Food panic attacks

5 Common Foods That Can Trigger Anxiety Symptoms : Intrepid Mental Wellness, PLLC: Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

5 Common Foods That Can Trigger Anxiety Symptoms : Intrepid Mental Wellness, PLLC: Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

5 Common Foods that Can Trigger Anxiety Symptoms

Food can have a powerful impact on mood, stress levels, and mental health. Some foods have been shown to cause or worsen the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other chronic mental-health conditions. While symptoms and triggers are unique to every individual, research studies have found several common foods that can induce anxiety.



High sugar intake has been linked to many different health conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure, and tooth decay. Sugar has also been linked to depression, mood swings, and symptoms of anxiety. The initial energy boost gained from eating sugar keeps many people craving sugary foods and drinks. However, once the energy boost has peaked, blood sugar levels drop quickly; this leads to lethargy, low mood, and further cravings. The continual boosts and drops in blood sugar levels can trigger the release of adrenalin and cortisol into the bloodstream, causing anxiety and sometimes even panic attacks.


Fried Foods

 Junk food and fried foods, such as pizza, fried chicken, hamburgers, and fries, have little nutritional value and are extremely difficult for the body to digest. When the body is unable to digest and process food, excess gas, acid reflux, and other gastrointestinal complaints can produce symptoms that trigger anxiety. Long-term digestive health complaints, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), sometimes cause sufferers to wake in the night gasping for breath, as acid reflux can bring about light vomiting that results in choking sensations.


Processed Foods

 Processed foods, such as canned soups, cured meats, and processed cheeses, contain high amounts of salt. Excessive salt intake raises blood pressure and increases the workload of the heart, causing the body to release adrenalin into the bloodstream and leading to anxiety. In addition, many cans and plastic containers are lined with bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that has been linked to changes in mood and blood pressure. While research is still being conducted into the possible dangers of BPA, many experts believe the chemical can seep into food or drink and produce harmful effects.


Food Additives

 Food additives, including aspartame, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and some food dyes, have also been linked to anxiety, depression, and mood changes. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used in many different foods, including sugar-free candies, chewing gum, and soft drinks, and studies have linked it to several health conditions, including anxiety and depression. Regular consumption of MSG, which is used to enhance the taste of many snacks, processed foods, and pre-cooked ready meals, has been linked to fatigue, headaches, depression, and anxiety. Some food dyes used in drinks, candies, cheese, and other processed foods have also been associated with anxiety symptoms.



Caffeine can be found in a range of products, including coffee, tea, energy drinks, chocolate, and some painkillers. Many people can tolerate small amounts of caffeine, but because caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, excessive intake can lead to heart palpitations, shaking, irritability, and insomnia. Caffeine can also inhibit the absorption of some vitamins, including B vitamins, which are needed to aid relaxation and control mood. In addition, some people are more sensitive than others to the effects of caffeine, so even small amounts can cause headaches, shaking, and anxiety.


A balanced diet is essential for controlling anxiety, depression, and long-term mental health conditions. Eliminating or cutting down on foods known to trigger anxiety symptoms is an important step in managing chronic anxiety disorders. In addition, food sensitivities can precipitate a range of unpleasant symptoms that can mimic anxiety, so it's important to talk to your doctor if you suspect specific foods may be causing you distress.


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Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on September 14, 2021

The fiber in whole fruit fills you up and slows down how your blood takes in energy. Without that fiber, you’re just drinking nutritious sugar-water that can quickly hype you up -- and bring you down just as fast. That can leave you hungry and angry -- “hangry.” That won't help anxiety and depression. Eat your fruit whole. When you’re thirsty, drink water. 

There's no win for you here: It has all of the blood-spiking sugar of fruit juice with none of the nutrition. Sugar-sweetened drinks like soda have a direct link to depression, too. If you crave a pop, try seltzer water with a splash of juice instead. It'll give you a bubbly fix without too much of the stuff you don't need.

No sugar, so no problem, right? Not exactly. You may not have the energy crash that comes with having too much sugar, but diet soda may make you depressed. In fact, it could make you feel more down than its sugary cousin would. Too much of the caffeine that many sodas have can be bad for anxiety, too.

Wait, toast?! If it's made from white bread, yes. The highly processed white flour it's made from quickly turns to blood sugar after you eat it. That can cause energy spikes and crashes that can be bad for anxiety and depression. You can have your toast -- and eat it, too. Just use whole-grain bread.

You might know to avoid some pre-packaged dressings and marinades loaded with sugar, often listed as “high-fructose corn syrup.” But what about “light” or “sugar-free” dressings? Many get their sweetness from aspartame, an artificial sweetener linked to anxiety and depression. Check the ingredients or, better yet, make your dressing at home from scratch.  

