A Holistic Approach for Diagnosing and Treating Anxiety
Anxiety is a normal and natural emotional response to stress in a person’s life or to a dangerous situation. Anxiety produces additional adrenaline which is a hormone that increases our heart rate. Although anxiety is natural, it becomes a problem when in interferes with our daily routine or if the anxiety is not in proportion to the stress that triggers it. Everyone encounters stress and anxiety, but people who are exposed to long periods of anxiety may be subject to severe health risks. Some people have feelings of anxiety even when they are not exposed to stress or danger. This is referred to as an anxiety disorder.
Those with anxiety disorders often have panic attacks which are states of extreme nervousness that can be accompanied by sweaty palms, heart palpitations, tingling in extremities, and feelings of dizziness. It is important to rule out any underlying physical issues such as low blood sugar, thyroid problems, mitral valve prolapse, depression, or nutritional deficiencies when addressing anxiety.
Anxiety should be treated from a holistic and integrated approach. From a self-care stand point, the patient should be encouraged to engage in stress reducing activity such as light exercise, massage therapy, and/or acupuncture. From a diet perspective, foods with high nutritional value like fruits and vegetables should be encouraged. In order to help keep blood sugar levels stable, smaller meals throughout the day should be consumed as opposed to three large meals. Complex carbohydrates contain serotonin which produces a calming effect in the brain. Therefore, food items such as brown rice, oatmeal, and whole grain breads, etc. should be consumed at each of those small meals.
While food can be helpful in treating anxiety, other foods may worsen the anxious feelings. Those potentially anxiety increasing foods include caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugar. Nicotine can also make anxiety worse. If you would like an assessment to see if you have an anxiety disorder, or if you are seeking holistic help for anxiety, the licensed professional staff at Total Health Guidance are available to help and can be reached at 321-332-6984.