For many people, anxiety doesn’t just happen out of a singular cause. Often times, anxiety is a result of many factors, and this is why even its effective treatment should be seen in a holistic view. What are the holistic ways to treat anxiety?

Anxiety surprisingly affects almost 1/5 of Americans. The current statistics show that 18% of people living in the United States were diagnosed with anxiety at one point in their lives. To many, it appears to be the “silent disease”, that often manifests itself through a person’s thought process and choices in life.

What is anxiety?

It is normal to feel a sense of worry at certain moments in your life. Worry can often be associated with perceived stress or danger, such as walking in solitary street late at night or beating a work deadline the day after. The body responds in reasonable ways through the situations that cause people to worry.

Anxiety happens when people worry to the point that the perceived stressors may be minimal, or not even stressors at all. There are physical manifestations to anxiety such as:

 

  • Nervousness

  • Discomfort

  • Cold sweats

  • Heart palpitations

  • Panic attacks

  • Isolation

  • Avoidance of events

  • Other related diseases such as depression, bipolar disorder, phobias, etc.

Anxiety is a mental health issue, and people who are diagnosed with it often feel a loss of control with their emotions. Some of them are aware that their worry seems irrational, but they can’t help to feel such negative emotions nonetheless.

What causes anxiety?

There are many reasons as to why some people acquire anxiety more than others. Unlike some physical diseases with a singular, focused cause, anxiety is multifactorial. It can be due to varying reasons such as:

Genetics

There is a higher chance that parents who were diagnosed with anxiety problems will have children who might develop the same issue later in life. Genetics play a big role in brain chemistry and functioning, as some children inherit mental issues of their parents, especially when it comes to paranoia or phobia-related anxieties.  

Brain chemistry

Aside from genetics, other factors that affect a person’s brain chemistry is diet, intake of drugs or supplements, or lifestyle habits. The lack of sleep, unhealthy diet, or the use of illicit drugs may cause anxiety for some people as this can alter the brain’s chemical composition.

Environment

The environment is a large source of a stressor–people who are constantly exposed to stress may develop an altered state of mind that can leave them continuously feeling “on the edge”. Social influences such as workplace environment, friends, family members, and even romantic relationships can be a factor in a person’s anxiety.

These causes of anxiety are very different, yet interrelated with each other. As we begin to uncover how anxiety happens in different ways, there are also various ways to effectively treat the condition.

How do we treat anxiety disorders in a holistic way?

  

Physical health

  • Diet plays a big role in a person’s overall wellness. Having a well-balanced diet also helps in the brain’s chemical composition and functioning. It is reported that the consumption of whole, nutritious foods can be helpful in recovering from anxiety.

  • Physical activity helps in the body’s ability to cope with stress. Anxiety may cause the brain to constantly pump out cortisol, a stress hormone known to cause many physical ailments. Exercise can negate this effect and in turn produce serotonin in the brain, which is known as substances that elevate moods and reduce stress.

  • Drinking vitamins and supplements are essential for recovery. People who suffer from anxiety may not simply get all the nutrients they need from their diet. As a precautionary measure, it is advisable to drink extra vitamins and supplements to aid in optimal health.

  • Herbs and plants are natural remedies for anxiety. There are alternative ways to help deal with anxiety aside from prescription medications. The kava root, passionflower, lemon balm, lavender, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus helps relieve symptoms of anxiety and promote relaxation.

Mental and spiritual health

  • Choosing your media outlets can be helpful for individuals with anxiety. Often, anxiety can be caused by too much exposure to TV, internet, movies, or music–the information overload causes them to have multiple thoughts running through their minds. Too much brain activity can lead to mental stress. Once in a while, it is helpful to tune out and find a quiet space to clear one’s head.

  • Planning ahead can decrease stress. Different life demands such as job deadlines, family responsibilities, and other problems when piled together also causes stress. The lack of planning for these tasks may cause a person to succumb to anxiety. A helpful way to cope is through journaling or writing down tasks to help individuals plan ahead.

  • Discovering one’s passions can help in refocusing. In a way, anxiety is a battle that starts in the head–the interplay of thoughts and emotions are brought about by the stressors that surround the individual. This can be decreased by rediscovering one’s passions that help them connect with others, say a craft, an occupation, or being a part of a group.

  • Seeking peace in spirituality may also decrease over-worrying. Spirituality is a key tool that teaches inner peace, meditation and finding solace. Having a spiritual life can help alter an anxious person into a person who can be mentally and emotionally stable in spite of challenges.

Not just the symptoms, but the cause

The point of holistic treatments for anxiety is to take note of the underlying causes of the problem. With proper identification of a person’s root cause for anxiety, it would be easier to target not just the symptoms but develop a heightened state of overall well-being.

Questions or concerns?  If so, reach out to Sunshine Behavioral Health today.