Recovering From Anxiety Disorders at the Cellular Level

Addiction Recovery Publishing Nutrition May 6, 2024

Recovering From Anxiety Disorders at the Cellular Level

The Buddha famously said, “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” These are also the two critical factors that keep people from healing from their anxiety disorders at the cellular level. First, it can be too intimidating to start the recovery process. Secondly, without the right mental health care and recovery center, it can be hard to keep the recovery journey going in the long term. The good news is that with the right plan of action, anxiety disorders are treatable, and they don’t have to be the ultimate disruptor in one’s life moving forward.

Healing at the Cellular Level From Anxiety Disorders

Many people may address some of their mental health issues, but they may never heal at the cellular level. This is because anxiety disorders affect the entire mind, body, and spirit, and if all three of those are not addressed, then there is a good chance that some symptoms of an anxiety disorder may remain intact.

Healing anxiety disorders at the cellular level is about ensuring that the mental aspects of fear, guilt, and shame are addressed, the physical body and headaches are addressed, and the underlying “spiritual” issues are also uncovered and addressed. Anxiety disorders are not surface-level, which is why it is critical to get to the root/core cause of the anxiety (and related behaviors and symptoms). Of course, before getting to the root of anything, it is important to understand what anxiety disorders are all about.

Better Understanding Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are more prevalent than many people may be aware of. According to the peer-reviewed journal Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, “Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and separation anxiety disorder, are the most prevalent mental disorders and are associated with immense health care costs and a high burden of disease. According to large population-based surveys, up to 33.7% of the population are affected by an anxiety disorder during their lifetime.” It is also true that anxiety disorders often go under-recognized.

Also, it is important to understand that anxiety and anxiety disorders are two very different things. Anxiety disorders are much more debilitating. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “[A]nxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and relationships.” There are also many different types of anxiety disorders.

What Are the Different Types of Anxiety Disorders?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “There are several types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and various phobia-related disorders.” Also, all of these various types of anxiety disorders have scales of intensity. For example, one may have a mild version of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and another person may have a severe version of social anxiety disorder. 

It is important to remember that anxiety disorders are not a monolith. They are very personalized disorders. However, though anxiety disorders do affect each individual in distinct ways, some universal signs and symptoms can help determine if an individual is struggling with an anxiety disorder.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders?

Now, the various signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders are vast and varied. The following are just some of the more common signs and symptoms:

  • Having difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Often feeling tired and lethargic
  • Being excessively irritable
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Constant uncontrollable worry
  • Experiencing headaches, stomachaches, and/or muscle aches
  • Having a pounding or racing heart rate
  • Profusely sweating due to nervousness
  • Feeling like something bad will soon happen (impending doom)
  • Having trouble being around other people
  • Being overly self-conscious or having a fear of being judged
  • Feeling overly depressed
  • Wanting to self-harm or having suicidal ideations

As one can see, anxiety disorders can have very serious symptoms. This is why if any, many, or all of these symptoms are present, it is highly recommended that some type of professional help be sought as soon as possible. Doing so may help to avoid any of the more serious long-term side effects and consequences of an untreated anxiety disorder.

What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Untreated Anxiety Disorders?

According to the peer-reviewed journal Current Psychiatry Reports, “Anxiety disorders are estimated to have the highest lifetime prevalence rates of all psychiatric disorders (18.0–3.7%) and result in considerable functional impairment and economic burden. As a result, anxiety disorders have a significant and detrimental impact on QOL [quality of life] across the lifespan, particularly when left untreated.” These quality of life impacts range from the social to the emotional to the mental to the occupational.

The following are just a few of the long-term side effects of untreated anxiety disorders:

  • Trouble maintaining healthy relationships and the potential break-up of once-healthy marriages, partnerships, and families
  • Poor performance at work or school and the potential for termination or expulsion
  • Long-term health side effects like high blood pressure and heart disease
  • A greater likelihood of acquiring both substance and behavioral addictions
  • The greater potential for acquiring co-occurring mental health issues
  • A greater risk of self-harm and attempts of suicide

As one can see, anxiety disorders are not to be minimized. They need to be addressed and treated at the cellular level as soon as issues start to appear. The good news is there are more effective treatment modalities than ever to help someone recover from an anxiety disorder.

