Biological Systems Involved In Anxiety
Due to the complex biology of anxiety, its unsurprising that SSRI medications like Zoloft or Lexapro, which only target one of these systems , are ineffective for 30-40% of patients. Benzodiazepines like Klonopin or Ativan may work for more people, but their adverse effects can include memory problems, dependence, and addiction.
On the other hand, natural herbs and supplements for anxiety can address multiple systems at once without potential for dependence and addiction.
Recommended Reading: How Do You Stop Stress
What Is An Anxiety Disorder
An anxiety disorder is a type of mental health condition. If you have an anxiety disorder, you may respond to certain things and situations with fear and dread. You may also experience physical signs of anxiety, such as a pounding heart and sweating.
Its normal to have some anxiety. You may feel anxious or nervous if you have to tackle a problem at work, go to an interview, take a test or make an important decision. And anxiety can even be beneficial. For example, anxiety helps us notice dangerous situations and focuses our attention, so we stay safe.
But an anxiety disorder goes beyond the regular nervousness and slight fear you may feel from time to time. An anxiety disorder happens when:
- Anxiety interferes with your ability to function.
- You often overreact when something triggers your emotions.
- You cant control your responses to situations.
Anxiety disorders can make it difficult to get through the day. Fortunately, there are several effective treatments for anxiety disorders.
Dont Rely On Food To De
Yes, these foods may help reduce your cortisol levels but they wont have a significant impact on their own if youre not prioritizing stress management in other ways.
If you have a healthy diet but youre still incredibly stressed and not sleeping enough, you wont see the results youre looking for with food alone, Barth warns.
The key to lowering stress is a whole-body approach that includes exercising, getting enough sleep and managing chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity all of which can put your body in a prolonged state of inflammation.
And although we cant control our genes or, to some extent, our environment, we can help our bodies when we make smart decisions about the food we eat.
When it comes to our health, nutrition is the one thing we can control, Barth says.
Recommended Reading: Is Natrol Stress And Anxiety Safe
Learn To Recognize The Signs Of Anxiety
Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health condition in the United States, affecting up to 18% of the population. Knowing the signs of anxiety can help you realize when someone you love is having fearful thoughts or feelings. Symptoms vary from person to person but can be broken into three categories:
How Are Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed
If you have symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Theyll start with a complete medical history and physical examination.
There are no lab tests or scans that can diagnose anxiety disorders. But your provider may run some of these tests to rule out physical conditions that may be causing symptoms.
Don’t Miss: How To Relieve Stress For Students
Psychological Therapies For Gad
If you have been diagnosed with GAD, you’ll usually be advised to try psychological treatment before you’re prescribed medication.
You can get psychological therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy and applied relaxation on the NHS.
You can refer yourself directly to an NHS psychological therapies service without a referral from a GP.
Or your GP can refer you if you prefer.
Otcs To Supplement Other Anxiety Treatments
Other types of treatments for anxiety might include talk therapy and prescription medications .
You can theoretically use over-the-counter medications for anxiety while receiving other treatments. But first, ask yourself why. Some common reasons to continue to use over-the-counter remedies alongside other treatments include:
- You are in therapy and need some additional relief from your acute symptoms but you are wary of taking a prescription medication.
- You are taking a prescription medication, but are waiting for it to take effect and need short-term relief.
- You are already using an alternative treatment and want to add over-the-counter medication to your treatment plan.
In all these cases, it’s likely that you will be better off consulting with your doctor. They can help you determine the best course of treatment for you. If you are only receiving talk therapy and want a short-term solution for mild anxiety that bothers you mostly at night, then an over-the-counter solution might be helpful, though it’s best to consult a physician first.
Never combine an over-the-counter medication with prescription medication for anxiety without the advice of your doctor, as there is the possibility of medication interaction and negative side effects.
Recommended Reading: How Can I Be Less Stressed
What Is A Panic Disorder
If you have a panic disorder, you get intense, sudden panic attacks. These attacks often feature stronger, more intense feelings than other types of anxiety disorders.
The feelings of terror may start suddenly and unexpectedly or they may come from a trigger, like facing a situation you dread. Panic attacks can resemble heart attacks. If theres any chance youre experiencing a heart attack, go to the emergency room. Its better to err on the side of caution and have a healthcare professional check you.
During a panic attack, you may experience:
- Chest pain.
- Feeling of choking, which can make you think youre having a heart attack or going crazy.
Panic attacks are very upsetting. People with panic disorder often spend a lot of time worrying about the next panic attack. They also try to avoid situations that might trigger an attack.
Screenings And Diagnosis For Anxiety
Sometimes, anxiety can be related to a medical condition. Your primary care provider can check for signs of an underlying medical condition or medications that could be causing your anxiety. If your doctor suspects a medical condition could be the cause, they may order a blood or urine test.
In cases of severe anxiety, your doctor may refer you to a mental health specialist who can help diagnose and treat your condition. In order to diagnose an anxiety disorder, your mental health specialist may give you a psychological questionnaire or check your symptoms based on the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders .
You May Like: What Is Stress And Anxiety
What Causes Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are like other forms of mental illness. They dont come from personal weakness, character flaws or problems with upbringing. But researchers dont know exactly what causes anxiety disorders. They suspect a combination of factors plays a role:
- Chemical imbalance: Severe or long-lasting stress can change the chemical balance that controls your mood. Experiencing a lot of stress over a long period can lead to an anxiety disorder.
- Environmental factors: Experiencing a trauma might trigger an anxiety disorder, especially in someone who has inherited a higher risk to start.
- Heredity: Anxiety disorders tend to run in families. You may inherit them from one or both parents, like eye color.
Prioritize Getting A Good Nights Rest
Sleep has been proven time and time again to be an important part of good mental health.
Even though a 2012 survey found that nearly a third of adults get less than 6 hours of sleep a night, the that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day.
You can make sleep a priority by:
- only sleeping at night when youre tired
- not reading or watching television in bed
- not using your phone, tablet, or computer in bed
- not tossing and turning in your bed or going to another room if you cant sleep
- avoiding caffeine, large meals, and nicotine before bedtime
- keeping your room dark and cool
- writing down your worries before going to bed
- going to sleep at the same time each night
Recommended Reading: Why Does My Chest Hurt When I Get Stressed
A Few Final Words About Anxiety
Anxiety impacts people in different ways and can be triggered by different things too, both past and present experiences. Fortunately, help is available to help people understand and manage their anxiety the biggest hurdle is recognising it in the first place.
Now that youve read this article, we hope its answered any initial queries you may have had about anxiety and that youve found it a useful starting point for dealing with anxiety. For more practical advice for dealing with anxiety, read ‘8 ways to be kind to yourself‘.
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Keep A Thought Diary And Challenge Any Negative Thinking
Writing down what youre worrying about can help you to clear your head and reduce stress and anxiety. You could keep a journal or have a notes file in your phone, and write down your thoughts whenever youre feeling anxious. Its almost like youre transferring them out of your head and into your journal.
Doing this can also help you to see what youre thinking about more clearly and to challenge negative thinking. If youre having trouble challenging your thinking, you could try asking someone you trust or a therapist to help you out.
Recommended Reading: How To Know You Are Stressed
Magnesium: Natural Anxiety Reliever
Magnesium has been called the master mineral for the role it plays in over 600 metabolic functions in the body.
Its also been called natures Valium because its so good at combating stress and relaxing you.
There is a direct correlation between low magnesium levels and how easily you get stressed out.
The link between magnesium and anxiety is so strong that researchers can induce anxiety in lab animals at will by depriving them of magnesium.
Stress causes magnesium to be excreted during urination, thereby depleting body stores.
One way magnesium neutralizes stress is by binding to and stimulating GABA receptors in the brain.
GABA is a major neurotransmitter that slows down overstimulated brain activity.
Typical signs of a low GABA level include being easily overwhelmed and laying awake at night with racing thoughts.
When GABA is low, it becomes impossible to relax.
Low GABA is associated with numerous stress-related disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Magnesium not only restricts the release of stress hormones, but also acts as a filter to prevent them from entering the brain.
Other ways magnesium can alleviate anxiety is by reducing chronic brain inflammation, removing heavy metals from the brain, and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Keeping your magnesium level in the healthy range is one of the best things you can do to become more resilient to stress and anxiety.
Whats The Difference Between Stress And Anxiety
Because the symptoms of stress and anxiety are so similar, many people use the terms interchangeably. It is useful to understand the difference as many vitamins help both but the definition is different. Shared symptoms between the two conditions include:
A hard time concentrating on tasks, conversations, etc.
Mood swings or mood changes, such as irritability
Chronic fatigue and loss of motivation
However, while stress is a response to a short-term trigger , anxiety is a persistent feeling that never goes away.
Whether youre experiencing long-term anxiety or short-term stress, psychologists point out that both are emotional responses within your brain and nervous system. And an ever-expanding body of research is investigating how the foods you eat affect how you feel, and whether specific vitamins and minerals can help your brain to better moderate your emotional responses to lifes difficulties.
Get the nutrients you need to help feel less anxious with the Heights Smart Supplement.
