- With Mayo Clinic psychiatrist
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.read biographyclose window
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Dr. Daniel Hall-Flavin, board certified in general psychiatry and addiction psychiatry, is a St. Louis native looking to the Internet as a way to help people improve their health and be more active participants in their own health care by learning from Mayo Clinic's experts.
Dr. Hall-Flavin served on the faculties of Cornell University Medical College, New York Medical College and The George Washington University Medical School before joining the Mayo Clinic staff in 1996. He has special interests in adult psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, pharmacogenetics and personalized medicine. He served as medical director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence from 1986 to 1999, and is currently involved in translational medicine research involving the introduction of pharmacogenetic technology into the daily practice of community psychiatry.
"With the advent of pharmacogenetics and related fields and the advances in translational medicine, informed collaborative relationships between knowledgeable, capable health professionals and informed, proactive individuals and their families are more vital than ever," he said.
"I'm optimistic that our Internet health education activities will contribute to ever-improving health outcomes for all who participate and apply what is learned."
- Depression and anxiety: Can I have both?
Treatments and drugs (1)
- Test anxiety: Can it be treated?
Lifestyle and home remedies (2)
- Herbal treatment for anxiety: Is it effective?
- Coping with anxiety: Can diet make a difference?
Herbal treatment for anxiety: Is it effective?
Is there an effective herbal treatment for anxiety?
from Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Several herbal remedies have been studied as a treatment for anxiety, including kava, passionflower and valerian, but more research is needed to understand the risks and benefits. Here's what we know — and don't know:
- Kava. Kava appeared to be a promising treatment for anxiety, but reports of serious liver damage — even with short-term use — caused several European countries to pull it off the market. The Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings but not banned sales in the United States. Avoid using kava until more rigorous safety studies are done, especially if you have liver problems or take medications that affect your liver.
- Passionflower. There are a few small clinical trials which suggest that passionflower might help with anxiety. In many commercial products, passionflower is often combined with other herbs, making it difficult to distinguish the unique qualities of each herb. Passionflower is generally considered safe when taken as directed, but some studies found it can cause drowsiness, dizziness and confusion.
- Valerian. In some studies, people who used valerian reported less anxiety and stress. In other studies, people reported no benefit. Valerian is generally considered safe at recommended doses, but since long-term safety trials are lacking, don't take it for more than a few weeks at a time. It can cause some side effects such as headaches and drowsiness.
If you're considering taking any herbal supplement as a treatment for anxiety, talk to your doctor first, especially if you take other medications. The interaction of some herbal supplements and certain medications can cause serious side effects.
If your anxiety is interfering with daily activities, talk with your doctor. More serious forms of anxiety generally need medical treatment or psychological counseling (psychotherapy) for symptoms to improve.Next question
Coping with anxiety: Can diet make a difference?
- Lakhan SE, et al. Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: Systematic review. Nutrition Journal. 2010;9:42.
- Natural medicines in the clinical management of anxiety. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed March 1, 2012.
- Pittler MH, et al. Kava extract versus placebo for treating anxiety. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003383/abstract. Accessed March 5, 2012.
- Teschke R, et al. Risk of kava hepatotoxicity and the FDA consumer advisory. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2010;304:2174.
- Kava linked to liver damage. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/news/alerts/kava. Accessed March 27, 2012.
- Valerian. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/valerian. Accessed March 27, 2012.
- Miyasaka LS, et al. Passiflora for anxiety disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004518.pub2/abstract. Accessed April 2, 2012.
- Bauer BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 27, 2012.