All About Anxiety

If you’re anything like me, anxiety is something that you struggle with in various situations. It can be something as simple as needing to be on time somewhere or transition to college that can trigger an overwhelming sense of anxiety. Being that it’s something I struggle with, and know many people who affected by it, I decided to take a deeper look into what exactly anxiety is, what causes it, and how to treat it.

For people who have not experienced anxiety, here is what it’s all about. Anxiety comes in different forms. For me, I often overthink situations, feel extremely emotional about something, or can’t stop thinking about something until it has been settled completely. It is often accompanied by a feeling of sadness that comes from the stress I experience during a time that I am feeling anxious. Now it probably doesn’t sound horrible from my description, but for those who experience it, it can be overwhelming and deeply challenging. Here is a great website that explains all of the different types of anxiety in more depth.

If you are not sure if anxiety is something that you struggle with, or if it’s something else that is bothering you, check out this website.

The root of anxiety is somewhat controversial. Some medical professionals believe that anxiety comes from a combination of genetics and our environment, while others believe that the makeup of our brains play a crucial role in whether we experience anxiety or not. It seems that our nervous systems and biological makeup have a large say in whether we have anxiety. According to this study which followed a group of people from when they were babies until they were adults, babies who had a tendency to cry often were ten times more likely to suffer from anxiety as adults. These babies who experienced anxiety as adults also had significant differences in the structure of their brains, such as a thicker prefrontal cortex, which controls emotional memories and fear.

Another study also mentioned in the link above followed nine hundred patients who were looking for medical care in Atlanta. The study found that people with a history of child abuse put them at a much higher risk of developing PTSD. The study also found that people with a combination of genes linked to stress and a history of child abuse made people much more likely to experience PTSD.

Another important point to bring up in the level of serotonin in ones brain and its relation to anxiety. It has been said that low levels of serotonin is linked to anxiety and depression. It is possible however this is due to reverse causation. It could be that experiencing anxiety leads to low levels of serotonin.

Treating anxiety is not simple. There is no medication that simply takes it away. It is important to understand that anxiety often comes from emotional places in someones brain. Psychotherapy is the most common way to deal with anxiety. It is important to note that psychotherapy helps someone learn how to cope with their anxiety and find tools to manage it, not get rid of it. Through this kind of therapy, people are able to discuss how they are feeling and learn about the roots of these feelings and how to get through them. There are also medications that are used to help treat anxiety, however they do not usually take away anxiety completely. Antidepressants, Buspirone, and Benzodiazepines are the most common medications used to treat anxiety. These medications often work best in combination with psychotherapy.

It is important to know that anxiety is something that millions of people struggle with. While almost everyone experiences it a little bit throughout their lives, many people struggle with it at more severe levels. It is not something to be ashamed of, rather something to work on and understand. While anxiety has horrible effects such as feeling stressed and sad, it can also force people to be prepared and get tasks done more timely. Anxiety is not something to get rid of completely, but something we must learn to manage.

Sources:

“Anxiety Disorders: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.

MacMillan, Amanda. “12 Signs You May Have an Anxiety Disorder.”Health.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.

Suszynski, Marie. “Getting to the Roots of Anxiety.” EverydayHealth.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).” NIMH RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
“Understanding Psychotherapy and How It Works.” Www.apa.org. American Psychological Association, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.

4 thoughts on “All About Anxiety

  1. Alyssa Kaplan Post author

    Michael,
    Really interesting point you bring up. I think that a lot of people confuse stress and anxiety. From what I have read and personally experienced, stress comes more from tangible situations such as an exam, while anxiety often comes from emotional situations and transitions. Anxiety also includes feelings of fear and being unsettled. Also, stress seems easier to manage. Once you have completed the task that is making you stressed, the feeling is over. Anxiety is harder to manage and takes more of an emotional toll on the person that is experiencing it.

  2. Jennifer Lee Wales

    Very interesting and informative post! I never knew that antidepressant drugs don’t totally take away anxiety. While I have never personally struggled with it, I have many friends that have so I am glad to have a better understanding of it after reading this post. http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics this article gives some shocking facts on anxiety like the fact that 18% of people suffer from it. That is a HUGE number.

  3. Alana Marie D'agnese

    I completely understand what anxiety feels like, because I suffer from it. For many people it comes in waves, and in the midst of an anxiety attack you feel boxed in and nothing else in the world matters. Its a very strange and unsettling feeling. There is no cure for anxiety but over time I have learned to manage it and I am able to tell the difference between feeling anxious and having anxiety. That is something that only people easily confuse. You can be nervous about a test the day before, but that does not mean you have anxiety. If you have anxiety you have been worrying about the test for weeks and might experience some physical symptoms such as sweating, dizziness, increased heart rate, and even feelings of depression. If you have anxiety but do not want to take medication or go to therapy, there are natural remedies that can help such as, green tea, the herb hops, yoga or any form of exercise.

  4. Michael Bliss

    This is a very informative post involving a topic which almost all of us experience, and which some of us have quite a problem with. However, I was wondering; is there a difference between stress and anxiety, or is it just a matter of semantics? From your blog, it seems as if anxiety is a trigger to stress. But it makes me wonder how separate these notions are.

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