Treating Anxiety Disorders With a “Multi-Angled” Approach

When it comes to recovery, it must be both individualized and comprehensive. Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we believe that “one-size-fits-all,” “cookie-cutter” recovery rarely works. 

Now, this is why we utilize a “multi-angled” approach to recovery that takes from all areas of the recovery realm. This includes psychotherapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), experiential therapies like nature immersion therapy and surf therapy, and holistic wellness methods like yoga and meditation. We also utilize a therapy that is garnering more and more attention as of late due to its efficacy: ketamine therapy.

Treating Anxiety Disorders With Ketamine Therapy

Ketamine therapy has actually been around since the 1970s. However, due to certain social “norms” and politics, ketamine therapy studies were largely underfunded and ignored for decades. Now, this is no longer the case, and more and more studies are showing that ketamine therapy can be effective for many types of addiction and mental health issues. This includes anxiety issues.

According to the British Journal of Psychiatry, “In a double-blind study, 12 patients with treatment-resistant generalized anxiety disorder and/or social anxiety disorder received three ascending doses of ketamine (0.25, 0.5 and 1 mg/kg) and midazolam (0.01 mg/kg) at 1-week intervals. Eight out of the 12 patients experienced at least a 50% reduction in anxiety and/or fearfulness. A subsequent study from the same investigators reported dose-related decreases in scores on measures of anxiety and fearfulness.” While, of course, more studies are being conducted every day, the results regarding anxiety and ketamine therapy continue to be very promising.

Treating Anxiety Disorders With Nutritional Therapy

The fact of the matter is that there is a link between one’s diet and their mental health. This includes a link between one’s diet and their levels of anxiety.

According to the academic journal Nutrients, “Analysis revealed an association between less anxiety and more fruits and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, ‘healthy’ dietary patterns, caloric restriction, breakfast consumption, ketogenic diet, broad-spectrum micronutrient supplementation, zinc, magnesium and selenium, probiotics, and a range of phytochemicals. Analysis revealed an association between higher levels of anxiety and a high-fat diet, inadequate tryptophan and dietary protein, high intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, and ‘unhealthy’ dietary patterns.” Due to this direct correlation, nutritional therapy can be crucial in the aid of healing anxiety disorders at the cellular level.

We have a maxim at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, “Food is medicine.” As the ancient Greek philosopher and father of modern Western medicine, Hippocrates, said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” That is also why we focus on nutritional therapy and always have expert nutritionists and dieticians on staff to help with any dietary needs or questions.

Treating Anxiety Disorders With Nature Immersion Therapy

Another critical component to combatting anxiety disorders is getting outside and engaging with nature. According to the National Park Service, “5 minutes walking in nature improves mood, self-esteem, and relaxation. Frequent exposure to nature reduces anxiety and depression while promoting a sense of well-being and fulfillment.” Also, “Physical activity in a green space can reduce stress and lower cortisol levels by 15%.”

Engaging with nature via nature immersion therapy also offers many other benefits. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “[N]ature exposure can bring about positive influence upon psychological constructs such as boredom, friendliness, wellbeing and liveliness. However, across more than one hundred studies on nature/wildlife exposure, stress mitigation has been shown to be one of the most consistent and important psychological benefits.” Also, “Besides improvements to physical and psychological well-being, exposure to natural environments has been shown to bring about positive impacts on cognitive functioning.”

Now, there is perhaps no better place on Earth to engage with nature via nature immersion therapy than on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. Here one can become immersed in a tropical paradise while working through both external and internal issues associated with one’s anxiety disorder. This includes working on one’s anxiety while immersed in surfing the waves of the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Treating Anxiety Disorders With Surf Therapy

Ocean activities like surfing can be highly therapeutic for people who struggle with issues associated with anxiety disorders. Surf therapy also offers many other benefits that can help one to heal at the cellular level. 

