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Nutrition & Lifestyle Issues

Lifestyle, Nutrition and Anxiety

Anxiety sufferers are advised to pay attention to dietary and lifestyle factors which can aggravate anxiety (Andrews, Creamer, Crino, Hunt, Lampe & Page, 2003). There are lots of links between nutrition and stress, such as better sleep patterns, less illness or slugishness and a higher general feeling of well-being.

Some things in your diet that could be linked to stress levels include the following.

 

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 few hours it acts as a stimulant, making you more likely to hyperventilate and putting you at increased risk of having a panic attack.

 

Smoking
Try to quit smoking or at least reduce the number of cigarettes you have. Nictotine, like caffeine, is a stimulant which accelerates the fight or flight response. Unfortunately, many anxious people smoke before or during social events and this will only increase your anxiety. A mental health practitioner can assist you to cease smoking and information on how to stop smoking is available from QUIT.

 

Sleep
Try to get a good night’s sleep. Being overly tired can make you more anxious and increase the likelihood of you having a panic attack.

 

Suppressing Anger
Endeavour to express your anger (1) in an assertive way and (2) as soon as possible after a negative event, as pent up anger increases your level of stress (Andrews et al,2003).

 

Rectreational Drugs
Cocaine, marijuana and amphetamines can increase anxiety levels and lead to users having panic attacks (Burns,1999).
Andrews, G., Creamer, M., Crino, R., Hunt,C., Lampe, L., & Page, A. (2003). The Treatment of Anxiety Disorders. Second Edition. Cambridge, England. Cambridge University Press

 

Change your lifestyle and help decreases anxiety you may feel. We have a team of psychologists in Melbourne waiting to help, call 03 9819 3671 now.

 

Burns,D.D. (1999). The Feeling Good Handbook. New York. New York. Plume.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Anxiety Australia is an anxiety clinic in Hawthorn, Melbourne that is run by Catherine Madigan, who is a clinical psychologist. She primarily focuses on treating anxiety disorders and stress management techniques to individuals and businesses through one on one consultations and stress management workshops.

She is very passionate about treating all kinds of anxiety, as you can tell from the large amount of information and research available on this website. She offers professional, discreet and confidential treatment options that work.

Catherine’s effective anxiety treatments offered in Melbourne can help you overcome disorders such as:

Call now for an appointment on (03) 9819 3671 or 0429 88 3671 or email anxietyaustralia.com.au@gmail.com

The www.anxietyaustralia.com.au/ website provides information about anxiety disorders and the treatment options available. You will also find contact details for other psychologists around Australia who have substantial experience in and/or work primarily with anxiety disorders.

Catherine Madigan is a well known Melbourne based Clinical Psychologist. She is passionate about empowering clients with confidence. The reason her focus is primarily on the treatment of Anxiety Disorders is that she gains great satisfaction by witnessing the freedom and life changing results her therapies can deliver.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in Australia, with 1/7 people (14% of the population) reporting having had an anxiety disorder in the last 12 months. Women are more likely to have an anxiety disorder than men, 18% vs 11%. ABS National Survey of Mental Health & Wellbeing, Summary of Results 2007.

Anxiety or fear is a normal response to a present or imagined threat. Mild fear can be helpful as it enables us to respond quickly when faced with a dangerous situation and to be alert in difficult situations (e.g. exams). However, excessive fear may lead to people being paralysed e.g. soldiers under attack may be so afraid they can’t move to take cover, public speakers may find they go blank, forget their lines and are rendered speechless.

Anxiety is a normal emotion as it affects most people and is widespread. You would be abnormal if you didn’t experience fear sometimes. However, if your anxiety is out of proportion to the situation you are experiencing and/or persists in the absence of threat, e.g you worry about events months ahead or are experiencing anxiety long after the danger has passed, you may need professional help.

Some people are more prone to experiencing anxiety than others and it is not caused by just one thing but by a combination of factors including: genetics, family environment and traumatic life experiences. Sufferers may have unhelpful thinking patterns such as perfectionist standards. Nevertheless, you can learn to manage your anxiety more effectively.

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