Anxiety Disorder is a complex feeling of apprehension, fear, and worry, often accompanied by pulmonary, cardiac, and other physical sensations. It is a common condition that can be a self-limited physiologic response to a stressor, or it can persist and result in debilitating emotions. When pathologic, it can exist as a primary disorder, or it can be associated with a medical illness or other primary psychiatric illnesses (for example, depression and psychosis).
Causes/ Risk Factors of Anxiety Disorder
Susceptibility to anxiety disorders appears to be associated with multiple factors (listed below). When susceptible individuals are confronted with situations, stress, or trauma clinically significant syndromes may result. An imbalance of neurotransmitters and peptides in the central nervous system appears to be a factor. Noradrenalin, serotonin, and corticotropin-releasing factor may all be involved. In general, the autonomic nervous system, particularly the sympathetic nervous system, regulates many of the symptoms.
- Genetic vulnerability
- Traumatic early life experiences
- Anxious mother
- Stress, depression, other psychiatric conditions
- Life situations (social or financial problems)
- Digestive disorder
- Nutritional factors: allergies or intolerances to food, food coloring, or additives.
- Environmental exposures: chronic exposure to lead, mercury and other toxic metals have been linked to a variety of neurobehavioral conditions in children.
Signs and Symptoms
- Muscle tension
- Irregular and/or fast heartbeat
- Shortness of breath (Dyspnoea)
- Dizziness/feeling faint
- Feelings of unreality
- Impaired concentration
- Excessive worry/sense of impending doom
- Sighing respiration
- Sleep disturbances
In order to obtain optimal results, the patient might consider a holistic approach that integrates several treatments to address biochemical, physiological, energetic, emotional and/or spiritual imbalances.
Biomedical Treatment for Anxiety Disorder
Biomedical or Nutritional and Environmental Treatments include Diet, Nutrient Therapy, Detoxification and treatment of infections.
Consult a Biomedical Doctor, Naturopath or Nutritional Practitioner to investigate the needs of the individual to:
- Improve gastrointestinal health
- Screen for food sensitivities and allergies
- Address nutritional deficiencies
- Determine the impact of environmental toxins
- Balance hormone levels (e.g. reducing estrogen)
- Balance blood sugar levels
- Restore healthy sleeping patterns
- Manage hyperthyroidism
To find a Nutritional or Biomedical practitioner near you, click here
Diet Tips for Anxiety Disorder
- Avoid coffee, cola, and other caffeinated drinks.
- Reduce sugar and carbohydrates, as hypoglycemia is a trigger for anxiety
- Try a gluten/dairy-free and/or grain-free diet to reduce stress on the nervous system
- Eat adequate protein to provide essential amino acids for healthy neurotransmitter production
- Emphasise foods high in magnesium, such as green vegetables and nuts.
- Eat small, regular meals to regulate blood sugar
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
- Consume wild/free range oily fish 2-3 times per week and supplement with purified Omega 3
- Avoid known food allergens
Lifestyle Tips for Anxiety Disorder
- Counseling may assist in restoring self-esteem, problem-solving, and coping with life stresses.
- Positive psychology strategies are self-treatment techniques to help control anxiety; many patients require non-pharmacological treatment and succeed with self-regulation techniques, including deep breathing, keeping a stress diary, learning objectivity and practicing resilience.
- Massage, aromatherapy, and spa therapies have been shown to reduce anxiety
- Acupuncture is effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety
- Regular exercise is crucial to reducing sympathetic nervous system overactivity and managing anxiety disorder
- Yoga, Tai Chi or other relaxing activities may also be useful
- Recreational drugs should be avoided as they can aggravate symptoms and interfere with medications
- Gut and Psychology Syndrome
- Nutrient Power
- Primal Body, Primal Mind
- The Better Brain Book
- Grain-Free Gourmet
- Paleo Comfort Foods
- Healing Foods
- Dangerous Grains
- Supercharged Foods
Where can I find a certified practitioner?Finding a well-trained Integrative and/or Functional practitioner requires research but is a vital step in treating complex and chronic illness.
Below are links to lists of practitioners worldwide. We recommend you research the scope, expertise and experience of any practitioners you are considering.
U.S. & GlobalInstitute of Functional Medicine
Integrative Medicine for Mental Health
Medical Academy of Paediatric Special Needs (MAPS)
Australia & New ZealandMindd Foundation
The Australian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine (ACNEM)
UKThe British Society for Ecological Medicine
Disclaimer: Mindd Foundation does not endorse any specific individuals listed and makes no representations, warranties, nor guarantees and assumes no responsibility for any services provided. Mindd Foundation expressly disclaims all liability for damages of any kind as a result of using any products or services provided by those listed.