By: Dr. Anurudh Verma, MD (Hom.), Sr. Associate Editor-ICN Group
Examination usually leads to a lot of tension and anxiety commonly known as examination phobia. Examination phobia or Examophobia is a mental disorder found in most of the students.
When exams arrive, students become extremely worried and make plans about how to study, how to perform better and get good grades.
Some students find exams so difficult that the phobia makes them sick as they simply find themselves unable to cope up with the exam fear. There may be sweating, palpitations that disturb so much that one cannot think straight and end up messing up the paper.Also, in subsequent exams, it becomes worse and the fear intensifies. The person may end up feeling a failure, feeling guilty and may even be suicidal
SYMPTOMS OF EXAM ANXIETY
The symptoms can range from minor nervousness to a panic attack, which can ruin the test. But whatever the level of your anxiety, learning to keep yourself calm and managing the fear of sitting for an examination is what it takes to come out with flying colors.
- Physical symptoms:Headache, nausea, diarrhea, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness and feeling faint can all occur. Test anxiety can lead to a panic attack, which is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort in which individuals may feel like they are unable to breathe or having a heart attack.
2. Emotional symptoms:Feelings of anger, fear, helplessness and disappointment are common emotional responses to test anxiety.
3. Behavioral/Cognitive symptoms:Difficulty concentrating, thinking negatively and comparing yourself to others are common symptoms of test anxiety.
A carefully chosen homeopathic remedy matched to the individual may help with the mental, emotional and physical symptoms of stress by triggering the body’s ability to self-heal. Though by no means exhaustive the following are a few homeopathic remedies which might be useful to help with exam stress.
Aconite: for acute anxiety, agitation and restlessness before an event like exams or giving a presentation. Argent nit is also good for “nerves” due to worry about coming events, especially appearing before an audience. Anxious, nervous, excitable, talkative, impulsive and craving sweets.
Anacardium: Nervous exhaustion from over-study and loss of memory from fright or mortification. Fear of examinations with lack of confidence.
Arsenicum alb :suffers restless anxiety, apprehension and a sense of dread. It suits high achievers who may become overly fussy and fastidious. Their sleep becomes affected and they tend to wake between 12 and 2am with tummy upset and anxiety.
Aethusia cynapium: is a wonderful remedy for brain fatigue from over-study. Inability to think and to fix attention.
Calcarea phos: suits kids who are bored and whine and complain constantly. They can’t settle and roam from one thing to another. Headaches with fatigue, stomach ache and leg cramps during periods of rapid growth. Craves salty food like fries and bacon.
Gelsemium :is a great remedy for anticipatory anxiety; when people anticipate even simple things with fear and dread. They become weary, apathetic, withdrawn and can’t think. May suffer from headaches with drowsiness, heavy, droopy eyes, frequent, painless diarrhoea, and restless, fitful sleep.
Kali Phos: acts as a nerve nutrient for mental and physical despair from excitement, overwork or worry. Headache, weakness and exhaustion in students worn out by fatigue. Humming & buzzing in the ears. Weak sight. This is an excellent nerve tonic to use regularly during times of stress such as exams and performance. Include other remedies as indicated.
Lycopodium: lacks courage and confidence. There is great anxiety around coming exams with fear of failing, generally irritable and often sarcastic and bossy at home. Headaches from low blood sugar as a result of not eating, digestive uneasiness including ‘butterflies’ in stomach, diarrhoea or very loose stools, lots of wind.
Nat mur: tends to be tired, despairing and pessimistic. Hammering headaches preceded by misty vision or zig zag lights especially in people who are inclined to brood and ‘stew’ over things.
Nux Vomica: feels generally jittery, anxious and they are inclined to be hostile and pick quarrels. Oversensitive to noise, light and smells. Poor sleep from indigestion after rich food, too much coffee or overwork, wide awake between 3 – 5 am and then wakes cranky and irritable. There may be an accompanying cough.
Sulphur: talks, grunts or snores with fitful sleep, sticks hot feet out of bed. Inclined to be lazy, absentminded and to procrastinate, study with music on, drinks lined up and mess all around them.
DIET AND NUTRITIONAL NEEDS
A healthy diet and exercise helps reduce stress during times of increased mental effort. For optimum performance it’s important to avoid foods that contribute to unstable blood sugar levels such as excesses of alcohol, coffee, strong tea, chocolate and sugary products. Digesting these foods depletes our vitamin and mineral supplies leaving us feeling increasingly lethargic, headache and irritable.
Eat regularly to avoid hypoglycaemia; try to snack on nuts, seeds and dried fruit as a healthy alternative to a sugar ‘fix’. Drink plenty of water and choose revitalising or soothing herbal teas. Supplement your levels of B group vitamins, Vitamin C, folate, calcium, potassium and magnesium when under stress, combined with a well balanced diet.