Who Is Prone To Anxiety
To a large degree, people who are prone to clinical depression are also vulnerable to clinical anxiety. The conditions have many features in common. Chief among them is a history of adverse childhood experience, such as abuse or neglect. The reason is that maltreatment can indelibly alter the stress system so that it is hypersensitive to danger and reacts with an outpouring of alarm signals that overwhelm the capacity for emotion processing. Scoring high on the personality trait of neuroticism also inclines an individual to anxiety. Neuroticism reflects a tendency to respond to stressful experiences most readily and intensely with negative emotions and to perceive threats where they do not exist. In addition, people who lack the skills of emotion regulation are vulnerable to anxiety they can be easily overwhelmed by situations that create uncertainty or stir any negative feelings.
Did You Know Your Brain Is Over 200000 Years Old
Our brains evolved when the world was very different when people were nomadic hunter-gatherers, living in tribal communities.
Modern humans appeared about 200,000 years ago – thats pretty recent, in the grand scheme of things. But its still a long time.
So youd think wed have this whole anxiety thing figured out by now, hey?
But evolution is very slow and gradual. Our society in general , has evolved very quickly.
Much faster than our brains can evolve!
What Is Anxiety And What Are The Symptoms
Lets start with the basics. What does anxiety mean?
Here are some words to describe it: apprehension, fear, dread, trepidation, nervousness, butterflies in your stomach.
There are three anxiety disorders: panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and generalised anxiety disorder.
Were going to be dealing with the latter, but just in case you also suffer from panic disorder, be sure to read my article on how to stop panic attacks in their tracks.
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What Is A Panic Attack
Panic attacks can be caused by heredity, chemical imbalances, stress and the use of stimulants .
Some people have only one or two attacks and are never bothered again. Panic attacks can occur with other psychiatric disorders. In panic disorders, however, the panic attacks return repeatedly and the person develops an intense fear of having another attack. Without help, this “fear of fear” can make people avoid certain situations and can interfere with their lives even when they are not having a panic attack. Therefore, it is very important to recognize the problem and get help.
Tips for dealing with a panic attack
- Realize that although your symptoms are frightening, they are an exaggeration of normal stress reactions and aren’t dangerous or harmful.
- Face the feelings rather than fighting them, and they will become less intense.
- Don’t add to the panic by asking “What if?” Tell yourself “So what!”
- Stay in the present. Notice what is actually happening rather than what you think might happen.
- Rate your fear level on a scale of 1 to 10 and watch it change. Notice that it doesn’t stay at a high level for more than a few seconds.
- Distract yourself with a simple task like counting backwards or lightly snapping a rubber band around your wrist.
- When the fear comes, expect it and accept it. Wait and give it time to pass without running away.
What Causes Anxiety 10 Reasons Why You Are So Anxious
What causes my anxiety? Why am I so anxious? As if anxiety itself werent bad enough, not knowing what causes anxiety can make matters even worse. Its natural to want to know just what is making you feel the worry and fear of generalized anxiety disorder, the dread of people and social situations of social anxiety disorder, the unease of separation anxiety disorder, the frights of phobias, or the death-grip of panic disorder/panic attacks. Knowing what causes any type of anxiety can be an important part of the puzzle and can help you move forward.
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Who Is At Risk For Anxiety Disorders
A mix of genetic and environmental factors can raise a persons risk for developing anxiety disorders. You may be at higher risk if you have or had:
- Certain personality traits, such as shyness or behavioral inhibition feeling uncomfortable with, and avoiding, unfamiliar people, situations or environments.
- Stressful or traumatic events in early childhood or adulthood.
- Family history of anxiety or other mental health conditions.
- Certain physical conditions, including thyroid problems and heart arrhythmias .
Anxiety disorders occur more often in women. Researchers are still studying why that happens. It may come from womens hormones, especially those that fluctuate throughout the month. The hormone testosterone may play a role, too men have more, and it may ease anxiety. Its also possible that women are less likely to seek treatment, so the anxiety worsens.
