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Treat anxiety with nutrition by nourishing the body with what it needs

Posted on 04-30-15 in Behavioral Health, Mental Health

treat anxiety with nutrition by nourishing the body with what it needs

With the increased demands individuals face on a daily basis, it comes as no surprise that anxiety and generalized anxiety disorders are becoming more prevalent. Anxiety can take on many forms and might include excessive worrying about a career, relationships, financial obligations, health or overall responsibilities. In severe cases, anxiety can become debilitating and interfere with a person’s ability to live a normal life or complete ordinary tasks.

Anxiety prevalence and risk

Anxiety can impact a variety of people. An estimated 6.8 million American adults experience generalized anxiety disorders, with twice as many women as men falling vulnerable to anxiety. Anxiety can occur at any point during an individual’s life and can be triggered by various environmental factors. Any degree of anxiety can be detrimental to one’s physical, emotional and mental health, and learning how to prevent and/or effectively cope with episodes of anxiety can benefit overall well-being.

Common anxiety treatment approaches

Anxiety can be effectively managed through traditional approaches, such as meditation, mindfulness and relaxation techniques, and psychotherapy. In some instances in which anxiety is severe, or in the case of a generalized anxiety disorder, pharmacotherapy can be effectively utilized in conjunction with counseling.

Connection between foods and moods

Perhaps a lesser-known way of coping with and managing anxiety is through nutrition and properly nourishing the body. Eating a diet that provides essential nutrients helps keep the body balanced and enhances overall physical well-being. A poor diet can result in nutrient deficiencies, which can contribute to a decreased ability to regulate mood, low energy and increased risk for developing sickness. In conjunction with other traditional approaches, dietary regulation can be a natural way to reduce and control anxiety episodes.

Many specific nutrients are connected with energy production and mood control.  For example, B vitamins, which are known to enhance energy while steadying the nervous system, are found in many foods, including green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, eggs and citrus foods. Essential fatty acids are sources of healthy fats, which help balance mood and decrease depression and anxiety. Excellent food sources of essential fatty acids include salmon, flax seeds, walnuts, chia seeds and tuna.

Having a healthier diet can begin with making small changes, such as increasing fruits and vegetables, eating a variety of whole grains, cooking more meals at home and eating regular and consistent amounts of food throughout the day. Reducing intake of caffeine, processed foods and refined sugars can also be important steps toward improving diet, mood and overall health.

When anxiety leads to substance abuse

For some individuals, anxiety disorders can co-occur with substance abuse or addiction, further complicating this mental illness. If an underlying issue with anxiety has been left untreated, substance abuse might develop as a means of coping and dealing with anxiety-related disorders. If someone is struggling with both anxiety and substance abuse, it is crucial to find the appropriate treatment to help facilitate effective healing and recovery.

Sovereign Health Group offers an individualized approach to recovery that can empower you to overcome co-occurring disorders, such as addiction and anxiety. By connecting you with the resources you need to effectively heal from underlying mental illnesses, Sovereign Health Group can guide you through recovery from anxiety and substance abuse. If you are interested in learning more about your treatment options at Sovereign Health Group, call 866-544-5504.

Written by Crystal Karges, Sovereign Health Group writer