What you can do
- Drink sweet, milky drinks - they contain a substance called tryptophan, which stimulates the production of seratonin, which calms the mind
- Cut down on stimulants such as tea, coffee, colas and chocolate
- Limit alcohol intake: in small doses it may reduce anxiety; in larger amounts it can make the problem worse. During the withdrawal phase, 6 to 12 hours after heavy drinking, when blood sugar levels are low, people are particularly prone to anxiety attacks
- Eat regularly, aiming for a healthy diet that includes plenty of vitamin B - from foods such as meat, eggs, cheese, nuts and green leafy vegetables.
- Take regular physical exercise
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. After a stressful event, the anxiety will usually go away. But when it persists beyond an event or interferes with your daily life or relationships, it becomes a problem. It can lead to insomnia or panic attacks, or may develop into depression, an obsession or phobia.
Simple home remedies
- Try learning simple relaxation and breathing techniques from self help tapes or DVDs.
- Take regular exercise to help you to relax and sleep better.
- Join a yoga or meditation class.
Medical herbalism can be used to treat moderate anxiety when insomnia, palpitations and slight dizziness are the most common symptoms.
- Lemon balm (200mg capsules) Take three capsules a day, before meals.
- Valerian (240mg capsules) Take 1-2 capsules a day
When to consult a doctor
Consult a doctor if your anxiety is becoming overwhelming. The doctor may prescribe tranquillizers or sleeping pills, or refer you to a psychologist for cognitive behaviour therapy.
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