It is common for anxiety and depression to co-occur or happen at the same time. In fact, almost 45 percent of people with one mental health disorder also struggle with another mental health disorder. Studies have shown half of those struggling with anxiety or depression also struggle with both. But, a holistic approach to anxiety and depression treatment can help manage the symptoms. 

Traditional treatment of anxiety and depression typically includes the use of pharmacotherapy. Drugs such as Xanax and Klonopin are often used in treatment. However, these drugs have risks and side effects some people don’t like. As a result, people are turning to a holistic approach to anxiety and depression treatment. This approach includes vitamins for depression and anxiety treatment.

What are the Symptoms of Each Disorder?

There are some overlapping symptoms of anxiety and depression. These symptoms include irritability and problems sleeping and concentrating. But, some differences define the two disorders. 

Anxiety Symptoms

Many people experience anxiety from time to time. Anxiety is stress and worry. It’s common to have anxiety before a big decision or event. 

However, chronic anxiety is debilitating. It leads to irrational fears and thoughts which affect daily life. For instance, anxiety affects people physically and emotionally. 

Physical symptoms and behavioral changes of anxiety include:

  • Easily fatigued
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Muscle tension
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Teeth grinding
  • Sleep issues – restlessness

Emotional symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Trouble controlling worry or fear
  • Dread
  • Panic

Depression Symptoms

It is common to feel sad or down. But, when the feelings last for weeks, then it might be depression. It is vital not to ignore these feelings as they can get worse. 

Physical symptoms of depression include:

  • Lack of energy and chronic fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions
  • Pain, aches, and stomach issues
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Trouble sleeping or oversleeping

Emotional symptoms of depression include:

  • Lack of interest in hobbies and fun activities
  • Constant sadness, anxiety, and emptiness
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Irritability, anger
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, and helpless
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suicide attempts

If you or someone you love are having thoughts of hurting themself or others, it’s vital to call 911.

Supplements and Vitamins for Depression and Anxiety

There are vitamins for depression and anxiety. Specific vitamins address biological factors that add to anxiety and depression. By taking vitamins for depression and anxiety, it helps with low Vitamin B6 and iron. Vitamins can also help with serotonin deficiency. 

However, just taking a few vitamins and supplements isn’t going to make your anxiety or depression go away. But, as part of a holistic approach to anxiety and depression treatment, they help your body find balance. So, what supplements and vitamins for anxiety are available?

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for many reasons. Besides regulating your mood, Vitamin D is good for brain and nerve health. Research shows a link between Vitamin D and depression. Therefore, taking Vitamin D supplements can help with your depression. 

Additionally, research shows a link between Vitamin D and anxiety. For instance:

  • A report from 2015 reports people with anxiety or depression to have lower levels of calcidiol, which is a byproduct of Vitamin D breakdown.
  • In a 2017 study, women with type 2 diabetes see improvements in anxiety and depression when taking Vitamin D. 

However, there are things you can do besides taking vitamins for depression and anxiety. For instance, you can spend time outside in the sun. You can also eat foods high in Vitamin D. Foods such as fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are also high in Vitamin D. 

Vitamin B Complex

B vitamins are eight different vitamins that manage different body processes—for example, stress levels.  

  • A study in 2017 reports people with low levels of Vitamin B-12 often struggle with depression and anxiety. 
  • A 2018 study reports when you eat foods high in Vitamin B such as Marmite and Vegemite, struggle less with anxiety and depression. However, when adding Vitamin B-12, you have even better results.

However, if you eat a diet of nutritious and animal-based foods, you should consume enough Vitamin B. But, if you are vegan or vegetarian, you will need supplements.

Magnesium

Magnesium is important for almost every system in your body to work right. In fact, if you are low on magnesium, you risk anxiety and depression. However, eating the following foods can raise magnesium levels. 

  • Black beans
  • Dark chocolate
  • Almonds and cashews
  • Spinach
  • Quinoa
  • Whole wheat

But, high doses of magnesium can cause diarrhea. So, you should start with low doses such as 100 mg. Above all, you should never take more than 350 mg a day unless a doctor says otherwise. 

