According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in Americans 18 and older. Unfortunately, of the 40 million adult Americans suffering from anxiety, only 37% receive treatment. This blog will help define anxiety, identify common causes in the United States, and suggest helpful tips for naturally alleviating its symptoms.

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What Qualifies as Anxiety?

Anxiety Defined

Anxiety is defined by medical professionals as a feeling of apprehension or fear, characterized by symptoms such as rapid or irregular heartbeats, sweating, and feelings of stress. In a more informal way, most of us understand anxiety as a constant or exaggerated sense of tension caused by stress. Additionally, it is common to associate anxiety with depression as nearly half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

The United States has only recently started to acknowledge mental health as an important topic to be included in education. For this reason, there is a lot of misinformation on the Internet regarding anxiety conditions, symptoms, and treatment. Another negative consequence of the social stigma surrounding mental health disorders is that it is extremely hard to ensure accurate reporting. This makes it very likely that the rates of anxiety are even higher as many feel embarrassed asking for help


Symptoms of Anxiety

Most people have a general idea of what anxiety feels like. We’ve all been stressed before. What most of us don’t know, however, is what makes frequent stress qualify as having an anxiety disorder. The most frequent symptoms of anxiety can be broken down into a few categories with these common signs:

  • Behavioral: Hypervigilance, irritability, or restlessness
  • Cognitive: Lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts
  • Whole Body: Fatigue or sweating
  • Other Common Symptoms: Anxiety, excessive worry, fear, feeling of impending doom, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, or trembling

Experiencing these symptoms from time to time is normal. If you have any inkling that your stress may be more serious, we recommend reaching out to a mental health professional. At the very least, confide in someone you trust and tell them how you’re feeling.

Top Reasons Americans Experience Symptoms of Anxiety

The following list from the American Psychological Association (APA) identifies the top 10 causes of stress for Americans. The results come after a survey of over 1,100 Americans aged 18 or older. The findings show these top stressors:

  1. Money
  2. Work
  3. The Economy
  4. Family Responsibilities
  5. Relationships
  6. Personal Health Concerns
  7. Housing Costs
  8. Job Stability
  9. Health Problems Affecting My Family
  10. Personal Safety

The purpose of listing these common causes is not to give you anxiety about your anxiety. Rather, these findings should reassure that you are not alone when worrying about these common issues. Remember, although your symptoms of anxiety may be unique, the same few common issues are responsible for creating most people’s anxiety.


Science-Backed Ways to Alleviate Symptoms of Anxiety

Omega 3

In a study by the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State University, participants who were routinely given omega-3 experienced a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms compared to a control group given a placebo. Incorporating omega-3’s in your diet could be an easy way to see if they make a difference for you. Fish (salmon, tuna, and sardines), seeds and nuts (flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts), and plant oils (soybean oil, canola oil, etc.) are all high in natural omega-3’s. You can also find over-the-counter omega 3 supplements at your local pharmacy.



It’s no secret that physical activity is great for mental health, anxiety included. But why? Princeton research shows that exercise helps reduce anxiety by changing the way our brains (specifically the hippocampus) respond to stress hormones. The general suggestion experts agree upon is 150 minutes of moderate activity each week for the best benefits; however, it is still evident that less exercise is better than none at all.


Cannabidiol (CBD)

The rapidly changing legal status of CBD and hemp derivatives across the world has caused research on its medicinal effects to be limited until recent years. That being said, CBD has proven to be effective in treating anxiety in both animals and humans. A study from the University of São Paulo found CBD did effectively lower Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) in participants. Brain scans showed that CBD actually changed the way subjects’ brains responded to anxiety altogether.

cbd oil


In this German study, lavender oil was found to be as effective as the anxiety medication, Lorazepam, at treating anxiety. Non-addictive and non-sedative, lavender oil might be the naturally calming alternative you’ve been searching for. Some experts recommend using a lotion with organic lavender oil or placing a few drops of lavender oil on your pillowcase to help experience its calming effects.

Lavender Plant


Hopefully, you now know a little bit more about one of America’s most common disorders. Understanding natural ways to fight anxiety can help reduce dependency on costly prescription drugs which far too often come with negative side effects. We’d love to hear your healthy alternatives for coping with anxiety. Make sure to comment below and share this article with your friends.

December 28, 2021 — Griffin Lynch

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