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Uncovering the Roots: Understanding the Causes of Anxiety and Depression

Updated: Jun 11

"Maybe you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots." - Rumi

Life can often feel overwhelming, and it's not uncommon to experience periods of anxiety and depression. These feelings can be attributed to various factors, and understanding the root causes is crucial for effective treatment. Root cause treatment delves deeper than just addressing symptoms; it involves becoming detectives to uncover what is going on underneath.

The Three Categories of Mental Health Causes

I have divided possible reasons for your mental health problems into three categories: physical, mental, and spiritual. By exploring each of these areas, we can gain a holistic understanding of what might be contributing to your feelings of anxiety and depression.

Physical Reasons for Mental Health Problems

  1. Gut Issues: Conditions such as leaky gut, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), food sensitivities, and dysbiosis in your microbiome can significantly impact mental health.

  2. Nutrient Deficiencies and Depletions: Lacking essential nutrients can lead to mood disorders and cognitive issues.

  3. Hormone Imbalances: Imbalances in hormones such as cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone can affect mood and energy levels.

  4. Thyroid Issues: Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can both contribute to depression and anxiety.

  5. Systemic Inflammation: Inflammation, especially in the brain, can be a significant factor in mental health issues.

  6. Environmental Toxins: Exposure to toxins in the environment can negatively impact brain function and mood.

  7. Dehydration: Even mild dehydration can affect mental performance and emotional stability.

  8. Poor Sleep: Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can lead to a host of mental health problems.

  9. Stress: Chronic stress affects the body physically and can contribute to anxiety and depression.

  10. Neurotransmitter Issues: Imbalances in neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine play a critical role in mental health.

Mental Health Issues that Cause Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

  1. Habitual Negative Thinking or Behaviors: Persistent negative thought patterns can reinforce feelings of anxiety and depression.

  2. Autonomic Nervous System Dysregulation: An imbalance in the nervous system can lead to chronic stress responses.

  3. Limiting Beliefs: Deep-seated beliefs that limit personal growth and self-worth can fuel mental health issues.

  4. Stress: Emotional and psychological stress can manifest as anxiety and depression.

  5. Loneliness: Feeling disconnected from others can lead to profound feelings of sadness and anxiety.

  6. Negative Coping Skills: Reliance on unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as excessive use of devices, overeating, or substance abuse, can exacerbate mental health problems.

  7. Poor Boundaries: Lack of boundaries with self and others can lead to emotional exhaustion and stress.

  8. Lack of Self-Care: Neglecting self-care practices can contribute to mental and emotional imbalance.

  9. Relying on Others: Depending on others to meet your needs can prevent personal growth and lead to dissatisfaction.

  10. Being Too Hard on Yourself: Self-criticism can erode self-esteem and increase anxiety.

  11. People Pleasing: Constantly trying to please others can lead to neglecting your own needs.

  12. Energy Leaks: Activities or relationships that drain your energy without replenishing it can lead to burnout.

Spiritual Issues that Cause Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

  1. Spiritual Misalignment or Absence: Feeling disconnected from your spiritual beliefs can create a sense of emptiness.

  2. Lack of Meaning or Purpose: Struggling to find meaning in life can lead to feelings of despair.

  3. Disconnection from Yourself: Losing touch with your true self can result in anxiety and depression.

  4. Unhealthy Relationship to Self: Negative self-perception and lack of self-love can undermine mental health.

  5. Disconnection from a Higher Power: Whether you call it God, the Divine, the Universe, or Earth, feeling disconnected from a higher power can lead to a sense of isolation.

  6. Lack of Stillness: Failing to take time for quiet reflection and constantly being busy can prevent mental and emotional healing.

Taking an Honest Look

Do some of these issues ring true for you? Often, the root cause of our mental health issues is many roots. It takes time, patience, and kindness with yourself as you take an honest look at where you are and begin a healing journey. By addressing the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of your life, you can uncover the deeper causes of your anxiety and depression and take meaningful steps toward healing.

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