L-theanine

Green and black tea contain an amino acid called L-theanine. L-theanine is also a mild sedative and anti-anxiety agent. However, you should not consume more than 400 mg a day without a doctor’s approval. 

Multivitamin and Mineral Supplements

If you struggle with anxiety and depression, you may benefit from multiple supplements. A study in 2019 found the following nutrients help with anxiety.

  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc

So, if you are looking for a holistic approach to anxiety, adding a multi-vitamin is beneficial. However, each brand of vitamins is different. For this reason, it’s best to ask your doctor about vitamins for depression and anxiety.

GABA

Gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) is crucial for serotonin production. It is an amino acid and transmitter in your brain. Specifically, it’s known as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter.  Because serotonin is the nervous system’s most powerful neurotransmitter, GABA helps with mood regulation and relaxation. Although many vitamins help with anxiety, GABA taken directly reduces anxiety symptoms.

Passionflower

Passionflower is a herb commonly used to calm anxiety. It aids in promoting positive moods, ease nervousness, and improve sleep. Passionflower is typically added to teas. However, it’s available in tablet form. 

Valerian Root

Valerian root has been around since ancient Greek times. It has many different medicinal purposes. Although it mainly aids in sleep, it also helps reduce anxiety. Valerian root works by turning acids in the herb into “feel-good” neurotransmitters. As a result, it relaxes the mind and body and also regulates stress. You can consume Valarian root extract in capsule, liquid, or tea form. 

Chamomile

People have used chamomile for thousands of years. This daisy-like flower has calming effects. Additionally, you can find chamomile in essential oils, supplements, and tea. 

Lavender

Lavender is well known for its relaxing effects. In fact, some people believe just smelling the plant eases anxiety. NCBI reports lavender cream on the skin eases stress and anxiety in pregnant women. At the same time, those who use lavender aromatherapy before surgery have less anxiety.

A Holistic Approach to Anxiety and Depression Treatment

A holistic approach to anxiety treatment refers to the whole person. For instance, treatment heals the mind, body, and soul. As more people learn about treating anxiety and depression naturally, the more holistic care is gaining popularity.

A holistic approach to treatment includes substance use disorder. It is common for many people to use drugs or alcohol when struggling with anxiety and depression. A holistic approach to anxiety and depression treatment may include yoga, acupuncture, and other natural therapies. 

Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and meditation are beneficial for your mind, body, and soul. Hatha yoga, which is very popular, focuses on breathing techniques and how your body feels. However, “hot yoga” is done in a sauna. But, yoga, in general, relaxes the body and eases anxiety and depression. 

Meditation, however, has a different effect. The brain produces a “natural high” when you meditate. This effect is similar to the “high” from drugs and alcohol. The best part is meditation doesn’t produce withdrawal symptoms. 

Reiki

Reiki is a very spiritual transfer of energy. This transfer is done through the hands flowing over the body. Practitioners say certain injuries can block energy flow. However, Reiki helps release the flow of energy. This release helps with pain, reduces stress, and enables relaxation. 

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is similar to Reiki. For instance, it focuses on the body’s energy. But, it’s done with tiny needles instead of hands. Acupuncture is also the most widely used holistic therapy in the world. 

Acupuncture benefits the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Migraines
  • Chronic pain

Did you notice all the symptoms acupuncture benefits are also symptoms of substance use disorder? For this reason, acupuncture is a natural way to ease withdrawal symptoms. It can also help with triggers and craving and aid in recovery. 

Connect with Nature

Another holistic approach to anxiety and depression is just going outside. Take a walk through a park or hike through nature. Step away from the stressors in life and get lost in nature. Being in nature is also proven to ease anxiety and depression.

Why Does A Holistic Approach to Anxiety Treatment Work?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) developed the Guiding Principles of Recovery. This guide states, recovery “encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.” 

Holistic recovery treatment implements practical and comprehensive therapies to help people maintain recovery after treatment. Treatment should also help people develop a meaningful life. A holistic approach to anxiety and depression treatment should help you be the best you possible.

Holistic Treatment at Discovery Institute of New Jersey

Are you struggling with anxiety and depression? Or perhaps you are struggling with substance use disorder. Whatever your struggles, our comprehensive and holistic approach to treatment offers your best chance at recovery. Contact us today and find out how. 

 

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.