Article by James Greenblatt, MD. Originally posted on Anxiety Resource Center.
Anxiety can be difficult to treat at the best of times. Unfortunately, rates of depression and anxiety have been increasing throughout the world. Recently, included with all the normal stressors of life, are all the additional challenges from a global pandemic combined with significant political and social upheaval. The data appears to indicate that women and youth have been impacted the hardest. Cases of depression have risen by 27.6% while cases of anxiety have increased by 25.6% overall.
Stress and anxiety go hand in hand. When stress becomes excessive, it can lead to changes in the brain, including excessive worry and hypervigilance. In some cases, even after the external stressor has passed, the underlying emotional reactions continue resulting in an anxiety disorder (McEven 2012). To reverse this process, it becomes necessary to raise an individual’s stress tolerance and damp down the overactive fear circuitry in the brain. Fortunately, functional medicine offers a number of tools that can help.