According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the 1-year prevalence of anxiety disorders is about 18% of the US population.1 All too often, it is underdiagnosed, with the average patient consulting 10 providers before receiving a definitive diagnosis.2
Similar to depression, although we have come to elucidate some of the hormonal derangements associated with anxiety, we still don’t know the root cause. The hormonal abnormalities include an overabundance of epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) or norepinephrine. In some forms of anxiety, cortisol levels (commonly referred to as the “stress hormone”) tend to be abnormally low.3
Once again, exercise has been shown to reliably improve mood through mechanisms that are not entirely understood.4 It is believed that exercise alters levels of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin in the brain in a favorable direction so as to ameliorate depression and anxiety.5
Additional areas to address include deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, vitamin D, and folic acid. We also optimize one’s diet in a very structured and evidence-based fashion. One of our most important mantras is to take a wholistic approach and treat the person rather than the condition. All the other variables pertaining to each individual client falls in line with this philosophy.
- National Institutes of Health: Anxiety Disorders: any Anxiety Disorder among Adults. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-anxiety-disorder-among-adults.shtml Accessed June 5, 2015
- G. Van Kanegan: Successful management in primary care: depression and anxiety.Advance Health Care Network. 14 (10):79 2006
- C. Heim, U. Ehlert, D.H. Hellhammer: The potential role of hypocorticalism in the pathophysiology of stress-related bodily disorders. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 25:1-352000
- A. Strohle: Physical activity, exercise, depression and anxiety disorders. J Neural Transm. (116):777-784 2009
- A. Kramer, K. Ericson, S. Colcombe: Exercise, cognition, and the aging brain. J Appl Physiol. (101):1237-1242 2006
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