Category Archives: Treatment Options

Nutrition & Lifestyle Issues

Anxiety sufferers are advised to pay attention to dietary and lifestyle factors which can aggravate anxiety (Andrews, Creamer, Crino, Hunt, Lampe & Page, 2003). Caffeine Avoid or limit caffeine. Chocolate, some high energy drinks, hot chocolate beverages, coffee, tea & cola drinks all contain caffeine, a stimulant which accelerates the fight or flight response. Caffeine can interfere with your sleep and make you more nervous. Switch to decaffeinated coffee, herbal tea and/or decaffeinated cola drinks, or reduce the number of cups of coffee/cola you have. Alcohol Alcohol can aggravate anxiety. People with anxiety are often tempted to drink alcohol before and/or during social engagements as it initially decreases anxiety. However, after alcohol has been in your system for a...
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Exercise to Decrease Anxiety

Regular physical exercise is a simple and effective means of reducing stress. Physical exercise is the outlet for the body when it’s in the fight or flight state. Exercise releases the natural chemicals — such as adrenalin — that accumulate during stress. Exercise relieves chronic muscle tension, reduces insomnia and decreases depression and anxiety. Exercise also:
  • increases alertness and concentration
  • reduces skeletal muscle tension and helps people to feel more relaxed
  • leads to a more rapid metabolism of excess adrenaline and thyroxin in the bloodstream (i.e. it reduces the hormones which increase arousal)
  • allows people to discharge their frustrations (which can aggravate phobias or panic reactions)
  • helps you to feel good by stimulating the production of endorphins
  • increases your...
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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety

What does cognitive behavioural therapy involve? Cognitive behavoural therapy posits that how you think affects how you feel, and that your emotions influence your behaviour. Therefore if you think realistic, helpful thoughts you will feel and function better. The example below  — for someone who fears having a panic attack on a train — highlights the interaction between thoughts, physical symptoms and behaviour.  

UNHELPFUL THOUGHT

“Im going to have a panic attack”. I always panic on trains”. “I’ll sweat and shake, everyone will see I’m anxious and think I’m weird”

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PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS

You start to sweat and shake

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Exposure Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Exposure therapy is often essential if you are to overcome your anxiety disorder.The cognitive behavioural treatment of  conditions such as: panic with agoraphobia, simple phobias, social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress usually entails an exposure component. That is, you must subject yourself in the situations you are worried about. Although this sounds frightening, your therapist will give you the tools to cope with confronting your fears (e.g. rational thinking, slow breathing and isometric relaxation). The guidelines for exposure are that the sessions must be
  • graded
  • repeated and regular
  • prolonged
Graded: Your therapist will work with you to determine what would be an appropriate first step; it should be difficult enough to provoke some anxiety but easy enough for you to be fairly...
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