Inositol is a commonly used medication for anxiety. Anxiety is a natural response of a body in reaction to stress. It is constituted by emotion of fear or apprehension for what is coming next. Anxiety is a part of natural everyday life as a person might feel anxious on the first day of school, before a job interview or because of interpersonal conflict. However, if this anxiety remains for a longer period of time or if it starts to interfere with the daily routine of a person’s life, it becomes dysfunctional. Such dysfunctional anxiety is diagnosed as anxiety disorder. In this article we will discuss Inositol for anxiety.
Anxiety can play its role in motivating individuals to be prepared for a situation that can cause anxiety, in this way certain amount anxiety becomes functional for individuals. However, problems arise when anxiety becomes a hindrance for a person in performing daily routine tasks. It remains with the person all the time, it’s intense and incapacitating. It can interfere in the menial task such as using the elevator, crossing the road or going out of the house.
According to American psychological association, anxiety is the most common of all emotional disorders. It can affect individuals at any age. It is also more common in women than in men.
Anxiety constitutes a wide range of mental disorder such as:
- Phobia: It is an excessive fear of certain objects, places or any activity.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder: It is a disorder characterized by obsessive recurrent thoughts which makes an individual perform certain repetitive behaviors.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: It is a mental disorder characterized by flashbacks of traumatic events in an individual’s life which can lead to a great deal of distress and anxiety.
- Social anxiety disorder: This is characterized by extreme fear of being judged for one’s physical appearance and behaviors by others in different social situations.
- Separation anxiety disorder: It is characterized by extreme forms of anxiety either by the idea of or by actually being separated from their loved ones. It is most common in children with working mothers
- Illness anxiety disorder: This is characterized by extreme fear of being physically ill, also known as hypochondriacs.
- Generalized anxiety disorder: This is most common for anxiety disorder. It is characterized by long term anxiety and worries about unspecified life events, situations or objects. People suffering from GAD are not always able to identify the cause of their anxiety.
Symptoms of Anxiety:
Symptoms of anxiety differ from individual to individual. Symptoms can range from feeling butterflies in the stomach to irregular heart beat. People can experience anxiety in the form of panic attacks, nightmares, painful thoughts and memories that the individual has no control on. A person might feel that his mind is disconnected from his body. Common symptoms of anxiety are as follow:
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty in falling and staying asleep
- Trouble in concentrating
Anxiety attack is characterized by overwhelming feeling distress, worry or fear. Anxiety usually builds up in an individual slowly and it gets worse when a stressful stimulus approaches. Symptoms of anxiety attack vary from person to person. They can also change for one individual over the period of time. Symptoms include following:
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling faint or dizzy
- Dry mouth
- Chills or hot flashes Restlessness
- Numbness or tingling
These symptoms are also common in individuals having panic attacks but there is a difference between panic attack and anxiety attack.
Causes of anxiety:
There are a plethora of causes that can cause anxiety including genetic, environmental and hormonal factors. Causes of anxiety are complex as many causes occur at one time or one cause can lead to another cause. Possible causes of anxiety are as follow:
- Environmental factors: These factors include interpersonal difficulties, problems at work or family issues.
- Genetic factors: Individuals who have a family history of anxiety are more likely to experience anxiety disorder as genetics play a major role in anxiety disorder.
- Medical factors: Anxiety can result from other medical conditions or can be the effect of medication. Intensive surgery or prolonged prognosis can also result in anxiety.
- Brain chemistry: In the brain certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and GABA are associated with anxiety.
- Withdrawal: Withdrawal from any drug can result in symptoms of anxiety. This can also activate other causes of anxiety.
Treatment for anxiety is a combination of medication, behavioral therapy and psychotherapy. Anxiety can be the result of underlying conditions such as depression or drug dependency thus before treating anxiety, underlying conditions must be addressed first.
A person can treat anxiety at home without any clinical supervision though this might not be effective for long term or severe anxiety. Certain activities for a person to deal with mild short term anxiety are as follow:
- Stress management
- Relaxation therapy
- Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones
- Support networks
- Therapeutic Interventions:
If anxiety is prolonged and severe, a person might need to get professional help and counseling. Most commonly used therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy in which a person’s negative thought pattern is countered and is replaced with a positive thought pattern.
Anxiety can be managed through medication as it can change the brain chemistry of a person.
Inositol for Anxiety:
Inositol is a carbohydrate that is found in plants, the human body and many food supplements too. It has various chemical forms which resemble the molecule of sugar inside a body. The common isomers are known as myo-inositol and D chiro-inositol. It is also referred to as vitamin B8. Inositol is used for metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovarian syndrome. It can also be used for many other medical conditions but benefits for these conditions has been proven by research.