According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Carefully planned water activities tailored to the needs of the individual can contribute to correct psychosocial and cognitive development. The International Surf Therapy Organization summarizes the benefits of adequately indicated surf therapy as follows: improved physical health and mobility; improved mental health, including reduction of specific symptoms, such as posttraumatic stress and depression; improved well-being (strengthening of trust and confidence, encouragement of independence, resilience and protective coping strategies) and improved social skills.” Also, there is probably no better place to engage in surf therapy than on Hawaii’s Big Island. 

A mere 15-minute journey from our luxury 30-acre property sits one of the best surf breaks in all of Hawaii: Honoli’i. Here, one can relieve one’s anxiety by catching some of the best waves in the world while meditating between breaks as local green sea turtles swim below.

Treating Anxiety Disorders With Horticulture Therapy

Horticulture has long been used as a way to calm the mind and help people relax. Now, horticulture therapy is being used to help people heal from issues of addiction and mental health. This includes healing from anxiety disorders at the cellular level.

The benefits of horticulture therapy are vast and varied. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “First, horticulture could have emotional benefits, such as reducing stress, reducing psychiatric symptoms, stabilizing mood, and increasing the sense of tranquility, spirituality, and enjoyment. Second, it could help people to reduce fatigue and restore attention and cognitive ability. Third, it could increase self-efficacy, self-esteem, and quality of life.”

Also, just as nature immersion and surf therapy are particularly exceptional on Hawaii’s Big Island, so too is horticulture therapy. Walking onto the luxury property at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, clients will find rows of amazing citrus and coconut trees, beautiful guava bushes, packed pineapple patches, and bursting vegetable boxes all waiting to be cultivated and help in the reduction of stress. 

Treating Anxiety Disorders With Massage

Massage and bodywork can be highly beneficial for individuals struggling with anxiety disorders. This is because it can relieve both physical and mental tension. Also, this is not just speculation. There are studies that have shown massage’s efficacy in helping with issues of anxiety.

According to Focus: the Journal of Life Long Learning in Psychiatry, “In a randomized, single-blind comparison of massage and light touch for patients with generalized anxiety disorder, Rapaport and colleagues found that the group randomized to twice-weekly Swedish massage therapy had significant improvements in both clinician and self-report ratings of anxiety. They further observed significant improvement in both clinician and self-report ratings of depression… In conclusion, a growing body of evidence has suggested that massage may be a beneficial intervention either as an adjuvant or as a monotherapy for decreasing anxiety symptoms.” Another highly beneficial method to help with anxiety disorders is meditation.

Treating Anxiety Disorders With Meditation

Like horticulture, meditation and mindfulness techniques have been used for thousands of years as a way to calm the mind and silence the anxiety that often exists within. This is also why it can be so beneficial for people struggling with anxiety disorders.

Meditation offers a broad array of benefits. According to the International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda (AYU), “During the process of meditation, accumulated stresses are removed, energy is increased, and health is positively affected overall. Research has confirmed a myriad of health benefits associated with the practice of meditation. These include stress reduction, decreased anxiety, decreased depression, reduction in pain (both physical and psychological), improved memory, and increased efficiency.” 

Healing at the Cellular Level With Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we know that anxiety disorders can be debilitating. But we also know that with the proper recovery plan, action, and effort, they don’t have to be.

The Buddha also famously said, “It is better to travel well than to arrive.” That is also emblematic of what recovery is all about. Recovery from an anxiety disorder is about the journey, not the destination, and there may be no place to start that journey than with Exclusive Hawaii Rehab on the Hamkua Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island.

Untreated anxiety disorders can be both disruptive and highly debilitating. Also, anxiety disorders are more common than many people may think. The good news is that there are many effective means, methods, and modalities that can help people heal from their anxiety disorders at the cellular level. These include traditional, experiential, and holistic treatment options. If you feel like you or a loved one are struggling with issues of addiction, mental illness, or co-occurring disorders, we can help get you on the positive path toward long-term recovery right away. For more information about how to heal from anxiety disorders at the cellular level, please reach out to Exclusive Hawaii Rehab today at (808) 775-0200.