I was listening to a podcast the other day on http://www.theocdstories.com and Stuart was interviewing a naturopathic doctor. I am always interested in what doctors have to say about a holistic approach to anxiety and OCD. I feel like it is very practical to examine anxiety that takes into account the whole person. For me personally, I am on medication, but I know that simply taking my Lexapro is not going to take care of my anxiety and OCD for me. I have to do my ERP therapy, use my paradoxes in relation to anxiety, and now I am trying to incorporate healthy habits. Dr. Pare brought up some ideas that I have been considering adapting.
One thing I have read about and heard from several doctors is the benefit of Omega 3’s for anxiety. Apparently Omega 3’s are good for brain health along with joint and heart benefits. I started taking Omega 3’s a while back and had to stop because of a nasty fishy aftertaste (some of the best forms are in fish oil capsules). Recently, I found a way around this. I simply take one capsule at night before I fall asleep. Some studies suggest that Omega 3’s can also help boost the effectiveness of SSRI’s, which is what Lexapro is.
Dr. Pare also mentioned vitamin B. Vitamin B is believed to help a lot with depression, however, there are some studies that say it could help with anxiety as well. I recently started taking a general multivitamin that has B vitamins in it. If you don’t want to take a multivitamin, you can always buy a specific B complex.
Another thing that she stressed was trying to get as many vitamins and nutrients from foods as we can. Sometimes the bottled vitamin form is not well-digested by our bodies, but if we are eating good fruits and veggies, our body will pull out what it needs. This is a hard one for me. I love carbs and sugar. Anything that is colorful I tend to avoid. I’m working on it though. I have tried a couple of the “natural” smoothies you can get at your grocery store. This is because Dr. Pare suggested blending fruits/veggies instead of trying to eat them all with meals. I cannot even imagine how hard that would be to eat all those different fruits and vegetables in one day! The brand was Bolthouse Farms. One was called Berry Boost. It has lots of different berries (obviously) in it. The other is a disgusting-looking green smoothie that has veggies and fruit in it. Surprisingly, the color is the only bad thing about that smoothie. It actually tastes sweet, like fruit.
Another thing she suggested was staying away from caffeine.
Let’s pause and mourn for a second.
Now, I’m trying to not be so black-and-white all the time. My OCD hates it, but it is good for me. I do not think that everyone needs to apply all these suggestions and abandon caffeine forever. I know I will not. However, some days I do feel really jittery and I think it is due to my caffeine intake. I think I could afford to cut back.
For example, this past weekend, my husband and I went to a cook out at his mom’s house. It was a lot of fun. I had A LOT of caffeine and I could feel it. It made me so jittery. I don’t particularly like that feeling and it tends to produce anxiety for me.
The idea is that if you have some problems already with anxiety, caffeine can actually agitate those neurotransmitters, triggering an anxious state or even panic attack symptoms. Another example of this is when I drink coffee too late in the day and I have trouble falling asleep at night.
And of course, they say exercise is always good. No pain, no gain right?
I have a hard time believing them, but I am trying to be a little more active.
What are some things you have done to help your anxiety, OCD, or depression in regards to nutrition, supplements, exercise, etc?