Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions. Several areas such as behaviour, cognition, physical and emotional wellbeing are all affected, along with a heightened risk of comorbid disorders (Sunderland, Newby & Andrews 2013).
Classified as a dysfunctional reaction to stressful stimulus or threat, an anxiety disorder comprises of interrelating cognitive, physical and emotional components and is more prevalent in females and thought to be more disabling than in males (McLean et al. 2011).
Many studies show the correlation between food, mental health and the gut brain axis. Ongoing research leans heavily to the gastrointestinal system, its reaction to oxidative stress and the inflammatory response affect mental health (Chaby et al. 2015).
Systemic inflammation, microbiome disparity, oxidative stress, nutrient assimilation, chemical exposure, familial history and lifestyle all have a role on neurotransmitter function and dysfunction (Head & Kelly 2009).
Nutrient dense food with regular meal times, stress management, reduction of stimulants, support of adrenal function, practising good sleep hygiene along with the ability to recognise potential triggers are some of the tools that can be employed (Khusid & Vythilingam 2016).
A combined approach using food as medicine, education on mindfulness, meditation, breathing and self-care can all be given in “prescription” form your Naturopath.
Anxiolytic herbs such as Chamomile, Lemon balm and Passion flower may be incorporated into daily routine as a herbal infusion; the very act of preparing and giving oneself the space to sit and sip can indeed be very soothing in itself (Mao et al. 2016).
A consultation with a Naturopath can prescribe an individual plan, along with herbal medicine and lifestyle advice (Sarris et al. 2011).
Become empowered by education and seeking assistance and remember you are not alone.
Often the biggest challenge to self-care is time, everyone is so busy in our modern world. However, self-care is absolutely paramount to living with anxiety and depression
Chaby, L, Cavigelli, S, Hirrlinger, A, Caruso, M & Braithwaite, V 2015, ‘Chronic unpredictable stress during adolescence causes long-term anxiety’, Behavioural Brain Research, vol. 278, pp. 492–495, viewed 19 May 2019, <http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2014.09.003>.
Head, KA & Kelly, GS 2009, ‘Nutrients and botanicals for treatment of stress: Adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalance, anxiety, and restless sleep’, Alternative Medicine Review, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 114–140.
Khusid, MA & Vythilingam, M 2016, ‘The Emerging Role of Mindfulness Meditation as Effective Self-Management Strategy, Part 1: Clinical Implications for Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Anxiety’, Military Medicine, vol. 181, Narnia, no. 9, pp. 961–968, viewed 4 June 2019, <https://academic.oup.com/milmed/article/181/9/961-968/4159814>.
Mao, JJ, Xie, SX, Keefe, JR, Soeller, I, Li, QS & Amsterdam, JD 2016, ‘Long-term chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) treatment for generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized clinical trial.’, Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology, vol. 23, no. 14, pp. 1735–1742, viewed 17 May 2019, <https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S094471131630188X>.
McLean, CP, Asnaani, A, Litz, BT & Hofmann, SG 2011, ‘Gender differences in anxiety disorders: prevalence, course of illness, comorbidity and burden of illness.’, Journal of psychiatric research, vol. 45, NIH Public Access, no. 8, pp. 1027–35, viewed 21 October 2019, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21439576>.
Sarris, J, Panossian, A, Schweitzer, I, Stough, C & Scholey, A 2011, ‘Herbal medicine for depression, anxiety and insomnia: A review of psychopharmacology and clinical evidence’, European Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 21, no. 12, pp. 841–860.
Sunderland, M, Newby, JM & Andrews, G 2013, ‘Health anxiety in Australia: Prevalence, comorbidity, disability and service use’, British Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 202, no. 1, pp. 56–61.