By Dr. Sheena Wu, ND
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health concerns, affecting millions worldwide. Although anxiety is a natural response to stress or perceived threats, with modern day stressors it can become excessive or persistent, taking a toll on daily functioning as well as the quality of life. Anxiety disorders are an array of disorders, some of the most common ones include panic disorder, phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
The presentation of anxiety is unique to every person, with cause being the combination of contributing factors such as genetic predisposition, brain chemistry, environmental stressors, personality traits, digestive dysfunction, as well as medical conditions. Some have persistent symptoms, while others experienced episodes triggered by specific stressors. Some of the most common symptoms can include –
- Uncontrollable worry that can interfere with daily functioning and/or sleep
- Nervousness and agitation
- Restless, racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating
- Tension in muscles, and/or tension headaches
- Rapid heartbeat, and/or rapid breathing
Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, here are some strategies that can help to improve anxiety symptoms –
- Sleep and stress management – this can include improving sleep hygiene, mindfulness meditation, breathing exercise, and journaling
- Physical activity – having regular exercise and/or physical activities provides a wide array of benefits, and has been found to improve mood and decrease anxiety levels
- Diet and gut health– around 90% of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract, and the gut-brain connection has been increasingly recognized for its impact on mental health along with other health concerns. A healthy gut and a nutritionally diverse diet are crucial in managing stress and anxiety
- Supplements and herbs – simple chamomile or passionflower teas can help improve anxiety symptoms at times of stress, other supplements selected based on individual’s unique needs include – magnesium, lavender, ashwagandha, L-theanine, probiotics and more.
Important note – consult with a health-care practitioner in choosing supplements or herbs to ensure safety and no interactions with other ongoing treatments or medications.
Naturopathic Doctors focus on holistic approach in identifying root cause, evaluating underlying medical conditions and utilize strategies and treatments tailored to the specific patient needs.
If anxiety is affecting your daily functioning, seeing a Naturopathic Doctor is often a good first step in improving your health and quality of life.
Book in today to see how Naturopathic Medicine as well as psychotherapy can help!