistic adult, and I have struggled with anxiety and sleep issues my entire life. I'm really sorry that your teen is dealing with this!

I'm not ANTI-supplement, but I think it is REALLY important for you to realize that "natural" does not always mean "safer". There is this widespread misconception that they are exactly that. Herbal supplements can be dangerous for a number of reasons:

1) They aren't well regulated. Herbs and supplements don't undergo thorough safety testing-- and may even contain contaminants (heavy metals, etc).
2) Doses typically aren't specified, so users are left making a "good guess". This can be potentially dangerous.
3) There isn't a lot of research out there proving their efficacy.
4) The human body may still have adverse reactions to specific supplements. Supplements/herbs also have the potential to react with any other medications being taken.

I'm not trying to discourage you, but I think you should definitely proceed with caution when going down this path. I think it is also important to note that many approved medications on the market are actual derivatives of herbs/plants.

If you do decide to try any herbs or supplements, be sure they have gone through third party testing! I would also consult with your doctor about these changes and possibly even check your son's bloodwork for any deficiencies or abnormalities before proceeding.

All of this being said, I do have a few supplements and plant-based remedies that have helped me. Broad spectrum CBD oil is surprisingly helpful for anxiety and sleep issues. I have noticed zero side effects. Chamomile can definitely be soothing, and I've never had a problem with it. I have adverse reactions to both Saint John's Wort and Valerian.


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Last edited by Flown on 29 Sep 2021, 8:20 am, edited 2 times in total.

Flown
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29 Sep 2021, 8:18 am

timf wrote:

For example, a bedtime routine of listening to a favorite song, an almost ritual set of actions, and perhaps a dim night light may establish a routine from which a sense of control and comfort might be derived.



I agree with this. Establishing a bedtime ritual (at the same set time every night) has given me so much peace of mind when it comes to sleep.


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