Holistic Approach to Anxiety Disorder

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It is common for people to become anxious, but this grows into an anxiety disorder beyond certain limits. Anxiety disorder, which is a form of mental illness, is prevalent across the United States as people struggle with different stresses in life. The spread of the condition requires various interventions to contain anxiety within permissible limits. The current living conditions are denoted by high levels of competition and education and increasing technology, communication, and logistics opportunities which call for a broader approach to the patients’ wishes in health care. This paper presents an overview of anxiety disorder and highlights the different perspectives to treating the condition. The discussion is structured to culminate in the holistic approach to anxiety disorder within the counseling ministry context as the ultimate solution to the illness.

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Overview of Anxiety Disorder

It is usual for human beings to be anxious as part of everyday interactions. Anxiety is a mental and bodily reaction that helps people expect and react suitably to potential hazards. Once a person encounters a traumatic occasion, which can be real or imaginary, the body responds by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system that results in a fight-or-flight reaction. Indeed some level of anxiety or stress is necessary for stimulating positive reactions (Bandelow et al., 2017). However, too much anxiety may prove to be hard to control, especially when reacting to it can turn out to be dysfunctional. As a consequence, a person suffers adversely, impacting the psychological and physical health that results in anxiety disorder.

At present, anxiety disorder is the most difficult mental illness to handle that affects over 18 percent of Americans over 18 years of age or 40 million adults in the United States of America every year (ADAA, n.d.). It also affects around 25 percent of teenagers aged between 13 and 18 (ADAA, n.d.). According to, if the children are not attended to, they are exposed to a high risk of substance abuse, poor performance in school, and missing out on critical social events. Further, the condition has a high propensity of developing into a complex disease because it involves different risk factors, such as brain chemistry, genetics, personality traits, and life occurrences. Other risk factors include:

  • The exposure to nerve-wracking and adverse life or environmental happenings in adulthood or early childhood.
  • Erratic behaviors of nervousness or behavioral shyness in infancy.
  • An individual account of fretfulness.

An anxiety disorder can be caused by a few physical health illnesses, such as heart arrhythmias, thyroid complications, or other substances, including caffeine and medications. Health experts can identify further evaluation of likely signs of anxiety disorder through a health examination. According to Bullock (2021b), the disease burden has been augmented with the current COVID-19 pandemic that has produced an environment for mental illness as people suffer different emergent psychological stresses daily. The high prevalence of anxiety disorders tends to cause chronicity and extensive comorbidity that are highly linked to major disabilities (Bullock, 2021a). The condition causes over 10 percent of the Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) to go astray due to psychological, neurological, substance use disorders.

Perspectives of Anxiety Disorder and Treatment Options

The good news is that medical experts can treat anxiety disorders without difficulty. The treatment involves different perspectives, and under each view, there are varied forms of medical interventions. From a biological standpoint, anxiety disorder is caused by an imbalance in the mind’s neurotransmitters: norepinephrine (noradrenalin), serotonin, and gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GABA). Doctors commonly prescribe medication to treat anxiety disorders, given the link between neurotransmitters and anxiety (Bullock, 2021a). The drug widely prescribed is benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Valium, which are intended to ease the symptoms of the disorder.

The second central perspective involves the cognitive and behavioral angles. This perspective portends that anxiety disorders are somehow connected to the way people observe different circumstances. Faap (2018) states that in this case, behavioral experts usually prescribe cognitive therapies, which are considered helpful in thinking about and handling anxiety disorders. Cognitive therapies are intended to reframe a person’s thinking through learning different ways of conducting oneself, thinking, and countering anxiety-producing and mysterious objects and conditions. According to Demirsoy (2017), the three main phases are involved in cognitive therapy; instruction, application, and prevent relapse. Another appropriate form of treatment is the acceptance and commitment therapy through which a patient is taught to control events. The individual is instructed to pay attention to purpose and work towards altering their actions and focusing on respected advice and objectives in their lives. Additionally, the intolerance of uncertainty therapy can be applied. This kind of therapy aims to help the patient develop the capacity to cope with, endure, and embrace uncertainty in everyday living for them to be able to moderate anxiety.

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The third viewpoint comprises the humanistic perspective, which indicates that anxiety disorder crops up once people fail to discern themselves decently or do not embrace self-acceptance. This form of anxiety is handled through client-centered therapy, which focuses on helping the patients accept themselves and sidestep being overly self-judgmental (Frances, 2014). The client-centered therapy type of treatment applicable for humanistic anxiety is motivational interviewing. The strategy is focused on augmenting the patient’s inherent motivation and reducing incongruity about adjustment due to the treatment. Motivational interviewing aims to boost self-efficacy, express empathy, and intensify the conflict between actions that are not preferred and ideals that are not in line with those conducts. Finally, the sociocultural perspective defines anxiety disorder according to gender, race, and ethnicity (Smith, 2021). According to this standpoint, different cultures have varying interpretations for observing what is judged to be normal conduct and anxiety symptoms. For instance, in the United States, anxiety disorder primarily presents itself as a psychiatric condition.

