Anxiety in our Modern Society

Anxiety in our Modern Society Steven Hayes, PhD once said, If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. (Boyes, 2013). This quote from Dr.

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Hayes is explaining that without change there will no different outcome. This quote relates to the principles of society because it shows that if our society refuses to change, then individuals who suffer from anxiety will not change their outcome. Mr. Ronald Kessler, PhD states that, Anxiety Disorders affect 18.1 percent of adults in the United States (Kessler, 2005). Therefore, if such a large percentage of our population in the United States is affected by Anxiety Disorders, why are we not innovating new theories around Anxiety Disorders. Anxiety Disorders need to be taken as a serious mental health condition due to the vast number of anxiety disorders, the harmful side effects it takes on the body, and the impairment of a normal life. Anxiety disorders have been around the United States history for an extensive amount of time.

Starting in the nineteenth (19th) century into the 20th century, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) was diagnosed with pantophobia or anxiety neurosis (Crocq, 2017). There are a multitude of reasons why anxiety disorders are present in certain individuals. Experts know that there are multiple causes for anxiety disorders. Researchers are learning that anxiety disorders run in families, and they have a biological basis, much like allergies or diabetes and other disorders, says Opposing Viewpoints ???Mental Illness’ (Berlatsky, 2013). GAD was brought into the third edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) as a diagnostic category in 1980 when anxiety neurosis was split into GAD and panic disorder (Crocq, 2017). Ever since the 19th century there have been many research projects projected towards Anxiety Disorders. There has been over $9 million dollars dedicated towards Anxiety research since 1987 (Anxiety, 2018).

In today’s world there are many other viewpoints. Since we live in such a diverse society, we are compelled to acknowledge all of the viewpoints. Therefore, some individuals believe that anxiety is not a real illness, some people are just worrywarts and can’t be treated, and people with anxiety can just snap out of it if they really wanted to. Even though I can understand how individuals might believe this, some anxiety is natural, but it is also a real illness. Anxiety disorder is an extreme form of anxiety and can cause impairment (Vann, 2013). When an extreme anxiety disorder is present it does not mean those individuals are just worry warts. According to a research experiment, published by Current Pharmaceutical Design, two thirds (2/3) of anxiety disorders are inherited. Therefore, individuals do not choose to be worrywarts; they simply have no control (Vann, 2013). Even though these conditions have a genetic component, there is still treatment and medication that can be used based on diagnosis. A certain type of treatment involves breaking the cycle of anxiety. The cycle of anxiety is the reason individuals cannot snap out of it.

The cycle of anxiety includes fear and worry, which are in your mind due to the anxiety, which will lead to avoidance. Since the individuals avoid the problem at hand the anxiety’s fear and worry will grow stronger over time. Therefore, without professional help, the cycle of anxiety is increasingly hard to overcome. When discussing mental health there are two different types of perspectives. Those perspectives include believers and nonbelievers. In my mind, nonbelievers have the viewpoint that mental health is all make believe in an individual’s head. Whereas, believers know that the 18.1 percent of individuals in the United States affected by mental health disorders are not faking their illness. There are three main categories when referring to Anxiety Disorders, those include: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorders, and Phobia-Related Disorders. GAD will show excessive anxiety and worry for at least 6 months for a number of things (Anxiety Disorders, www.nimh.nih.gov). The symptoms of GAD include: feeling on-edge, easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritable, muscle tension, difficulty controlling feelings of worry, and insomnia. The fear and anxiety that GAD causes are serious issues. This fear and anxiety could cause serious problems in areas of life, such as: social interactions, school, and work (Anxiety Disorders, www.nimh.nih.gov). In the United States, individuals over the age of 18, GAD will affect around three to five percent of the population in any given year (GAD, anxietypanichealth.com).

Panic Disorder is another common Anxiety Disorder within the United States. A panic disorder will almost always come with common panic attacks. Panic attacks are periods of immense fear that come fast and last around a couple minutes (National Institute of Mental Health, 2018). Panic attacks have many causes, but they can occur unexpectedly. A lot of panic attacks are brought on by triggers. During these panic attacks there are a multitude of symptoms, such as: heart palpitations, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, feelings of impending doom, and feelings of being out of control (National Institute of Mental Health, 2018). Even though they are not as common as GAD, panic disorder is still very common. 1.7% of the United States population over 18 to 54 is affected by a panic disorder (Panic Disorder, 2017). Another type of disorder found in the United States are Phobia-related disorders. A phobia is an intense fear. This fear may feel out of proportion when looking in from the outside, but to the individual it seems right during the circumstance. Phobia related disorders have symptoms known as: irrational or excessive fear, avoiding situations, and immediate intense anxiety (National Institute of Mental Health, 2017). Phobia-related disorders are very common; there are around 19 million people affected by phobia-related disorders in the United States (Nordqvist, 2017). Due to the multitude of disorders that are related to Anxiety Disorders there are also a multitude of symptoms.

