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Holistic Approach to Treating Anxiety

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Managing Anxiety & Low Mood

You may recall we’ve been talking more and more of late about epigenetics, the study of gene mutations that can affect the way particular genes are expressed. We’ve long known that everyone is born with a certain set of genes, but over the last several decades, researchers have been looking into how external stressors and influences, whether environmental, physiological or psychological, can all influence how these genes are expressed. In a nutshell, this is the study of epigenetics.

Literally translating to “over and above genetics,” epigenetics encompasses not only the genes themselves but how the body’s natural function combines with outside forces to contribute to gene mutations that cause a myriad of conditions, including anxiety, low mood and other mood disorders.

Are Mood Disorders Genetic?

Genetics obviously play a giant role in the diagnosis of any mood disorder, but there is not depression or anxiety gene per se. While it’s true that a combination of inherited genes make a person more susceptible to an anxiety disorder, it is now known that outside factors — inflammation caused by fat cells, extreme stress, substance abuse and environmental toxins, as well as, physiological input experienced through trauma or negative human relationships — interact to determine whether those genes are expressed and the susceptibility comes to fruition. While not a genetic defect, it is a mutation in the genetic material of the brain cells that can affect whether mood disorders are triggered.

It stands to reason then, that if these external factors can lead to these conditions, they can also be changed to improve them, and more and more of the latest research supports this. Nutrigenomic testing tells us how.

Compared to traditional blood panels first-round tests in mainstream medicine, gene testing gives a more complete picture of a patient’s health by revealing possible deficiencies or mutations in five key areas: methylation, neurotransmission, mitochondrial function, detoxification and inflammation. Those are all impressive sounding words that don’t mean a lot to the lay public, but to a holistic health professional, can reveal dysfunction in one or more of these five areas to provide a very interesting and precise correlation to a patient’s symptoms.

For low mood and anxiety sufferers, gene testing can reveal how epigenetic influences on brain cell function have altered expression, as well as how to proceed in treatment to suppress expression and find relief.

The latest research is very exciting because it shows encouraging evidence that making positive lifestyle changes will improve outcome for anxiety sufferers. In mild cases, these changes may be enough on their own. In serious cases, nutrition, supplementation, exercise and stress management can work in tandem with mainstream protocols.

If you suffer from anxiety or low mood (sometimes called depression), let’s discuss how epigenetic testing can help you.

Learn more about Nutrigenetic Testing

Anxiety from Brain Chemistry

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, throughout much of their lives, women are twice as likely as men to have an anxiety disorder. In addition, anxiety disorders occur earlier and are more likely to be coupled with low mood in women than in men.

Differences in brain chemistry may explain some of these facts, as chronic anxiety is believed to be the result of a body chemical imbalance that begins in the brain. As with other body functions, such as swallowing, breathing, sleeping/waking and processing thoughts, emotional reactions are the result of chemical messengers from the brain. With regards to anxiety, the relevant messengers are serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and GABA, among others.

Commonly called our “feel good” neurotransmitters, these chemical messengers are naturally produced by the body and credited for any sense of well-being or satisfaction a patient experiences. Conversely, if their production is low, they are generally to blame for a lack thereof. There is evidence to suggest that the female brain does not process serotonin as quickly as the male brain; however, too much or too little of any of these chemicals can result in anxiety and low mood disorders.

Brain chemical imbalances, however, don’t always happen in a vacuum, since hormones can have a dramatic effect on brain chemistry, neurotransmitter production and balance.

For example, the thyroid gland produces hormones responsible for regulating the production of our feel-good chemicals and then distributing them to the brain. Therefore an improperly functioning thyroid creates a domino effect, increasing your risk of experiencing unusual anxiety. Statistics from the American Thyroid Association show that while an estimated 20 million Americans suffer from thyroid disease, women are five to eight times more likely to have thyroid problems than men.