It’s mostly tomatoes, right? Well, yes, and sugar, lots of sugar. Four grams per tablespoon, to be exact. And the “light” stuff may have artificial sweeteners that could be linked to anxiety and depression.  Try homemade tomato salsa instead. Want a little kick? Add a bit of cayenne pepper. 

If you’re not used to it, the caffeine in it can make you jittery and nervous. It could also mess up your sleep. Neither helps anxiety or depression. Caffeine withdrawal can make you feel bad, too. If you think it causes you problems, cut caffeine out of your diet slowly. If you’re OK with it, or drink decaf, coffee can actually help make you feel less depressed. 

They can cause weird heart rhythms, anxiety, and sleep issues. That’s because it’s not always easy to know the sky-high caffeine levels hidden in ingredients like guarana. These beverages often have loads of sugar or artificial sweeteners, too. Drink water if you’re thirsty. Want a sugar hit? Eat a piece of fruit.

Even a little can mess up your sleep. Not enough rest can raise anxiety and cause depression. Too many ZZZs can cause even more problems. That said, a drink could calm your nerves and make you more sociable. That can be good for your mental health. The key is dosage: A drink a day for women, and two a day for men, is the limit.

It’s the sugar, right? Well, yes, but that’s not all. It’s also loaded with around 2 grams of "trans fats" per serving. They're linked to depression. Sometimes called “partially hydrogenated oils,” they’re also in fried foods, pizza dough, cakes, cookies, and crackers. Check your labels. If you do eat fat, make it the “good” kind you get from foods like fish, olive oil, nuts, and avocado. Those can lift your mood.

This one is only for people who are sensitive to gluten. In addition to breads, noodles, and pastries, it’s also in prepackaged foods like soy sauce. If you’re sensitive to gluten, it can cause anxiety or depression. It can also make you feel sluggish and not at your best. Check labels and try to steer clear.

If you eat lots of processed meat, fried food, refined cereals, candy, pastries, and high-fat dairy products, you’re more likely to be anxious and depressed. A diet full of whole fiber-rich grains, fruits, vegetables, and fish can help keep you on a more even keel.

We all love them, and little treats now and then can help your mood. But just so you know: Doughnuts have all the wrong kinds of fats, snow-white flour with little fiber to slow absorption, and lots of added sugar. So, if you must, make them a treat, not a routine.


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American Academy of Neurology: “Hold the Diet Soda? Sweetened Drinks Linked to Depression, Coffee Tied to Lower Risk."

American Heart Association: “The Skinny on Fats.

American Journal of Public Health: “Reducing Childhood Obesity by Eliminating 100% Fruit Juice.”

Association for Psychological Science: “Moderate Doses of Alcohol Increase Social Bonding in Groups.”

British Journal of Psychiatry: “Dietary pattern and depressive symptoms in middle age.”

Case Reports in Psychiatry: “Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Hypoglycemia Symptoms Improved with Diet Modification.”

CDC: “Alcohol and Public Health.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Avoid These 10 Foods Full of Trans Fats.” “What Fruit Juice Can People With Diabetes Drink?” “Sweetened beverages and diabetes.”

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Direct and indirect cellular effects of aspartame on the brain.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Carbohydrates -- Good or Bad for You?”

Harvard School of Public Health: “Drinking coffee may decrease depression risk in women.”


Journal of Caffeine Research: “Caffeine Withdrawal and Dependence: A Convenience Survey Among Addiction Professionals.

Mayo Clinic: “Generalized anxiety disorder: Is it true that certain foods worsen anxiety and others have a calming effect?”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Energy Drinks.”

PLoS One: “Sweetened Beverages, Coffee, and Tea and Depression Risk among Older US Adults,” “Dietary Fat Intake and the Risk of Depression: The SUN Project.”

Psychiatric Quarterly: “Neurologic and Psychiatric Manifestations of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity.”

United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service.

Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism: “Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements.”

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Panic attack. Panic disorder: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment of panic attack, panic disorder

Panic disorder is a disease characterized by the spontaneous occurrence of panic attacks from several times a year to several times a day and the expectation of their occurrence.

Panic attack (PA) is understood as a complex of symptoms characterized by paroxysmal anxiety. Panic attacks occur in both panic disorder and various psychopathological disorders.

It is believed that a single panic attack can occur at least once in a lifetime in any practically healthy person as a reaction to physiological or emotional stress. PA can occur in somatic diseases, in mental illness, especially often in depressive disorders. But still, most often doctors encounter PA within the framework of panic disorder (PD).

The prevalence of PR in the population is between 1.9% to 3.6%. About 6% of people who seek help from primary care physicians have PA. PR occurs predominantly at a young age. Usually the debut falls on the third decade (24-25 years). Although PR can debut at a younger (14-25 years old) and at an older age (45-54 years old). The average age at which patients most often visit a doctor and start receiving therapy is about 35 years.

The intensity of anxiety at the moment of PA can vary from a feeling of internal tension to pronounced fear and horror.