Can Anxiety Disorders Be Prevented
You cant prevent anxiety disorders. But you can take steps to control or reduce your symptoms:
- Check out medications: Talk to a healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies. Some of these contain chemicals that may make anxiety symptoms worse.
- Limit caffeine: Stop or limit how much caffeine you consume, including coffee, tea, cola and chocolate.
- Live a healthy lifestyle: Exercise regularly and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Seek help: Get counseling and support if you experienced a traumatic or disturbing event. Doing so can help prevent anxiety and other unpleasant feelings from disrupting your life.
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Dealing With The Symptoms Quickly And Effectively
The best way to reduce the symptoms of anxiety quickly is to calm yourself with the aid of a . You can listen to the soothing voice of a professional hypnotherapist in the comfort of your own home.
Best of all, each time you listen, you not only reduce the symptoms right away, but you build on its success bringing you one step closer to recovery.
At the same time, challenge yourself to continue to take steps out of your comfort zone in the morning, afternoon and evening.
The Benefits Of Anxiety And Nervousness
We often hear about the negative aspects of anxiety, but could there be any advantages or benefits that come from living with anxiety? Anxiety is a feeling that is often characterized by intense fear, worry, and apprehension.
Many individuals with anxiety describe it as a feeling of nervousness and dread that can be distracting at best and all-consuming at worst. Anxiety is typically experienced on many levels, affecting ones emotions, leading to uncomfortable physical sensations, and contributing to negative thoughts.
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Medications Can Trigger An Anxiety Attack
Certain medications have some ugly side effects and can cause anxiety symptoms or an anxiety attack. Prescription medications to watch out for include thyroid drugs and asthma drugs, while over-the-counter decongestants have been known to cause anxiety symptoms in some people. If you suddenly stop taking certain medications sometimes used to treat anxiety, such as benzodiazepines, withdrawal may cause added anxiety.
Whats The Outlook For People With Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can often go undiagnosed and untreated. Fortunately, treatment can help. The right treatment can help improve your quality of life, relationships and productivity. It can also support your overall well-being.
You dont need to live with constant worry and fear. If you notice symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Its best to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Doing so can limit the problems that anxiety disorders can cause. Often, a combination of medications and counseling for anxiety can help you feel your best.
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Concealment Of Positive Affect
The poker player learns to adopt a poker face, so that his opponents cannot, see his excitement when he picks up and looks at a straight flush in his hand. Players of quinze at Almack’s rooms in London in the 18th century used to sit, around the table wearing masks although this reduced the skill and excitement of the game, it reduced the stress of having to maintain the poker face. Likewise, the dealer in jade, so the story goes, knows that, his customer will hide his pleasure in seeing a particularly desirable piece, and so he looks at the customer’s pupils, knowing that the pupillary dilation of excitement is one aspect, of positive affect, over which the rational brain has no control.
Can Stress Bring On Anxiety
Anxiety and stress are intimately related anxiety is a reaction to stress. Anxiety is the name we give to the internal sensations of warning generated by the bodys reaction to a mental or physical threat. The sensations are set in motion by the stress response system, whose job is to alert us to and protect us from danger. Without waiting for us to make a conscious assessment of any danger, it swiftly sends out chemical warning signals, such as cortisol and adrenaline, to various organs. The physical discomfort of anxiety is like a bodyguard its job is to protect us by jolting us into action. But it can persist and, by altering the function of neural circuits in the brain, overwhelm the ability to exert rational control.
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How To Stop An Anxiety Attack
People have this powerful idea to make the anxiety attack stop, Carbonell says, but you cant make it stop through force of will. However, if you look back at your history, youll see that every anxiety attack does indeed stop, even if it feels awful for a while.
Your best first step stopping an anxiety attack is to simply notice your symptoms and accept that youre having an attack. This can be challenging if its one of your first anxiety attacks, but after that youll know more about what to expect.
