How do you deal with anxiety?

We all deal with anxiety at some point but it starts to be a problem when it impacts your day-to-day life.

How do you deal with anxiety?

We all deal with anxiety at some point but it starts to be a problem when it impacts your day-to-day life. Bad anxiety or anxiety disorders can be incredibly debilitating; causing panic attacks, insomnia, restlessness, irritation and even nausea. Fortunately, there are strategies, therapies and medications that can make anxiety much more manageable.

What causes anxiety?

Anxiety is triggered by your body’s fight or flight response. This was useful from an evolutionary standpoint; our early ancestors were constantly exposed to danger, so their anxiety helped them survive by planning for potential danger, avoiding risks and staying alert. These days, the triggers for our anxiety can be harder to pinpoint. Anxiety can arise from any number of different situations. Early childhood trauma, poor physical health, traumatic events in adulthood, neglect and financial pressures are just a few of the potential causes.

Symptoms of anxiety

People often experience anxiety differently and symptoms can vary depending on the type of anxiety you experience. Common symptoms include:

  • Tension and restlessness
  • Nausea
  • A sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Headaches or other physical pain
  • Palpitations (heart racing)
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive issues
  • Hyperventilation
  • Sweating
  • Easily fatigued
  • Difficulty focusing

Different types of anxiety

  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder is characterised by persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about activities or events, including mundane, everyday situations. The worry is out of proportion to the situation, hard to control, and affects how you feel physically. It is frequently associated with other anxiety disorders or depression.
  • Panic Disorder is the sudden onset of extreme fear or terror that escalates to a panic attack. You may feel a sense of impending doom, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and chest pain.
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder often relates to children who experience intense anxiety when separated from their parents or guardians. However, this can occur in adulthood too.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder is the avoidance of social situations as a result of feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, and fear of being judged by others. The person may feel fear when they find themselves in social situations.
  • Substance-induced anxiety occurs when taking a drug or stopping taking a drug makes you nervous, antsy, or scared.
  • Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety characterised by a strong sense of being trapped and fears of being unable to get away or get help.
  • Physical Health can also cause anxiety. This could be around the prognosis, symptoms or restrictions on day-to-day life.

How is anxiety treated?

The treatment for people suffering from anxiety differs from person to person and the type of anxiety that they experience. Psychotherapy and medication are the two main treatments for anxiety disorders. Some individuals can learn to manage their anxiety without any medication through regular counselling and healthy lifestyle changes. However, many people need medication to support their initial treatment and others may need medication indefinitely.


Psychotherapy is when a patient works with a professional therapist or psychologist. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used technique, and it involves learning specific strategies to improve your symptoms as well as exposure therapy to help build your confidence in dealing with triggers.


If the anxiety is severe or psychotherapy alone is not enough for the patient, they may be prescribed medications to alleviate the symptoms of their anxiety. Medications often prescribed for anxiety include anti-depressants, buspirone and benzodiazepines. Since medicinal cannabis became available in New Zealand, some patients are now requesting cannabis prescriptions to help with their anxiety.

Tips for improving your anxiety

There are a few things you can do every day to help you deal with your anxiety:

  • Get into an exercise routine. This could be simple stretching, walking or more intensive exercise. Stick with the activity you enjoy most, so you’re more likely to continue with it.
  • Improve your diet. Ensure you’re getting regular, healthy, balanced meals and the right micronutrients.
  • Prioritise sleep. Get into a regular sleep hygiene routine to help you relax and enjoy a more restful sleep.
  • Avoid recreational drugs and alcohol.  Many substances may worsen your anxiety and overall mood.
  • Stress management. Meditation, breathing exercises and yoga can help keep you calm.

Could CBD oil help with anxiety?

Recently, patients in New Zealand have started seeking out medical cannabis treatments for their anxiety. Researchers think that CBD oil may alter serotonin signalling but this has yet to be confirmed. To date, there have been numerous anecdotal reports of patients that have improved their anxiety symptoms while using medical cannabis. There is not enough clinical research to say for certain whether or not CBD oil can help with treating anxiety. However, recent research in New Zealand has shown promising results.

Getting help for anxiety

For many people, it is very difficult to overcome anxiety without the help of medical professionals. You should bring this up with your GP. They are able to refer you for psychotherapy and offer advice on medication. If you have other complicated health issues, you may need to speak with a specialist before considering medication. If you need support today, call 0800 ANXIETY.

If you are considering medicinal cannabis for your anxiety, book a consultation with the RestoreMe team and we’ll be happy to talk through your options.