Anxiety has been on the rise since COVID-19 and is very common in the population. There has been a dramatic increase in anxiety disorders seen in clinical practice, including generalised and social anxiety, phobias, panic disorder, and agoraphobia.
Anxiety can present as:
· Overthinking or rumination · Muscle tension in the jaw and neck · Poor appetite · Increased intake of alcohol to relax · Fatigue · Restlessness · Heart palpitations · Nausea · Exhaustion · Poor sleep · Inability to switch-off · Panic attacks
Anxiety is associated with neurotransmitter changes that can decrease the “feel good” ones like serotonin and GABA and increase ones associated with stress. Individuals with prolonged anxiety can exhibit brain changes leading to an increased state of stress and emotional arousal.
Natural therapies are very effective and safe for treating anxiety.
Treatment is specific to individuals, and a combination approach can be the most effective.
· Decreasing and eliminating caffeine
· Magnesium for muscle relaxation
· Sleep hygiene techniques such as not watching TV just before going to bed or looking at phones or computer screens
· Amino acids that can boost neurotransmitters
· Regular exercise can decrease levels of anxiety
· Vitamins and minerals
· Healthy diet – good intakes of nutrients and calming foods are essential to aiding in balancing neurotransmitters
· Herbal medicine
· Mindfulness techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation.
Counselling and psychology techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy can also be helpful.
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