- Excessive worry or concern that something bad is going to happen, with an inability to stop worrying
- Worry may interfere with daily activities and relationships
- Tendency to become tired easily
- Poor concentration
- Muscle tension or pain (e.g. in the jaw, back or neck)
- Frequent need to urinate
Panic attacks are one form of anxiety disorder, and may be characterised by symptoms such as:
- Fear of dying or going crazy
- Chest palpitations (increased heart rate)
- Feeling of chest tightness or inability to take in enough air
- Excessive sweating
- Tremors and shaking
- Nausea and stomach pain
Anxiety may arise from a range of factors including:
- Stressful events and social pressures: factors such as job pressure, family pressure, bereavement and the stress of modern day living may all contribute to or trigger anxiety
- Anxiety may also be symptomatic of or triggered by certain health problems, especially conditions associated with hormonal changes such as hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid), pregnancy and giving birth, menopause and premenstrual syndrome. These issues may contribute to the fact that women are more prone to developing some forms of anxiety than men are
- It may also be associated with heart disease (e.g. diabetes)
- A personal or family history of mental health problems may pre-dispose some people to anxiety, and similarly, people with certain personality traits (e.g. perfectionism and/or low self-esteem) or who have experienced family difficulties during childhood are also at increased risk of developing an anxiety disorder
- Nutritional deficiencies of the B-group vitamins, and the minerals magnesium and zinc may contribute to anxiety
Diet and lifestyle
- Suitable stress management techniques such as counselling, meditation, massage and yoga will help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, marijuana and recreational drugs, all of which may make your anxiety worse.
- Exercise is invaluable in the treatment and management of anxiety. Exercise may increase endorphins which are chemicals produced in the brain that have an effect on lifting the mood.
Aromatherapy massage or bathing with essential oils such as lavender relieves anxiety by helping to reduce stress.
Aromatherapy massage or bathing with essential oils such as lavender or sandalwood may help to manage anxiety as they help to reduce stress.
Herbal teas such as chamomile and lemon balm have traditionally been used to calm the nervous system and promote relaxation.
The use of medication alone is not an effective solution for anxiety. Consult your naturopath or other health care professional, for support. Your treatment plan may involve a combination of counselling, nutritional support, herbal medicines and supplementation, as well as changes to diet, lifestyle and exercise regime.