Don’t Miss: How Do I Manage Stress And Anxiety
Create Obstacles And Rewards
If you tend to pick up your phone when youre supposed to be working, turn off your phone and put it somewhere out of sight before you get started with the day.
Make sure to reward yourself for your efforts, too. After you get a good chunk of work done, take a break to watch a funny video, catch up with your friends, or swap selfies with your partner.
Thinking in terms of rewards rather than punishments can help you encourage yourself, too.
- Instead of: If I dont work out tonight, I cant watch the next episode of Lucifer.’
- Try: Ill go for a jog after work, and then Ill watch an episode of Lucifer before bed.
If youre a long-time procrastinator, breaking the habit may require a little extra support.
Connecting with a therapist may be a good next step when procrastination:
- affects your performance at school or work
- creates problems in your personal relationships
- leads to feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression, or makes existing symptoms worse
A therapist can help you identify and explore possible emotional triggers. They can also provide more insight into any underlying mental health concerns contributing to procrastination.
Controlling Anxiety With Food
All of the above foods are beneficial for dealing with your anxiety. They provide vitamins and nutrients that are known to calm the mind and body while also increasing energy and stabilizing your mood. Combine those foods with a balanced diet that is free of fried foods and harmful ingredients and you should see a marked difference in your anxiety levels.
Still, it’s important to remember that understanding your anxiety is still step one. I’ve helped thousands of people learn to deal with their anxiety and I always recommend they start with my anxiety test I created specifically to provide a snapshot of your current anxiety. This test will help you:
- Find out what symptoms you experience are caused by anxiety .
- Understand the core components of your anxiety experience .
- Provide the next steps for overcoming anxiety.
Foods for anxiety are a great first step, but they’re only a first step. Take my anxiety test, and learn what it takes to cure anxiety once and for all.
Was this article helpful?
Also Check: How To Treat Hair Loss From Stress
Try This: Affect Labeling
Focus on labeling your emotions clearly and be as specific as you can be. You might start by saying something general such as I feel bad, but work on going further to really identify the source of the distress and how you feel about it.
After some thought, you might realize that you feel bad because you are worried, angry, or disappointed. Acknowledge and accept your emotions without judging them.
What Causes Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are a symptom of panic disorders. According to the NHS, panic disorders involve feeling anxious, stressed and panicked at any time, for no apparent reason.
They usually happen on a regular basis too.
Panic is the most severe form of anxiety, and worrying about experiencing a new attack can make people feel more on edge and susceptible to having more panic attacks.3
Recommended Reading: Can Stress Cause Chronic Migraines
Procrastination And Emotional Regulation
Research suggests that procrastination often relates to your mood and emotional mindset.
In other words, procrastination doesnt happen because youre lazy and unproductive or dont know how to do something . It happens because you dread the emotional distress you foresee.
Maybe you already experienced this irritation and frustration firsthand and dont want a repeat. But you could also have some preconceived ideas about how awful and difficult that chore or assignment will turn out to be.
Either way, you set the task aside, promising yourself to handle it later when you feel better able to manage those feelings.
Sometimes, its easy to see where the distress comes from:
- You put off a quick phone call to schedule your dental check-up, because youre certain you have a cavity or two and feel anxious about facing an afternoon of drilling.
- You avoid calling your sister after an argument, because you know you need to admit you were wrong and apologize.
You might have a harder time pinning down other sources of emotional distress, especially when they relate to ongoing or deeper-seated sources of emotional turmoil.
Stress Drugs For Stress And Anxiety
While there are currently no drugs specifically for stress, there are enough for anxiety that should have roughly the same overall effect. But because of the adverse reactions and the physiological and psychological dependency risks, even these should be used extremely sparingly.
Was this article helpful?
Read Also: Can Stress Cause Leg Cramps
E Social Anxieties And Phobias
For those with social anxieties, medications can help to reduce the tensions associated with entering the fearful situation, to bring a racing heart and sweaty palms under control, and to reduce some shyness.
The drugs with the longest history of use with social anxiety are the beta adrenergic blocking agents, also known as beta blockers. The most commonly used are propranolol and atenolol . The patient can take propranolol as needed or in dosages of 10 to 20 mg three to four times a day, or atenolol in dosages of 25 to 100 mg once daily. Surprisingly, controlled research studies have not supported the widespread anecdotal reports of success with beta blockers. Its possible that their best use is for occasional mild social anxieties associated with performance.
If the social anxiety is more general, unpredictable and widespread, then patients may need to take venlafaxine, an MAOI such as phenelzine, or an SSRI such as sertraline. Keep in mind that these medications take several weeks to work.
Bupropion does not have enough evidence yet to verify its effectiveness for social anxiety disorder.