Whilst there is no magical pill that can ‘turn off’ anxiety, there are multiple avenues that anxiety can be addressed through.
It is important to identify and source what may be feeding or exacerbating your anxiety so that the stimulant, or aggravating factors, can be addressed.
As mentioned above, hormonal fluctuations, hormone deficiencies and hormone excesses can add to the anxious picture. Addressing these imbalances can level out any influencing factors so that the mind and the body can return to optimal health.
Contact the Australian Menopause Centre to discuss an individualised, more natural, bio-identical option.
There are a vast range of supplements that can help to reduce anxiety, depending on where the anxiety stems from. I have listed the more common substances below:
Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA): GABA is your primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. It is GABA’s job to reduce mental activity or stimulation of the brain, proving it to be a great substance for the over active mind, helping to slow things down so that each thought can be considered, or sleep can be achieved.
NeuroCalm: NeuroCalm is a combination of anxiolytic herbs used to enhance relaxation, and reduce over activity of the brain without impairing cognition. This product is indicated if someone is anxious or tense.
Adaptan: Adaptan is a combination of calming, restoring and energising herbs, combined to help the body adapt and perform in a stressful situation. This product is indicated if someone is anxious or tired.
Proxan: Proxan is a combination of amino acids, vitamins and minerals designed to provide all the building blocks needed to produce a healthy level of a range of neurotransmitters creating an environment for healthy mood and brain function.
NeuroLift: NeuroLift is a combination of herbs, nutrients and co-factors needed to support and regulate moods, stress response and thyroid function.
Resilian: Resilian is a combination of herbs ideal to support emotional resilience in sensitive people who may be teary, weepy and anxious. This combination contains herbs to energise and adapt to the stress, whilst modulating GABA and serotonin receptors.
NUMg Active + B + Minerals: This is a high strength magnesium with activated B vitamins and minerals. Magnesium is great at relaxing the physical body (muscular tensions) and the magnesium and B’s are utilised in all thought processes. Anxiety, or an overactivity of the brain can quickly deplete your stores, leaving you vulnerable and quick to stress or be overwhelmed.
NUSAMe Active B: SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) is a naturally occurring compound involved in multiple processes within the body, including the production and breakdown of brain chemicals such as serotonin, melatonin and dopamine. SAMe is believed to produce multiple benefits within the body, including mood enhancement. This product also contains B6, B9 and B12 ensuring that the SAMe provided can be utilised within the body.
There are two main classes of pharmaceuticals used in anxiety:
Benzodiazepines: This class of medication appears to work by binding to specific receptor sites, enhancing the effects of GABA and other inhibitory neurotransmitters. Examples of this class of medication is Xanax and Valium.
Serotonin receptor agonists: This class of medication is believed to work by stimulating serotonin receptors in a manner similar to serotonin, producing a serotonergic benefit. Examples of this class of medication is Frova and Zomig.
There are a range of medications that exist and it is recommended to discuss this further with your GP.
Caffeine: Those who experience anxiety should avoid coffee, coca cola and other caffeinated beverages. These products will place unnecessary stress on your adrenals and heart, and often increase (an already overactive) mind.
Sugar: Sugar and refined carbohydrates should be reduced as low blood sugar can be a trigger for anxiety and the rollercoaster of a sugar hit is not good for moods or anxiety.
Protein: Enjoy sufficient protein from your diet (chicken, nuts, eggs, fish etc.). Adequate protein provides essential amino acids for healthy neurotransmitter production. Sufficient protein is approx. 0.7-1g protein per kg of body weight (i.e. a 60kg person requires 42-60g protein).
Magnesium: Make a conscious effort to include magnesium rich foods into your routine. This includes dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, whole grains and avocado.
Oily fish: Enjoy 3-4 serves of oily fish each week. This will help to boost your omega 3 fatty acids, ensuring that you have the building blocks required for brain structure and insulation for nervous system communication.
Allergies or intolerances: Avoid any known food allergies or food intolerances as this not only places extra pressure on your overworked system, but it wears and tears at your digestive tract, reducing your serotonin production and reducing your body’s ‘first line of defence’.
- Get adequate sleep: Poor sleep has a strong effect on mood, primarily due to the neurotransmitters needed to support mood being replenished with sleep.
- Get regular exercise: Yoga, Qi Chong, Tai Chi etc. Not only can exercise stimulate the production of serotonin and endorphins, but it can also help to increase self-esteem, self-confidence and a sense of empowerment. Numerous studies have found exercise to be effective in elevating mood and reducing symptoms of depression, with mindful movement (yoga, Tai Chi, etc.) being found to be particularly beneficial for improvement in anxiety symptoms.
- Stress: Too much stress exacerbates depression and anxiety. Begin by identifying what creates stress for you (your stressors) and see if you can make changes in your life to reduce these stressors. If changing the stressor is not possible, change the way you respond to the stressor.
- Prioritise ‘me-time’: Whilst eliminating stress is rarely possible, it is strongly encouraged to have a stress-release. Listen to music, take long walks, remove yourself from the stress for an hour or so, replace unnecessary time-consuming chores with pleasurable or interesting activities, learn a language or learn to play an instrument. The aim of this ‘me-time’ is to get you out of your head and into the present in a calm and enjoyable manner.
- Talk about it: Strong relationships and social support networks reduce isolation and loneliness. Anxiety can cause us to avoid other people and become isolated, but reaching out to family and friends can help you handle your anxiety. Physically, having a loved one (two or four legged) can calm you and reduce the fight or flight anxiety response.
- Thoughts and emotions: It has been found that we tend to believe that our emotions are part of who we are and can’t be changed. This is not accurate. Emotions can be changed by altering the situation, shifting our attention and by re-framing our perspective. How we choose to live our lives impacts on the way we feel every day. Our perceptions or attitude can make a massive difference in the day-to-day routine and quality of life.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy: Cognitive behavioural therapy is among one of the most effective ways of reducing stress related anxiety and improving well-being and quality of life. A typical approach to this includes identifying the sources of stress, restructuring priorities, changing your response to stress and finding methods for managing and reducing stress.
- Speak to a professional: The sooner you seek support, the more likely you are to recover.
If you are experiencing anxiety and it is interrupting your lifestyle, talk about it and seek support. The sooner a person with anxiety seeks support, the more likely they are to recover.