Anxiety is a common issue in the modern world.
I would know; as a naturopathic doctor, I’ve seen a number of patients over the years who suffer from anxiety.
But while this issue is easy to find, it’s surprisingly hard for many people to deal with.
There are many people looking for anxiety solutions here in Mississauga and elsewhere in the country.
More than you might think, actually.
According to Statistics Canada, one in four Canadians – that’s more than nine million people – will deal with some sort of anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.
While pharmaceutical options can be helpful, there are also naturopathic solutions to help you deal with anxiety.
Before we get into that though, let’s get a better understanding of what anxiety is.
What Is Anxiety?
Feelings of anxiety are as common as feelings of sadness, happiness, or frustration.
It’s how your body was designed to cope with a stressful situation.
If you’ve ever given a talk in front of a group of people, interviewed for a job, or faced an unfamiliar situation, you’re likely familiar with anxiety.
It’s perfectly normal to feel these feelings and does not necessarily indicate any underlying health issues.
However, if you feel a bout of anxiety that’s particularly intense, lasts for longer than six months, doesn’t seem to be about anything in particular, and/or is interfering with the day-to-day activities in your life, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
An anxiety disorder may manifest itself in a number of different ways, which may include:
A condition where you feel bouts of intense terror or fear.
These feelings often come up quickly and without warning, often in response to a specific trigger.
An excessive irrational fear of a certain thing, scenario, or event.
Different than a rational fear – like the general aversion you’d feel to a swarm of wasps flying toward you – phobias are often a fear-based response to an otherwise benign scenario.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is anxiety which is related to a traumatic event in your past.
If you’ve experienced a particularly horrific event in your past, certain triggers can cause you to re-live that event.
This is particularly common with military veterans adjusting to civilian life and refugees fleeing a war-torn part of the world.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD drives you to perform a set of specific, familiar tasks, usually as a result of intrusive and frightening thoughts.
These thoughts may be memories of past trauma or occur with no apparent reason or source.
This can manifest itself in obsessive checking (for example, making sure your doors and windows are locked over and over out of fear someone will break in), hoarding, or compulsive hand-washing or an obsession with cleanliness.
The fear of being away from a certain person or group of people, or location.
Social Anxiety Disorder
An intense fear of unfamiliar social situations.
Usually combined with a fear of being judged by others.
A specific form of anxiety related to your health.
It involves the fear that you have a serious illness.
These days, it’s referred to as “somatic symptom disorder” or “illness anxiety disorder”.
What Causes Anxiety Disorders?
Although the full causes behind anxiety disorders are not yet understood, there are several known risk factors which can contribute to your anxiety disorder or make it worse.
• Having a family history of anxiety
• Being a woman – women are twice as likely as men to develop an anxiety disorder
• Exposure to particularly intense or prolonged traumatic events
• A history of abuse, especially in childhood
• Poor diet and excessive sugar intake
• Thyroid disorders – particularly hypothyroidism
• Issues with serotonin production
• Hormone imbalances – commonly linked to your thyroid
Natural Solutions For Anxiety
Fortunately, there are a number of natural solutions to help you cope with anxiety.
Here are a few:
1. Avoid Processed Foods
A 2016 study by Aucoin and Bhardwaj found that foods high in sugar and carbohydrates can contribute to feelings of anxiety, nervousness, and fatigue.
Processed foods like cookies, pastries, soft drinks, fast food, and packaged sugary cereals all fall into this category.
These foods are generally not the healthiest for you in the first place for many other reasons as well, so it’s a good idea overall to avoid them.
2. Eat More Whole Foods
On the flip side of the coin, eating a high-quality diet made up mostly of whole foods can help reduce feelings of anxiety.
Mood swings, fatigue, and insomnia are often linked with a poor diet as well as high or low blood sugar levels.
Because these symptoms are often linked with anxiety, improving your diet can make a difference here.
Whole foods include things like fruit, vegetables, meats, eggs, yogurt, nuts, seeds, beans, and oils.
And of course, it goes without saying that the organic, un-processed versions of these are the best.
3. Reduce Alcohol, Caffeine, And Tobacco
Caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol don’t seem to cause anxiety disorders, but if you already have one, these substances are likely to make it worse.
As a naturopathic doctor, it’s my job to tell you that the ideal consumption of these substances is zero, but if you must do so limit your alcohol consumption to no more than three drinks per week and your caffeine intake to no more than one cup of coffee per day.
Contact The Mindful Healing Clinic
Have you been suffering from anxiety, and are looking for ways to help deal with it?
If so, contact me, Dr. Maria, to book an appointment here at the Mindful Healing Clinic.
The above solutions are just some of the many natural solutions for anxiety.
We’ll work together to uncover the root causes of your anxiety disorder and put together a treatment plan designed to help you better manage these feelings and live a less anxious life.
Contact the Mindful Healing Clinic to book an appointment today.
Until next time,
Dr. Maria Cavallazzi is a medical doctor from Colombia where she practiced as a family physician for 8 years until she moved to Canada 16 years ago and became a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga.