Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition in the U.S, affecting up to 40 million people age 18+. They are highly treatable. And yet, only about one-third of those struggling with anxiety get treatment. Why is that? One of the reasons I frequently hear in my practice is that people do not want to take pharmaceutical medication to treat their anxiety. Or, perhaps they tried it at a point and did not like the way it made them feel, or they don’t want to be on it forever. There are times when meds can be helpful, but they are not a substitute for skills. And they certainly are not the only thing that can help with overcoming anxiety.
In my practice, I take a holistic approach. What that means is that I take into account what is going on with a person on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and relational. I see a strong connection between the mind and the body, and the individual and his/her environment. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In practical terms that means changing something in one part of a person’s life may have an effect on other parts, often for the better. It means there are very effective ways to reduce anxiety naturally so you feel better quicker and can get back to living your life. For example, reducing caffeine consumption often reduces the body’s production of cortisol, which leads to a person feeling less anxious. It often also improves sleep, since cortisol can affect the body’s ability to get into REM sleep. When people are sleeping well, not only do they feel better, but their stress tolerance is higher, meaning they can generally manage more stressors without feeling as anxious. This is true with generalized anxiety, social anxiety and panic. Sometimes, making a small change can have a ripple effect across the whole system, since everything is connected.
If you are someone who struggles with anxiety, social anxiety or panic attacks, please know that you are not alone. There is help out there. And, if you don’t want to take medication, there are a lot of really effective holistic treatment options available ranging from simple lifestyle changes to yoga to exercise to mindfulness practices, and much more. You’ve been struggling for long enough. Please don’t wait one more day. Consider getting some support. I would love to hear your story. If you’d like some more information on whether holistic anxiety counseling might be right for you, please click here.