Almost every fifth person gets the diagnosis General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Thus stress because of anxiety is one of the most prevalent problems today. Although some might need professional help, with this post I want to give you a basic understanding, how to overcoming anxiety. As long as you breathe, you’ve got a will to live and thrive. Use this powerful source and improve your will power!
Protect your heart, explore your spirit and access bravery.
The Nature of Psychic Disorders
Before talking about mental disorders I’d rather look at the healthy state in order to get some vital orientation. The WHO gives the following definition for mental health:
A state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.
What strikes at first glance is the notion that health is not the absence of ailments but a certain quality of life, the ability to live up to one’s potential and calling. This includes the dimension of meaning, the sense of coherence, traits and qualities which make up that which is called resilience.
Talking about disorders against this backdrop, mental disorders affect three faculties: enjoyment, relationship and performance. (In order to read more about these subjects, go to my book recommendations.) So for example somebody might be moaning and groaning all the time which could be an indicator for a bigger problem underneath the surface.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a concerned person will display some of the following traits and symptoms: psychological strain and handicap, maladjustment (aimless and/or destructive behavior), irrationality, unpredictability, exceptionality and statistical rareness, inconvenience in observers, violation of social rules.
Causes and Classification
In psychology to find the causes for a disorder is rather tricky and controversial. Basically there are three ways to look for causes, which serve as a template for classification.
- Organic or physical, which points towards a failure in the metabolism. ⇒ For example caffeine, alcohol and benzodiazepine (barbiturate, sleeping pill) dependence can have an amplifying effect on anxiety if overused or withdrawn completely.
- Psychogenic, which points towards the emotional history and has to be treated by psychotherapy. ⇒ Incidents that are perceived as wearing as well as life stresses like a chronic illness or financial worries.
- Endogenic, meaning from the inside, in other words: we don’t know exactely. Disorders like depression or schizophrenia being a case for psychiatry. ⇒ This is a matter of genetics respectively epigenetics.
Because it’s so difficult to find univocal causes, professionals rather talk about vulnerability respectively resilience looking for factors which support health or disorder. Three categories serve as a pattern: 1) disposition, 2) environment and 3) reaction, the latter being the crucial point. In the end, what’s left over is my own will. I can decide to leave victimhood and take back the initiative.
For the main purpose of my website HeartBasedPower being the search for the best natural stress reliever, it’s important to note, that most of the mental disorders are located in the brain, in the so called limbic system. There lies the key for stress regulation.
Overall mental disorders are increasing day by day with a strong inclination towards narcissism. Especially the combination of anxiety and depression is growing with a lifetime prevalence of over 50% now. In other words, every second person suffers from this at least once in their lifetime. As a side note: in Switzerland, mental disorders are more frequent by international comparison.
Anxiety and Fear
Overwhelming feelings of anxiety and fear characterize this mental disorder, whereas anxiety is a worry about future or imagined events and fear a reaction to current events perceived as a clear and present danger. These feelings are often accompanied by a racing heart or shakiness.
As I’ve mentioned in the beginning, anxiety is by far the most frequent disorder and thus the biggest challenge. Actually 1,5% – 3% of the population are treated because of General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). And up to 20% would fit this diagnosis. Women are twice as much affected than men.
Even though we normally worry about something 18% of our day time, there are clear indications of an unhealthy habit. If there’s no external threat, no explanation, not appropriate (spiders etc.), outlasting the trigger, affecting the life quality. On a physical level you would find a massive release of the neurotransmitter cortisol (stress hormone) harming the limbic system (Amygdala).
There are many facets of the anxiety disorder which can be classified as follows:
- Generalized: not specific, long lasting, widespread among older adults.
- Phobias: triggered by a specific stimulus like locations, people etc.
- Panic disorder: brief attacks of intense terror.
- Obsessive–compulsive disorder: concerning thoughts and actions.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTS): after combat situation, rape etc.
- Separation anxiety: after separation from a person or place.
- Situational anxiety: caused by new situations or changing events.
Coping Strategies: F**k Anxiety!
Although medication is applied all too often – just look up the statistics about Ritalin (methylphenidate) -, it should only be used as a last resort, and not as a normal preparation for exams for example. Besides therapy, you can make a big difference by lifestyle changes. So in closing I’d like to propose four coping strategies:
- Confront reality: don’t put your head in the sand, with the help of a friend maybe take a look at the hard facts of your life. Be mindful in the present moment and look intensely at what’s going on.
- Mitigate physical reactions: get off of coffein as much as possible, avoid other psychotropic substances as well as neon light. Support your body with everything soothing and calming.
- Relax feelings: You start with breathing exercises and then deepen your competence. Here you can find a lot of help.
- Change thoughts: take back the initiative and become your own master again! Keen observation is the beginning and self suggestion a strong solution
Now start with these suggestions, deal with your subject researching and experimenting more. Use the tag cloud on the right hand side, especially Humor, Hypnosis and Mental Power. And if you don’t get any improvement, look for professional help in therapy. And please feel free to leave a comment below or privately via email.