In addition, the adrenal glands control the release of adrenaline and cortisol in stressful situations, initiating the “fight or flight” response to a perceived threat. This response is more readily activated in women and stays activated longer than men, partly as a result of the action of estrogen and progesterone. Long-term or frequent stress may damage the adrenal glands’ ability to control the release of these hormones, thereby keeping your body in an anxious state of elevated heart rate and alertness, the same way many people describe their anxiety.

Chemical, like hormonal, imbalances can be caused by a variety of life stressors, genetics, or a combination of both. Once an imbalance is detected, hormone production neurotransmitter receptivity can be changed — and anxiety controlled — by implementing relaxation tools and coping mechanisms, as through holistic therapies, designed to balance out deficiencies that lead to anxiety disorders. Contact us if you’re looking for natural ways to treat anxiety caused by a brain chemistry imbalance.

Let us begin — or enhance — your efforts to fight anxiety and help you be your best, most relaxed self. Schedule an appointment with our team.

Natural Ways to Overcome Anxiety Now

We’ve all dealt with bouts of anxiety and have felt its impact on our bodies. I definitely have! Maybe you have a big decision to make about your career, relationship or lifestyle – or you’re juggling many responsibilities at once.

These stressors may cause you to feel restless, unable to focus or have a rapid heartbeat. Those are all normal, temporary reactions to stress. But what happens when those feelings don’t go away?

Chronic anxiety and anxiety disorders are conditions where those feelings of dread or uneasiness linger much longer and may even get worse over time. Severe anxiety interferes with daily life. Luckily, there are natural options to relieve symptoms of anxiety. Read on to learn more.

Genetics & Testing

People approach life from a wide range of anxiety levels. Some can take life’s challenges in stride, while others see these obstacles as huge stumbling blocks. Anxiety levels are part of our genetic makeup and can make us predisposed to being anxious.

genetic testing for anxiety and depression - photo by

Genetic testing can determine if you have certain markers. From there, you can make adjustments to help reduce your stress. This genetic testing aims to fill your genetic gaps by supplementing what your body cannot make on its own. Using The Infinity Way, we assemble a multi-vitamin specific for your genes and needs. For more information on genetic testing and how it works, explore our information on genetic testing analysis and genetic defects.

Visualization

When you run through potential scenarios in your head, you create mental imagery. Much of the time, you don’t control what you see; your brain plays on your concerns and fuels anxious thoughts.

Visualization is healthy to manage stress by picturing a beautiful, relaxing place you would love to visit. Once a restful mental “movie” is playing, use your senses to make it feel real. If you’re on a beach, for example, imagine smelling the salty air, hearing waves breaking at the shore, and feel the warm sunshine on your skin. This works to remove yourself from the cycle of overthinking.

Next, we look at ways you can physically relieve anxiety symptoms.

Self-Care

Busy lifestyles can make it hard to find self-care time. But when faced with anxiety, I always make it a point to listen to my body and rest. The best self-care doesn’t have to be time-intensive and it has other hidden health benefits, too!

Relaxing bath setup with candle for anxiety and depression self care

Explore our guide for 5 self-care practices you can do right now to ease anxiety. Some of them are simpler than you may think. Consider activities like:

  • Detox baths
  • Proper nutrition & healthy meals
  • Light exercises, like walking or slow flow yoga

No matter which practices you use, be sure to give yourself some grace during times of stress. Finally, we’ll see how chiropractic care eases anxiety symptoms.

Chronic anxiety impacts thousands of people, so know that you aren’t alone. When you need a helping hand on your wellness journey, myself and our team at Infinity Wellness Center will be here to support you. Schedule your appointment today and begin to feel like yourself again.

Photo credit: Close up of glowing blue DNA strand by Thamrongpat Theerathammakorn from <a href=”https://thenounproject.com/photo/close-up-of-glowing-blue-dna-strand-bx1oj0/” target=”_blank” title=”Close up of glowing blue DNA strand Photo”>Noun Project</a> (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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