What If I Still Have Problems
Anxiety is a problem when it comes up often or comes up a lot when we are not in danger. It is also a problem when we avoid doing things because we feel anxious.
It is important to talk to your doctor if you have problems with anxiety. Some physical and mental illnesses cause anxiety or panic.
If you doctor finds an illness called an anxiety disorder, they will start treatment. There are many treatments to try that can help.
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The Evolution Of The Human Brain
The human brain did not evolve for life in a delayed-return environment.
The earliest remains of modern humans, known as Homo sapiens sapiens, are approximately two hundred thousand years old.2 These were the first humans to have a brain relatively similar to ours. In particular, the neocortexthe newest part of the brain and the region responsible for higher functions like languagewas roughly the same size two hundred thousand years ago as today.3 You are walking around with the same hardware as your Paleolithic ancestors.
Compared to the age of the brain, modern society is incredibly new. It is only recentlyduring the last 500 years or sothat our society has shifted to a predominantly Delayed Return Environment. The pace of change has increased exponentially compared to prehistoric times. In the last 100 years we have seen the rise of the car, the airplane, the television, the personal computer, the Internet, and Beyonce. Nearly everything that makes up your daily life has been created in a very small window of time.
A lot can happen in 100 years. From the perspective of evolution, however, 100 years is nothing. The modern human brain spent hundreds of thousands of years evolving for one type of environment and in the blink of an eye the entire environment changed . Your brain was designed to value immediate returns. 4
Why Does Anxiety Cause Physical Symptoms
Whether youre dealing with anxiousness or a diagnosable anxiety disorder, it can manifest in your body in multiple ways. From head to toe, almost every system can be impacted just by nature of your body releasing a lot of stress hormones, Mona Potter, M.D., medical director at McLean Anxiety Mastery Program in Boston, tells SELF. But why does it happen?
Well, you have your fight-or-flight response to thank for your physical anxiety symptoms. Typically, its supposed to help you survive a threat by escaping or fending it off. In way-back-then cave-people days, that threat might have been something along the lines of a lion. If you have anxiety, though, your fear and worry are that threat, prompting your sympathetic nervous system, which controls involuntary processes like your breathing and heart rate, to kick into high gear. This leads your adrenal glands to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, according to the Mayo Clinic. This domino effect is behind anxietys physical symptoms.
When a person experiences anxiety, its essentially the fight-or-flight system kicking in and saying, Danger! Neda Gould, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and associate director of the Johns Hopkins Bayview Anxiety Disorders Clinic, tells SELF.
So what are the physical symptoms of anxiety to look out for?
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How Common Are Anxiety Problems
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems people have. In fact, the Canadian Psychiatric Association reports that within the past year about 18% of Canadians have had an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are associated with a high rate of work absenteeism. In the USA, the total costs of anxiety disorders to the economy have been estimated at 42.2-46.6 million dollars anually.
Environmental Causes Of Anxiety Disorders
We have spent a lot of time on CalmClinic discussing the biological and genetic components of anxiety. But for most people, anxiety is going to be largely environmental. For some, it may be difficult to find the cause at all, because not all anxiety is as simple as pointing to a specific moment.
Even if you have a genetic predisposition to anxiety , your environment is going to play a key role in whether you develop an anxiety disorder. Most believe that environment plays a triggering role in anxiety disorders, and in some cases may cause anxiety disorders by themselves.
In this case, environment includes everything that is not genetic – every experience you have, every place you go, and everything youve been taught.
According to a study of monozygotic twins and dizygotic twins , monozygotic twins – who both share the same DNA – were twice as likely to develop anxiety disorders than fraternal twins, but in each of these cases their genetics did not guarantee an anxiety disorder, which indicates that environment still plays a role.
Its also strongly believed that people can develop anxiety disorders from the environment alone. This is supported by the idea that anxiety can be treated without any medicine or surgery, indicating that a great deal of mental health is forged by life experiences.
Common environmental causes of anxiety include:
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