This wellness book explores mainstream medicine and holistic healing understandings of anxiety, chronic stress, and pervasive dis-eases. Out of the psych books I read this year, this one stood out by conversationally illuminating agency-based approaches to anxiety, its deeper roots, and wider implications. Pairs well with: Peter Levine, Gabor Maté, Maryam Hasnaa, Pema Chödrön, and ASMR/ambient playlists.— From Sam
From acclaimed psychiatrist Dr. Ellen Vora comes a groundbreaking understanding of how anxiety manifests in the body and mind—and what we can do to overcome it.
Anxiety affects more than forty million Americans—a number that continues to climb in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While conventional medicine tends to view anxiety as a “neck-up” problem—that is, one of brain chemistry and psychology—the truth is that the origins of anxiety are rooted in the body.
In The Anatomy of Anxiety, holistic psychiatrist Dr. Ellen Vora offers nothing less than a paradigm shift in our understanding of anxiety and mental health, suggesting that anxiety is not simply a brain disorder but a whole-body condition. In her clinical work, Dr. Vora has found time and again that the symptoms of anxiety can often be traced to imbalances in the body. The emotional and physical discomfort we experience—sleeplessness, brain fog, stomach pain, jitters—is a result of the body’s stress response. This physiological state can be triggered by challenging experiences as well as seemingly innocuous factors, such as diet and use of technology.
The good news is that this body-based anxiety, or, as Dr. Vora terms it, “false anxiety,” is easily treated. Once the body’s needs are addressed, Dr. Vora reframes any remaining symptoms not as a disorder but rather as an urgent plea from within. This “true anxiety” is a signal that something else is out of balance—in our lives, in our relationships, in the world. True anxiety serves as our inner compass, helping us recalibrate when we’re feeling lost.
Practical, informative, and deeply hopeful, The Anatomy of Anxiety is the first book to fully explain the origins of anxiety and offer a detailed road map for healing and growth.
Ellen Vora, MD, is a holistic psychiatrist, acupuncturist, and yoga teacher. She takes a functional medicine approach to mental health—considering the whole person and addressing imbalance at the root. Dr. Vora received her B.A. from Yale University and her M.D. from Columbia University, and she is board-certified in psychiatry and integrative holistic medicine. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.
"The Anatomy of Anxiety is a paradigm shift in how we view anxiety and the mind-body connection. Dr. Vora's approach gets to often-unaddressed root causes of anxiety and teaches you how to find well-being. Anxiety truly is our teacher, and this book is a must-have for anyone looking to heal."
— Dr. Nicole LePera, founder of The Holistic Psychologist and author of How to Do the Work
“The most comprehensive book in print on anxiety: what it is, its myriad causes, the ways in which it affects us, and how we can practically use, manage and transcend it. The Anatomy of Anxiety is like The Body Keeps the Score for anxiety. Everyone needs this book.” — Holly Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of Quit Like a Woman
“Dr. Ellen Vora is the rare psychiatrist who moves past the prescription pad to probe the underlying factors that contribute to these pervasive feelings of uneasiness. This is a hopeful guide to anxiety, one that addresses the ingredients of this complicated stew and offers tactical advice for unwinding its death-grip on our minds and lives.” — Elise Loehnen, former CCO of goop and host of the Pulling the Thread podcast
“In a time when anxiety is at an all-time high, my esteemed colleague Dr. Ellen Vora’s timing and message with this book is impeccable. This brilliant work offers us a holistic approach to anxiety that is thoughtful and comprehensive yet imbued with a beautiful grace and heart just like it’s author.” — Dr. Will Cole, leading functional medicine expert, New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting
“What sweet salve - for anxiety to be seen as the ‘beginning of inquiry’, not as a broken state. Thank you, Ellen, for leading us on this new, somatic, integrated, and vibrant journey with your expertise and your mindfully curated lived experience.” — Sarah Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of First, We Make the Beast Beautiful
"Anxiety keeps your life small. Dr. Vora's approach will get you out of your head and into your body, relationships, and lifestyle by dismantling anxiety (major and minor) for good." — Melissa Urban, CEO and co-founder of Whole30
"A thought-provoking debut...Vora's sensible, easy-to-implement advice is backed up with solid medical rationales. Readers struggling with anxiety would do well to seek out this first-rate primer." — Publishers Weekly