One of the most major symptoms correlated to Anxiety Disorder is suicidal thoughts. Erwin Ringel, an Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist, proves this point in the scholarly journal, Anxiety and suicide: Anxiety is an essential, though not absolutely necessary, part of the presuicidal syndrome. It can be manifest or hidden; in both cases, however, its connection with suicide is significant and all patients with anxiety-connected psychotic disorders have to be considered suicide-prone. In those cases where anxiety increases extremely rapidly the danger of suicide increases. Therefore, the treatment of anxiety with antidepressive drugs, neuroleptics, tranquilizers, and psychotherapy has to be considered an important suicide-preventing therapeutic measure. (Ringel, 1972, par. 1, abstract) Our country has gone through great sadness in the past; when the United States goes through a sadness we pull together as a team. Therefore, if people in our country know there are some of our own going through an immensely hard time, why would we not help? Who are we to allow some of our own sit and suffer through the hardships of an anxiety disorder. Some of the other hardships include: insomnia, heart palpitations, impairment of life that results from avoidance. When an individual gets sick, they take off work. They could have the flu or some simple head cold, no matter what, they take off work. Therefore, an illness will impair your day to day life. In a questionnaire conducted by the Mental Health Foundation, individuals were asked three questions about feeling anxiety in their day to day lives.

More people agreed than disagreed that they got more anxious these days than they used to and there were similar levels of agreement that feelings of anxiety had stopped them from doing things in their lives (Mental Health Foundation, 2014). Anxiety has affected many individuals in their lives and has stopped them from doing day to day activities and also avoiding certain situations. All of these side effects from anxiety can affect a person and their personal or work life immensely. Anxiety needs to be taken as a serious mental health condition due to the vast amount of anxiety disorders, the harmful side effects it takes on the body, and the impairment of a normal life. Anxiety has been and will always be an impactful mental illness in our society. Individuals who suffer from a type of Anxiety Disorder need the help and support from our society, not the bashing they have received. Gayathri Ramprasad, a mental health advocate, who has dealt with her mental illnesses her entire life. She stated in an interview, Having a mental health issue is not a sign of personal weakness. I think it is a sign of strength to ask for help and support. Anxiety Disorders are not meant to ask for attention. Anxiety disorders are not make believe. Anxiety disorders are real and they are hard. It is even harder to ask for help. Therefore, they should not have to ask for help…it should already be there.

References

  1. Page Boyes, A. (2013, January 14). Anxiety Quotes: The Ten Best Quotes About Overcoming Anxiety.Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in practice/201301/anxiety-quotes-the-ten-best-quotes-about-overcoming-anxiety
  2. Kessler, R. C. (2005). Errors in Byline, Author Affiliations, and Acknowledgment in: Prevalence, Severity, and Comorbidity of 12-Month DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry,62(7), 709. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.62.7.709
  3. Crocq, M.A. (2017). The history of generalized anxiety disorder as a diagnostic category [Abstract]. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 19(2), 107-116.
  4. Berlatsky, N. (Ed.). (2013). Mental illness. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. Anxiety. (2018, September 05). Retrieved from https://www.bbrfoundation.org/research/anxiety
  5. Vann, M. R. (2013, March 15). 10 Anxiety Myths Debunked. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/anxiety/10-anxiety-myths-debunked.aspx Anxiety Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml GAD – Generalized Anxiety Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://anxietypanichealth.com/reference/gad-general-anxiety-disorder/ Panic Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.fearclinic.ufl.edu/PanicDisorders.html
  6. Nordqvist, C. (2017, December 20). Everything you need to know about phobias. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/249347.php
  7. Ringel, E. (1972). Anxiety and suicide [Abstract]. Schweizer Archiv f??r Neurologie, Neurochirurgie und Psychiatrie, 110(1), 143-150. Office on Womens Health. (2018). An interview about mental health stigma and healing [Web log comment]. Retrieved from https://www.womenshealth.gov/blog/mental-health-stigma (2018, February 06).
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