Why is Anxiety on the Rise?
As someone who has been working in the mental health field for over a decade, one trend I have noticed is that anxiety is on the rise. With all the advancements in medications, therapies, and access to information one might believe that anxiety and related issues would be decreasing not increasing. So why are many people struggling more than ever?
Unfortunately, there is not one size fits all answer. Since people are all unique—with different experiences, thresholds, and predispositions; we cannot expect that we can create the same treatment plan for them all. If a person comes into my office experiencing panic attacks related past traumas I am not going address their symptoms in the same way that I would work with someone who is experiencing panic attacks related to postpartum hormonal shifts and an unbalanced thyroid. Nor would I refer them to the same resources. I treat each person as a unique and individual person— not as a grouping of symptoms to be fixed.
As many different symptoms of anxiety that exist, there are just as many different root causes for how and why people come to a place of feeling restless, panicked, exhausted, etc.
So with all that being said, you may be wondering: What are some causes of my anxiety? How can I figure out what is causing my anxiety? Well, a good way to look at what is causing your anxiety is to first rule out what is not. So ruling out medical causes is my first and foremost recommendation when an individual begins experiencing anxiety— especially if it seemingly comes out of nowhere. So visiting your physician, getting lab work done and a regular physical exam is a really good place to start. Did you know that an out-of-whack thyroid can mimic many symptoms of anxiety? Hyperthyroidism for example can include symptoms such as a racing heart, dizziness, panic attacks, and many other anxiety-like or anxiety producing symptoms. So if you’re feeling like something is off with your body, honoring your intuition and seeing a physician can be a vital first step toward recovery. Dr. Kelly Brogan often speaks about what she calls “psychiatric pretenders” which are symptoms that present as anxiety, depression, panic and other can be attributed to physical health concerns such as deficiencies in vitamins and nutrients. Also, gut health or the lack of gut health is a huge culprit when it comes to fluctuating mood and other symptoms that can present as anxiety. This amazing online Gut Psychology Program that addresses just that.
We live in a world where we are inundated with noise, pollution, distraction, stress, and all sorts of things that impact our mental health. And many aspects of the aforementioned issues simply cannot be avoided. The amazing thing is that our bodies are incredibly resilient and can handle quite a bit of the toxins and stressors thrown at them when we are creating other habits that can allow our body to thrive in a less than perfect world.
So what are some things that can help to reduce your current experience of anxiety? Each individual is different, but some of my go-to strategies are the following:
1) Rule out the medical – make sure there is no underlying medical condition causing your anxiety.
2) Drink your water – this allows your body to better detox all the toxins and stuff thrown at it each day.
3) Eat clean – notice I did not say eat perfectly. 4) Sweat – this is another powerful way to reduce your body’s toxic burden and assist with reducing stress.
5) Address your gut health- this may mean getting tested for food sensitivities or taking out what you already know to be inflammatory in your body i.e. added sugar. Lastly, giving yourself grace and understanding that many of us at one time or another has experienced anxiety maybe even intense anxiety but have found ways to cope and reduce our symptoms.
If you’re currently struggling with anxiety or panic the staff at Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids are uniquely trained to assist you.