Mechanism of Inositol for anxiety disorder:
Inositol is believed to be effective for anxiety and other mood disorders because it acts on specific neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin. Anxiety is believed to be the result of reduced amounts of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. The major function of Inositol is to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain thus taking Inositol for anxiety has beneficial effects.
Evidence for Effectiveness of Inositol for anxiety:
Many researches have been conducted to find the evidence for how effective Inositol is for anxiety. Results of such studies indicated that Inositol is effective for conditions associated with serotonin and brain. Such conditions include anxiety disorder such as obsessive compulsive disorder, PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder. A study was conducted on OCD patients and the result indicated that 18 gram of Inositol can reduce the anxiety associated with OCD. On the other hand, there have been researches which failed to establish effectiveness of Inositol for anxiety. A meta-analysis by Mukai et al. (2014) tested the effectiveness Inositol for anxiety. Four RCTs for anxiety disorders were identified. Results indicated no significant effect of Inositol for anxiety disorder. These mixed results imply that there is a need for more research to explore the effectiveness of Inositol for anxiety disorder.
Result of another study has proven the effectiveness of Inositol for anxiety associated with agoraphobia but again researches with far more conclusive results are needed to understand the effectiveness of Inositol for anxiety.
Side effects of taking Inositol for anxiety:
As Inositol is also produced in the body naturally, it has much less side effects than other medicine taken for anxiety. Despite being natural compound, Inositol taken for anxiety can still have certain side effect such as:
- Stomach ache
- For children: Inositol for children is usually safe and can be taken by them to deal with anxiety. Inositol for anxiety becomes harmful for children when it is taken for more than 10 days.
- Pregnancy: Effects of Inositol for pregnant women have not been established yet by any research. Thus it is recommended that pregnant women should consult with their doctor before taking Inositol for anxiety.
- Breast feeding: Inositol can pass from breast milk to the baby, thus it recommended that breastfeeding should avoid taking Inositol for anxiety or consult with their doctor first.
- Diabetes: Inositol can lower the blood sugar level thus it is recommended that if diabetic patient is taking Inositol for anxiety or any purpose, he should constantly check their blood sugar level and consult with their doctor.
- Other medical conditions: Although Inositol is relatively safer as it is also a compound produced by the body a doctor should be careful while prescribing Inositol for anxiety or any other condition to people having some other underlying medical condition. It is recommended that doctors should avoid prescribing Inositol for anxiety as its effectiveness has not been established yet and its interaction with other medical conditions is still unknown. Thus, Inositol for anxiety or any other medical condition should only be recommended if benefits out weights the cost.
Anxiety has many functional impacts on an individual’s life but if it persists and lasts for a longer time period it can have detrimental effects on one’s everyday life and can be problematic while performing routine tasks. Anxiety is usually a result of a decreased rate of serotonin in the brain which is also associated with other mood disorders. Inositol is a chemical that is produced naturally in the body and recognized as vitamin B8 and is also manufactured industrially. Many practitioners have been prescribing Inositol for anxiety and in some cases it has been proven effective. However, researches have not established any conclusive results for the effectiveness of Inositol for anxiety.
FAQs about inositol and anxiety
Does Inositol work for anxiety?
Inositol usually affects neurotransmitters present in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin. And these two neurotransmitters has direct link with the anxiety and mood disorder thus it has given some results in reduction of anxiety in patients suffering from OCD and PTSD but researches has yet far been inconclusive in establishing the effectiveness of Inositol for anxiety.
Can Inositol help you sleep?
Inositol can be very effective in inducing good night sleep. It produces the sense of calmness and brings peace to the human body which ultimately induces sleep. Inositol changes the overall brain chemistry and makes the communication throughout the brain better by acting on the neurotransmitters such as serotonin which results in better sleep.
How long can you take myo-Inositol?
As Inositol is a chemical substance that is also naturally produced by the body, it has far less side effects on humans than other drugs. Inositol with potency of 4 gram can be taken for over 6 months with other medicine and a tablet containing 55o mcg of myo-Inositol and 13.5 grams of D-chiro-Inositol can be taken twice a day for up to 6 month. As this is the substance already present in the body it is hardly followed by any kind of dependency.
What foods are rich in Inositol?
Inositol is naturally present in many plants and fruits such as citrus fruits and cantaloupe. Fiber rich plants are full of Inositol; these include beans, brown rice, corn, and wheat bran and sesame seeds.