Natural Remedies for Anxiety Through Functional Medicine
Anxiety affects over 40 million adults in the United States alone with an estimated 264 million people affected worldwide. In 2020 alone, the demand for anxiety medications increased by nearly 35%, with a total of more than 29.7 million prescriptions written. There are many natural remedies for anxiety; however, they can leave patients with expensive, addictive, and risky pharmaceuticals in the rearview mirror.
Anxiety Comes in Many Forms
When you think of anxiety, you may think of dry mouth, sweating, and trembling before an event, such as public speaking or performing. These episodes of anxiety are self-limiting and quickly resolved once the event or immediate situation is over.
Some forms of anxiety, however, are severe and have life-altering consequences for those affected. The US Department of Health and Human Services has defined many forms of anxiety, including these most common types.
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD is a constant feeling of dread that exceeds normal worry, both in duration and impact on your life. Generalized anxiety disorder causes sleep disturbances, irritability, and physical discomfort including stomach pain and headaches.
2. Social Anxiety Disorder
Unlike a normal bout of jitters, social anxiety disorder is an uncontrollable fear of being watched or judged. Social anxiety disorders affect your relationships, your job, and your quality of life to the point that you avoid social interactions completely.
A phobia is a fear that is disproportionate to an object or situation. Dentists, spiders, and a fear of being in open spaces are just a few examples of common phobias. People who are affected by phobias are dealing with the fear itself as well as embarrassment surrounding the fear. This double-edged sword frequently leads to isolation.
4. Panic Disorder
A panic attack is a severe and unexpected feeling of fear and dread which may or may be related to a specific situation. These episodes are overwhelming to the person experiencing them, and will affect them emotionally and physically. People with panic disorders avoid situations that trigger the attacks.
The levels of anxiety vary greatly, ranging from mild to debilitating. Many people with anxiety suffer from more than one form of the disorder or find the disorder accompanies another mental condition such as depression and sleep disturbances.
Why Traditional Anxiety Treatment May Not Be Enough
Some patients do very well on pharmaceuticals, while others find medications ineffective. Treating patients who aren’t responding to medications involves adding more or changing them frequently. For many of these patients, there is a physical condition causing the anxiety. Natural remedies for anxiety start by uncovering these underlying physical causes.
Emotional Well-Being Relies on Physical Well-Being
In a traditional medical landscape, there is a “pill for every ill.” A fragmented approach to physical and psychological issues means that your conventional doctor and your psychologist have no real communication. You take prescriptions for medical conditions and more prescriptions for psychological ones.
With a functional medicine approach, the mind and the body are connected. Functional doctors often find surprising links between physical conditions and psychological ones. For example:
- Immune dysfunction
- Persistent infections or childhood infections
- Chronic pain and chronic disease
- Hormonal imbalances
- Respiratory disorders
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Gut issues
- Nutritional deficiencies
Pharmaceuticals will not restore your mental well-being if your anxiety has an underlying medical cause. It’s important to remember that pharmaceuticals are used to manage symptoms, and natural remedies for anxiety address the imbalances or conditions that cause it.
Risky and Addictive Medications
Traditional anxiety medications seem effective on the surface but carry risks, including addiction, sleep disorders, and cognitive disturbances like memory loss and an inability to concentrate. These medications also carry risks of adverse physical reactions including blurred vision, headaches, fatigue, weight gain, and nausea. No wonder many people are now seeking natural remedies for anxiety!
Natural Remedies for Anxiety
Anxiety has a variety of causes, and natural anxiety remedies are used with the guidance of a functional medicine doctor to address the root issue(s).
Imbalances in the gut microbiome lead to many mental disorders including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Dementia, ADHD, anxiety, and depression. Genetics and environmental conditions also contribute to anxiety, as well as trauma or abuse.
Functional doctors focus on treating anxiety as a symptom of a physical condition rather than a stand-alone condition. Among many other causes, a functional medicine anxiety assessment looks for:
- Digestive dysfunction
- Genetic factors
- Neurological imbalances
- Dysfunction of the HPA axis (fight or flight response)
- Environmental triggers
Functional doctors spend an average of an hour or more at a time with each patient. They use laboratory testing, extensive medical background screenings, and thorough physical exams to discover potential links between your physical health and your anxiety.
Depending on their findings, functional medicine doctors recommend any combination of botanicals and plant-based, all natural medications and supplements. Dietary and lifestyle changes are beneficial to those suffering from anxiety and may include reducing stimulants, behavioral modifications, creating customized exercise and diet plans for your needs, and helping you improve your sleep habits.
Integrative medicine provides natural remedies for anxiety that regulate hormones and neural chemicals, restoring your mental balance naturally.
If necessary, your functional medicine treatment plan can work alongside traditional medication therapies. True Life Medicine in Colorado features medical doctors that specialize in functional medicine and can prescribe medications—including natural anxiety treatment.
Schedule Your Consultation at True Life Medicine
Ready to see what your life can be without anxiety? Give True Life Medicine a call at 719-686-7776 or contact us online to find out how natural remedies for anxiety can improve your life, improve your health, and restore your emotional well-being.