Anxiety is a common complaint I see with my patients in clinic. It seems anxiety is at epidemic levels in our society. Many of my patients complain of stress and anxiety, even if it is not their initial presenting problem. Worry, trouble switching off, poor sleep, insomnia and fatigue are all signs of anxiety. You may notice physical symptoms of anxiety such as a racing heart, increased blood pressure, shortness of breath, tightness of the chest, feeling faint, dizzy or ‘out of your body’. Some people suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, which is an acute combination of the physical symptoms described above while others may suffer from milder, but constant anxiety levels. Digestive symptoms such as IBS, nausea, diarrhoea and/or constipation are common and many will suffer from a lack of energy and low immunity as their body is worn down with anxiety.
Living with anxiety is incredibly hard and can limit your quality of life. Luckily, there are many natural Naturopathic treatments available that are well researched to minimise anxiety and control mood. Herbal medicines such as St John’s Wort, Lavender, Passionflower, Skullcap and Zizyphus work well to control anxiety and I often prescribe these initially to give my patients some relief, based on their individual symptoms. Magnesium is also very useful and many people suffering from anxiety will be deficient in it. B vitamins and calcium also are a big help.
However Naturopathic treatment of anxiety is about a lot more than simply prescribing supplements to manage the symptoms. It is very important to gain control of your mood and anxiety for life, so much of our focus is on lifestyle and dietary strategies that we can use long term. Sleep is number one focus as poor sleep means it is impossible for your nervous system to ‘recalibrate’ and handle stress the following day. Our nervous system needs adequate rest and recovery so sleep takes prime focus, as does rest, relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, meditation and guided relaxation techniques. Exercise and activity can be a useful tool for many and there are nutrition and diet changes that you can make that go a long way to controlling your anxiety. Some people find that limiting foods such as gluten and dairy helps anxiety. Eating regular meals and snacks to keep blood sugar levels stable and increasing protein intake can help. Relaxing herbal teas between meals such as peppermint, chamomile or lemon balm are useful, particularly if your anxiety also leads to digestive symptoms such as bloating, nausea and altered bowel movements. Avoiding sugary foods and stimulants such as caffeine is also important to help you gain control of your anxiety.
While this might sound like a lot to cover and change, our aim is always to give you the long term tools you need to control your anxiety levels for life. Slowly and surely as you change your habits and routines, you will find you have control over your anxiety and these habits will become part of your daily life automatically.
We offer individually tailored programs that cover these topics and more!