The Holistic Approach

However, the different forms of treatment prescribed above are pretty expensive, and a mere 36 percent of those affected receive treatment. In addition, in treating anxiety, it is essential to note there is no singular intervention that can completely eradicate the condition. This means that no doctor can prescribe a one-stop treatment proposal (Schweet, 2020). Under these circumstances, attention to anxiety disorder calls for a much more comprehensive approach, encompassing the holistic approach.

Contemporary medicine advocates for a patient‐centered approach through which a patient’s values in clinical decisions are guaranteed to a certain extent. The approach also pays respect to the discrete preferences and wishes of the patient (Welch, 2021). The patient‐centered not only guarantees the patient in enlightening them of diagnosis, management, and healthy conducts but also ensures that the patients obtains the desired level of attention in designing their treatment plan. The patient‐centered approach predominantly expects the health professionals simply offer guidance to the patients to enable them to decide on the preferred treatment options. The patient has to be supplied with all the information pertaining to the different options, including their benefits and risks along with the impartial doctor’s opinion. Therefore, the patient‐centered approach implies that the patient’s cultural beliefs and customs, family circumstances, discrete preferences and tenets, social surroundings and way of life are considered. This approach is the foundation upon which the holistic approach is grounded.

Holistic approach is derived from the name holism that denotes societal, individualistic, and environmental aspects in care for human beings. The approach can be traced back to the ancient times when medical science was founded by Hippocrates (460 BCE‐370 BCE). According to Inoue (2018), Hippocrates gave emphasis to the holistic approach that requires that the spiritual inclinations of an illness must be taken into account. He underscored this notion by stating that it is imperative to know what kind of person has an ailment than to know what type of sickness a person has. He insisted that the innate medicinal power inside a human being is the most essential source for recovery (Cook, 2017). The holistic approach implies that the doctor only serves to inspire the healing power in a patient before giving a healing ingredient, such as medicines or therapy. The approach can be considered in a multiplicity of diverse venerations of the holistic care.

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What is major in the holistic approach is that the health experts must be able to assess and look at the patient as an all-inclusive body not just as a person suffering from a disease. Failure to do so for the most part results in the mentally disordered persons being cast off or set aside by the public. According to the holistic approach counseling, religion and spirituality form a historical and critical component in the ministry of healing. For instance, the Bible indicates that Jesus Christ came to preach, teach and heal. Emlet (2017) states that Jesus Christ entirely proclaimed and preached of the coming of the Kingdom of God; and that is how he selected to devise his ministry and the way he instructed his followers to do. Based on this message, the church has been over all involved in the ministry of healing with respect to its ancient pledge to healthiness and healing. The Bible characterizes a holistic model of healing that encompasses healing the complete individual devoid of separating between the mental, the bodily, the divine and the social being. Therefore, a patient’s religion and spirituality has a remarkable prospect to attend to and help in their treatment.

The philosophy of holistic care acknowledges there being a definite close connection between body, mind and spirit (soul). Hence, the focus of the holistic counselling is individualism, which underscores the reality that every dimension of a person is unique and exceptional and they are closely attached to each other (Inoue, 2018). It is appropriate to deliver healthcare counseling with integrity value in order to champion personal development and health. Over and above integrity, offering healing and treatment through a holistic approach as advanced by Hippocrates is important for the public’s different physical ailments where the spiritual effects of the conditions have to be considered. One of the components of the holistic approach, that is, spirituality, advocates for a sense of belonging to the community that needs to be considered (Stanford, 2017). Spirituality concerns a person’s internal growth that engenders the essence of actuality and congenital according to the holistic approach. It is an inborn response system for assisting another person through which their internal perception of spirituality they find greater inner harmony and personal fulfillment.


Anxiety is a mental and bodily reaction though which people respond to actual or potential hazards. However, too much anxiety may prove to be hard to control especially when the mechanics of reacting to it turn out to be dysfunctional. Anxiety disorder manifest itself as the most difficult mental illness to handle even as there are many interventions that can be applied without difficulty. The treatment for anxiety disorder vary depending with the viewpoint to the condition. The biological perspective calls for use of medicines, the cognitive and behavioral perspective as well as the humanistic perspective require therapy interventions. The applicable therapy strategies include the cognitive therapies, acceptance and commitment therapy, intolerance of uncertainty therapy, and client-centered therapy through motivational interviewing. The sociocultural perspective calls for interventions based on a person’s environment.

However, there is no singular intervention that can completely eradicate the condition. A much wider approach that encompasses the holistic approach is mandatory to be able to handle the anxiety disorder. It is principally connected to a person’s spirituality and was advanced by Hippocrates who was the founder of medicine science. He emphasized that medical practitioners should look at a person far from the disease itself but also consider the condition’s spiritual effect from which the foundation of healing is derived.


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PsychologyWriting. "Holistic Approach to Anxiety Disorder." November 17, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/holistic-approach-to-anxiety-disorder/.