The combination of symptoms in the structure of an attack is variable in different patients and in one patient in several attacks.

The most frequent and persistent in the structure of the attack are cardiovascular symptoms . They are the most common cause of emergency hospitalization of patients. An increase in heart rate, a feeling of interruptions in the work of the heart, discomfort in the left half of the chest are assessed by patients as the main manifestation of the disease. At the time of the attack, blood pressure may rise, sometimes to fairly high numbers. The fear of a "hypertensive" crisis with its complications makes patients constantly measure pressure during the interictal period. The second most common complaint at the time of an attack is a feeling of lack of air.

In most cases, patients fix this moment and describe the attack, they report that they “suddenly intercepted the throat”, “squeezed the neck or chest”, “a lump appeared in the throat that interferes with breathing”, “air stopped flowing”, etc. Feeling of suffocation at the beginning of an attack, it increases anxiety, anxiety and fear of death due to "difficulty" breathing. In other cases, patients do not feel “obstacles” to the passage of air, their respiratory disorders are formulated in such expressions as “felt short of breath”, “shortness of breath”, “it became stuffy”, etc. Often at the time of an attack, dizziness occurs, a feeling unreality of the surrounding world, fainting, numbness in the area, tongue, arms and legs. Sensation of constriction, compression, the appearance of convulsive information in the limbs. In the structure of the attack, bloating, abdominal pain, loosening of the stool often appear. At the end of the attack, as a rule, there is profuse urination.

In addition to the presented "typical" symptoms at the time of a panic attack, there may also be atypical manifestations - a feeling of "lump in the throat", gait disturbance, impaired vision or hearing, pseudoparesis.

A panic attack does not have a prodromal period. It starts suddenly and reaches its maximum in a few minutes (from 7 to 15). The post-attack period is characterized by general weakness, weakness, exhaustion. The average duration of an attack of PA is from 15 to 30 minutes. Most PAs occur during wakefulness. PA during sleep are less common (18-35% of patients) and are more severe.

There are three types of PA. Spontaneous PA - occur unexpectedly, without precursors, not provoked by any factors. Situational PAs are triggered by certain fearful stimuli or the anticipation of their possible occurrence. Conditionally-situational PA occupy an intermediate position: they most often arise under the influence of some stimulus, but this connection is not always traced.

In the interictal period, most patients have a different combination of autonomic symptoms.

Treatment of AR and seizures. Treatment of PR consists of several stages: 1. relief of seizures, 2. stabilization of seizures, 3. prevention of recurrence of seizures. Treatment of this disease includes the appointment of drug therapy and psychotherapy.

It is worth contacting a specialist if any alarming symptoms appear - without delay! If you need qualified diagnostics and treatment, he invites you to a consultation with a neurologist in Moscow at the clinic of the Central Clinical Hospital of the Russian Academy of Sciences. An appointment with a neurologist is carried out on the website, as well as over the phone.

Anxiety and panic attacks in a person's life

Almost all people experience some anxiety from time to time.

Anxiety and anxiety in socially significant situations for a person is an absolute norm and is not a serious cause for concern.

In certain situations that require serious decisions, concentration of attention, some degree of anxiety is even necessary. This state is short-lived and disappears after solving the problem situation, without affecting the quality of human life.

However, in some cases, an anxious state captures a person so much that it does not allow him to live fully. A constant feeling of tension deprives a person of the opportunity to engage in simple everyday activities.

People who are characterized by such constant and strong anxieties sometimes experience completely unexpected attacks of very strong fear, a sense of impending danger. There is a fear of going crazy, panic.

People suffering from these attacks do not always seek treatment. sincerely believe that they are having a heart attack, since the symptoms of panic manifest themselves quite physically. Experienced during attacks often causes a person to continue to avoid situations in which this condition first appeared.

Fearing stigmatization, they resort to folk remedies or alcohol or even drugs to get rid of this condition.

Panic attacks are especially frightening also because they seem to arise for no reason, in ordinary life situations, when nothing threatens a person. Instantly arising, panic attacks fetter the body, making a person helpless, exacerbate the feeling of fear and helplessness.

The most common symptoms are:

Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath;

Sensation of suffocation;

Feeling of lightness or conversely, heaviness or pain in the chest;

Trembling, weakness;

Damp palms and profuse sweating;

· Tingling or numbness in hands and feet;

Severe or rapid heartbeat;

· Lethargy, weakness, dizziness, faintness;

· Feeling completely "separated" from one's own body or surroundings;

Nausea, feeling of emptiness or discomfort in the area of ​​the stomach or intestines;

Feeling hot or cold, "hot flashes". I'm going crazy";

"I'm losing control of myself";

"I'm about to pass out";

"I'm about to fall down unconscious";

"It looks like I'm having a heart attack";

"I have a stroke";

· "Now I can't resist, I'll yell and put myself in an idiotic position.

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