I had a friend reach out for help with her anxiety. She's going through a lot of changes, ending an old relationship and moving interstate, and her anxiety has flared up.
When I went through her case, I realised her anxiety and panic attacks started around the same time she had covid.
This is not unusual.
Around 8% of people will develop anxiety or depression post-viral infection (not just COVID) because it crosses the blood-brain barrier.
The blood-brain barrier protects the brain from infection and toxins. It separates the blood cells from brain tissue, but COVID penetrates this.
What happens next is the underlying (biochemical) cause of anxiety, depression, and mental health disorders.
= The brain becomes inflamed.
COVID creates lots of inflammation during and post-infection, this can make us very tired for weeks afterward.
Research has shown over and over again that inflammation underlies the development of anxiety and depression (and most other chronic diseases).
It's not low serotonin.
A study was done on patients with no signs of depression, they were injected with a substance that triggers inflammation in the body and it brought on depressive symptoms in those patients.
If you've not felt quite right since you had covid or another viral infection, then I would recommend the following:
1. Reduce inflammation in your diet: to reduce inflammation in your brain
The place to start is to remove gluten. This protein in wheat is a known inflammatory agent via its damage to the gut.
2. Reduce stress: to reduce brain inflammation:
Mental stress, overwhelm, worry, mood imbalances, or a busy mind all increase inflammation in the body and brain.
It's like a catch-22, stress causes inflammation and inflammation causes more stress. That's why it's important to address both.
Remember that mental wellbeing is about living life to the full, not just the absence of anxiety or depression.
We ALL benefit from supporting our mental wellbeing. It's one of the most important parts of my health routine because it dictates the food choices I make, the energy I have to stay on track, how much exercise I do, and how I treat myself.
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I’m a Naturopath, Transformational Coach, Mind-body Medicine Specialist & Speaker, and I love supporting modern women who are overworked, busy & burnt out.
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