Anxiety has many causes, and like most conditions or symptoms, knowing the root cause of the anxiety reveals the best treatment options. Severe anxiety disorders often require counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, and sometimes supervised medication.
Symptoms of anxiety include persistent fears that are unrealistic and exaggerated, and may have sudden feelings of panic unrelated to any specific situation. A person with anxiety may experience a rapid heart beat or palpitations, nervousness, sweating, muscle tension, or digestive disturbances.
Naturopathic tips for relieving anxiety include:
1. Mindfulness & breathing techniques - mindfulness techniques including meditation and breath awareness are correlated with lower anxiety levels, and improved coping ability with acute anxiety; Check out the 1GiantMind app or the offerings on Gaia for at-home meditation and mindfulness guidance
2. Avoidance of sugar - processed sugar and diets high in sugar have been found to contribute to feelings of anxiety
3. Neurotransmitter support - GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, helps to calm the brain and nervous system; taking L-theanine, L-glutamine, vitamin B6, and magnesium are a great support, as a GABA supplement on its own may not cross the blood-brain-barrier easily
4. Probiotics - supporting the digestive tract or "gut" with healthy bacteria helps decrease anxiety (via the gut-brain axis); Look for probiotics that include Bifidobacterium longum and Lactobacillus helveticus and Lactobacillus rhamnosus in the species/ingredients
5. Herbs to decrease anxiety - Kava, Valerian, Lemon balm, and Skullcap all help improve GABA levels and decrease anxiety
If you are looking for guidance on coping with anxiety, or an individualized treatment, talk to your naturopathic doctor.