Mental health & the risk of comorbid conditions
Affecting approximately 5.7% of Australians, anxiety can vary from a slight sensation of unease to a terrifying panic attack. Anxiety is a dysfunctional reaction to a stressor or perceived threat. It reflects a combination of biochemical changes in the body, the patient's personal history and memory, and the social situation. Anxiety disorders affect emotions, behaviour and physical well-being along with a significant increase to being at risk of comorbid conditions. Early intervention for anxiety disorders is imperative to reduce the risk of adverse outcomes such as alcohol and or drug addiction, depression or suicide. . A large portion of human anxiety is produced by negative expectation or anticipation of future events.
The consequences of having an anxiety disorder are not only extremely encumbering it also undesirably affects function along with a significant increase to being at risk of comorbid conditions.
Comorbid condition risks that are interconnected with anxiety disorders may also be associated with inflammation. Research has shown that in PTSD for example the quantities of inflammatory markers are high.
Multifactorial chronic immune mediated inflammatory diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis, not only affect the patient in a work and social context but the chronic pain, instability of prognosis intensify the incidence of anxiety and may lead to incidence of other diseases.
Women that have been exposed to domestic violence are more probable to have a mental disorder diagnosis. The probability of these women to have PTSD is between 55 – 92%.
The hormonal stress response is regulated by the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and produces stress hormones known as glucocorticoid hormones. In children the HPA axis is underdeveloped and so will produce glucocorticoid hormones for a longer period of time than an adult would. Protracted exposure to glucocorticoid hormones changes in neural development, of the brain and behaviour can be a consequence of this.
A Naturopath’s treatment will look at the determinants of health and ascertain what is driving and sustaining the disorders. A trauma at any age can impinge on the nervous system and lead to anxiety.
Using food as medicine we are able to stimulate the healing power of nature and the self-healing process. A commitment to the process of healing is required not only in diet but lifestyle as well. By addressing the weakened systems holistically I have had incredible success in strengthening of immunity function with a noticeable decrease in anxiety and depression and an increase in energy.
Following an anti- inflammatory diet can be extremely powerful for those with neurodiversity. Microbial imbalances are shown to have an impact on neurobiology and mood, especially symptoms of anxiety, those with digestive disorders or dysbiosis often find that when homeostasis is reached within the gut anxiety decreases. Inflammation drives different factors that link to depressive disorders. These include inflammatory processes and related alterations to neuroendocrine and neurotransmitter pathways.
Eating whole foods rather than processed, an abundance of organic or spray free vegetables and fruit.
Avocado, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, grapes, oranges, raspberries, strawberries all have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemical constituents.
Health anxiety in Australia: Prevalence, comorbidity, disability and service use.
British Journal of Psychiatry. Sunderland, M., Newby, J. M., & Andrews, G. (2013).
Anxiety disorders and inflammation in a large adult cohort.
Translational Psychiatry. Vogelzangs, N., Beekman, A. T. F., de Jonge, P., & Penninx, B. W. J. H. (2013)
Domestic Violence Victims in Shelters: What Do We Know About Their Mental Health? Community Mental Health Journal Akyazi, S., Tabo, A., Guveli, H., İlnem, M. C., & Oflaz, S. (2018).