QUESTION: Holistic approach to anxiety?

QUESTION: What is a holistic approach to anxiety? Do you have holistic mental health support?

ANSWER: We takes the broad view of anxiety and investigates potential causes, both genetic and environmental or situational. We look at nutrition, psychological, mental and emotional factors, brain chemistry, hormones, toxins, and spirituality. Our mental health support takes all these things, as well as energy and possible physical causes, into account.

Anxiety and stress exist on a continuum from very mild symptoms that can actually enhance your performance to severe debilitating symptoms that overwhelm your ability to function in daily life. Our styles of handling stress and our tendencies to develop anxiety are inherited, learned, and acquired. Some people inherit a genetic tendency toward anxiousness. They have significant histories of anxious, worried, or panicked relatives. These people often have difficulty being consoled as a baby and may have difficulty with separation anxiety as a young child.

Others learn worry, anxiety, and poor stress resiliency as behaviors modeled by our parents and families. Others may have their “anxious” genes turned on in utero in response to stress or trauma suffered by mom while pregnant.

Unlike the brief and mild anxiety caused by a stressful event, anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 19 million American adults. Common signs and symptoms of anxiety include muscle tension, trembling, fast heartbeat, fast or troubled breathing, dizziness or impaired concentration, palpitations, sweating, fatigue, irritability, and sleep disturbances.

Our approach honors these different reasons and manifestations for anxiety and looks beyond the diagnosis to other factors that may play a role. These factors could include:

  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Food sensitivities
  • Environmental toxins
  • Neurotransmitter imbalances
  • Mental or emotional frameworks
  • Spiritual disconnection
  • Disturbances in Shen

Because our Center takes this broad view of anxiety, we utilize many therapeutic interventions to help address the underlying cause, bring the system back to a place of balance, and facilitate the reduction or resolution of symptoms. Some of the approaches include:

  • Food-as-Medicine nutrition counseling including elimination diets, and nutrient repletion diets
  • Supplementation with appropriate vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids, and nutritional supplements
  • Utilization of appropriate botanicals
  • Stress Management and Stress Resiliency training
  • Yoga and movement therapies
  • Bodywork and Psycho-emotional Release
  • Counseling
  • Biofeedback
  • Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Medications

Please note: This question has been republished from the Ask the Practitioner section of the Center for Integrative Medicine website.