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Anxiety and worrying are twins that can cause mental disorders. In fact, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, with about 40 million affected adults. Anxiety disorders are treatable, but only 36.9 percent of sufferers receive proper treatment. Being anxious and worried are not permanent prisons to hold people in place because there are ways to help oneself achieve freedom.
A joint study by the researchers from Columbia University and the University of California discovered anxiety cells in mice brains. They tested the fear of open places in mice by placing them in a maze that has some wide spaces. When the mice entered open areas of the mazes, their hippocampus – the brain region responsible for emotion - became more active, allowing them to exhibit symptoms of anxiety.
To alter the cells that gave way to the said symptoms, the researchers used optogenetics which uses light to control cells in living tissues. They are able to control the anxiety in mice by adjusting the amount of light in their anxiety cells.
“If we can learn enough, we can develop the tools to turn on and off the key players that regulate anxiety in people,” said Joshua Gordon, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health.
The suggested that anxiety can be treated, like any other mental illness. The treatments do not always involve medications or experimental therapies, but some treatments may begin within you.
Find the Triggers of Anxiety and Worry
Certain events in life can cause anxiety and worry to develop. Later on, memories of these life events can trigger anxiety attacks. Figuring out the root causes and triggers of anxiety can help endure the experience during attacks. The common causes of anxiety include life events, thinking styles, evolution, and biology.
1. Life events are occurrences in life that usually give off stress. Many life events produce pressure, such as school, work, peers, money, and romance. Typically, anxiety develops when the person is unable to meet the demands of the pressure. Chronic exposure to high amounts of stress and lack of an outlet can lead to anxiety disorders. But it can also happen to people targeted with negative elements, such as abuse, bullying, and harassment. For instance, an elementary student may develop anxiety from constant bullying of classmates, thus diminishing their confidence and self-esteem, and leaving them self-conscious. Later in life, that person may end up with anxiety disorders.
2. Thinking styles refer to people's personal view and how they process events in life. An anxious individual always expects the worst case scenario. It allows them to protect themselves from the potential damage of end results, such as rejection. But the style puts their mind on high alert, making them unable to switch it off and relax.
3. The evolution of man can trigger anxiety, but it is beneficial for survival. For example, urban areas are commonly known to have higher crime rates than in rural areas. While walking alone in the middle of the night and you hear a noise, you will feel anxiety and your mind goes on full alert. Your heart beats faster to supply blood to every muscle, while sweat goes out of every pore to keep the body cool. Other biological processes also occur including rapid breathing to sustain oxygen in the muscles, and adrenaline is released to aid in making quick responses to danger.
4. Biology plays a role in causing anxiety. Scientists believe that parents with anxiety disorders can pass down the genes to their children.
Using these basic root causes of anxiety, a number of strategies have been created to help combat signs and symptoms:
- Know and understand what anxiety means and how it can affect your life.
- Learn to challenge negative thoughts when feeling anxious or worried.
- Learn to remember the realistic side of life, instead of resorting to worst case scenarios.
- Learn to increase the relax time and decrease the worrying time every day.
- Adapt to things that trigger anxiety rather than avoiding them all the time.
Since anxiety and worrying lead to the outcome, result, and finale of situations, challenging the idea of anxiety may lead to realization. If you are predicting the future, such as losing your job or losing your romantic partner, note down exactly what you think will happen and the percentage of it happening.
Next, think about the best, worst, and most likely results of both scenarios. Predict the worst effects when you lose your romantic partner, but consider the best reasons for it as well. After forecasting the best, worst, and most likely, fill the doubts and reasons with evidence to clarify them and justice the percentage.
Focusing on you, ask yourself on how many times your predictions failed to meet reality. If the habitual predictions only give you a headache, consider changing it for your benefit. Finally, weigh the pros and cons of worrying about things. Evaluate if worrying can make your life better or if it only makes your exhausted. Do not forget that you have been able to overcome many circumstances in life that triggered your anxiety. Remember that you managed to control your anxiety before and you can do it again.
[메디컬리포트=Ralph Chen 기자]