Some children and teens with Selective Mutism have co-morbid anxiety, such as social anxiety, specific phobias, generalized anxiety disorder and OCD. We can examine the effects of diet on anxiety and apply some of the concepts to our loved ones who suffer in silence:
- Complex carbs have calming effects due to the increase of tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin in the brain.
- Potatoes, whole wheat bread, and pasta take longer to digest than sugary, simple carbs like white bread, so you stay fuller longer and your blood sugar is likely to stay steady, eliminating stress and anxiety.
- Eat carbs without fat or protein to feel instant contentment.
- B-vitamins, specifically B-6 which helps manufacture serotonin in the brain, have positive effects on reducing anxiety. Also, calcium, zinc and magnesium.
- Kava-kava, Valerian, St. John’s Wort, and chamomile are known to help adults with anxiety.
- Omega 3 fatty acids are known to reduce anxiety and assist in language development.
Be cautious of meats and high protein diets
- These foods are taxing on the digestive system and takes a lot of effort to digest, often causing an increase in secretion of the adrenal hormones, e.g. Cortisol. As a result, heart rates may increase giving a sensation of anxiety.
Be cautious of milk and dairy products
- May cause digestive issues in some people. Some of our anxious children and teens who get stomach aches might eat too much dairy which can exacerbate the gas and bloating.
Avoid simple sugars
- Simple sugar causes rapid rises in insulin and more rapid fluctuations in blood sugar resulting in mood swings and feelings of uneasiness/anxiety.
- They can also cause a dopamine imbalance which leads to an increase in anxiety
- Limit chocolate, soda, cakes, cookies, and candy.
- Examples of foods and nutritional products can be harmful and cause increased anxiety
- Examples of foods and nutritional products that are beneficial to lowering anxiety
- How lifestyle choices can have positive and/or negative effects on an individual working to overcome Selective Mutism and Social Anxiety
- To identify and understand the impact of eating the following food groups: complex carbs, simple carbs (refined sugars!), meats and protein, milk and dairy, gluten, GMO foods, probiotics and antioxidants
- To identify three additional recommendations for reducing anxiety
- To identify helpful vitamins and herbs
- How to manage a picky eater
To effectively overcome Selective Mutism and all anxieties, an individual needs to be involved in a treatment program, such as our CommuniCamp™ Intensive Group Treatment and Individual Intensive Treatment which employ the evidenced-based Social Communication Anxiety Treatment® (S-CAT®). Developed by Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum, this holistic or “whole-person” treatment approach is designed to reduce anxiety, build self-esteem, increase social comfort and communication in all settings. Visit www.CommuniCamp.org or www.SelectiveMutismCenter.org to start your journey across the Social Communication Bridge®!