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Stress...Are you coping well...What can you do?

Mentally-ill doctors

failing to get treatment


Doctors are under so much pressure to keep-up the image of a “super-person” that those struggling with a mental-illness are failing to access healthcare, a new study suggests.


A survey of doctors including GPs reveals that “unrealistic expectations” are preventing those with a mental illness from seeking help.


“Several described self-treating with medication, exercise, relaxation, etc until a point of crisis or desperation was reached.”

The survey also found that most doctors who saw a psychiatrist were self-referred due to concerns about their work performance and fear of being reported to the Medical Council.

The authors suggest more support needs to be given to doctors to help them "acknowledge vulnerability". They also say more informal doctor to-doctor conversations could be beneficial.

Gemma Collins


The Naturopathic Treatment of Stress


What is stress?

The stress response is well characterised as the “flight or fight” response, and is highly variable between individuals. Therefore there is no one-size-fits-all approach to stress management strategies, and why we need to develop individual treatment strategies based on the patients presentation, their lifestyle and their own health goals.

Manageable stress is beneficial to mental and physical health; it challenges us, encourages change, creates adaptation and makes us stronger, both emotionally and biochemically.

However, when faced with extraordinary stress or under constant stress, without adequate recovery, the stress response can become over-stretched and predispose to physiological and neurological changes, leading to the major chronic diseases of modern life, including neurological imbalances, insulin resistance, hormonal disturbances and immune suppression.


Causes and Risk Factors

Factors that increase stress include the following:

Major life stressors:

(top 20 life stressors from Holmes and Rahe Stress Score)

1. Death of a spouse

2. Divorce

3. Marital separation

4. Imprisonment

5. Death of a close family member

6. Personal injury or illness

7. Marriage

8. Dismissal from work

9. Marital reconciliation

10. Change in health of family member

11. Pregnancy

12. Sexual difficulties

13. Gain a new family member

14. Business readjustment

15. Change in financial state

16. Death of a close friend

17. Change to different line of work

18. Change in frequency of arguments

19. Major mortgage

20. Foreclosure on mortgage or loan


Chronic stress & anxiety risk factors:

• In-utero stress (Maternal stress experienced during gestation – foetal programming)

• Traumatic early life experiences

• Stress, depression, other psychiatric conditions

• Life situations (social or financial problems)


Lifestyle Factors

• Lack of exercise – sedentary lifestyle

• Excessive caffeine and / or alcohol consumption

• Excessive consumption of high fat and simple sugars

• Overweight and obesity

• Food intolerances and allergies.

• Tobacco smoking increasing the stress response.

• Toxin exposure

• Nutritional deficiencies, especially B vitamins, zinc and magnesium


Symptoms & Signs of excessive stress or our inability to cope

• Neurological dysfunction: Anxiety, poor concentration, excessive worry, insomnia, depression &/or extreme fatigue.

• Cardiovascular symptoms: Palpitations, clammy palms.

• Digestive dysfunction: Digestive cramping, irritable bowel syndrome, food intolerances, hypochlorhydria.

• Immunological dysfunction: Inflammation, increased risk of infection, predisposition to allergies.

• Metabolic dysfunctions: insulin resistance, obesity.

• Musculoskeletal disorders: Muscular tension (eg: shoulders), tension headaches.

• Other common presenting signs and symptoms: declining vision and/or hearing,

fatigue, loss of skin elasticity.


Diet and Lifestyle

Lifestyle guidelines may assist in the management of stress:

• Take regular exercise

• Practice relaxation, guided visualisation and/or breathing techniques.

• Set boundaries in relationships, families and work.

• Get support from friends, family, colleagues.

• Assign “time-to-fret” then get on with day to day activities with enthusiasm.

• Take regular work breaks throughout the day.

• Take weekend or holidays away from obligations and worries to gain a fresh perspective.

• Express your creativity. Write, garden, paint, sing – or take up a new hobby or classes.

• Stop smoking


Dietary guidelines may assist in the management of stress:

• Reduce pro-inflammatory foods in the diet including saturated fats (meats, especially poultry, and dairy), refined foods, and sugar. Patients sensitive to antibiotics should eat only organic meats to avoid antibiotic residues.

• Emphasise foods high in essential fatty acids such as oily fish and nuts/seeds. (

• Eat a minimally processed diet rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients ( and bioflavonoids.

• Protein is essential for connective tissue support, and should be consumed regularly.

• Nutrients to support digestive health including fibre and yoghurt should be consumed.

• Minimise intake of caffeine, alcohol and salt.


Programs that may assist the stressed patient


Integrated Detoxification

Dysbiosis (poor intestinal health) and toxic accumulation are two of the main triggers for the inflammation that drives many chronic degenerative diseases.

The integrated program also addresses digestive competence and aspects of dietary tolerance.


Professional Weight Management Program

A carbohydrate-controlled, ketogenic fat loss program is an essential approach for those with severe insulin resistance, who will usually also be overweight or obese. Reducing dietary glycaemic load will reduce insulin release and help patients lose fat, particularly visceral (waist) adipose tissue, thus helping to minimise the risk of many chronic illnesses.


Wellness Lifestyle Program

This program is for those of relatively normal weight (i.e. fat percentage) and activity. This approach is designed to maintain a healthy body composition and insulin sensitivity by utilising an anti-inflammatory diet, stress management and regular exercise, all associated with optimum health and longevity.

Elimination diet and /or alkalising dietary strategies may be incorporated with Wellness for maximum benefit.


Supportive Herbal Treatments

Depending on the patient’s needs the treatment may include the use of herbs such as






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