Anxiety, in minimum doses, is nothing to be disturbed about and is actually part of what makes you human. There will always be times when you are going to be more nervous or more worried than others. Normal anxiety fluctuates and diminishes over time, depending on the stresses you are facing. However, if anxiety is a constant presence in the mind, it can be debilitating and unhealthy.
People who have anxiety as a psychological disorder will find that they are worrying about things more than the average person, even when these concerns are often negligible or not serious. However, for the anxiety-riddled mind, molehills can become mountains, and thoughts of worry become obsessive and the focus of their existence.
The following is a debunking of the mysteries of anxiety and tells how anxiety manifests in the mind:
- Anxiety puts you on alert
Anxiety can be a debilitating disease that can take hold of a person’s life. It is manifested as a sense of fear and apprehension that puts the victim always on alert. Someone who is constantly anxious has a heightened sense of awareness that constantly prepares them for potential threats. Healthy anxiety is normal, but excessive anxiety can lead a person to trouble
The body has a flight or fight response in the moment of conflict, and with clinical anxiety, the flight and fight response never go off. It is there even if there is no cause to be alert or reason to be distressed and hypervigilant.
Anxiety may seem like stress, but it is not so. Anxiety, however, can come from stress, but stress manifests in other ways. For example, stressed people can become sad, angry, or irritable. With anxiety, people are consistently in a state of fear, dread, and apprehension. Anxiety may even just manifest all of a sudden, with no apparent trigger or cause, while stress is always caused by external influences. Anxiety is an internal response and may even have features of paranoia; that is why it makes it so difficult to treat and manage.
- Neurological theory of anxiety
Anxiety starts as tension in the stomach and then gets full-blown with a heightened sense of awareness and the onset of dread. Before the body response, however, the brain is already wired towards an anxious state. Parts of the human brain are responsible for why anxiety arises, and there are also significant neurotransmitters and chemical processes why a person will get suddenly seized by anxiety.
The amygdala is a structure, shaped like an almond, you can find inside the human brain. It is a communication hub between parts of the human brain that deal with arriving sensory signals and its interpretation. It is the part that alerts the body that a threat is present, and there is imminent danger. It triggers anxiety or fear response. The amygdala also plays a role in emotional memories, which play a role in specific fears such as fear of clowns, rats, or heights.
This part of the brain is responsible for memories and remembers threatening events as memories. The hippocampus tends to be smaller in children who have suffered from abuse and those who served in military combat. The reduction in the size of the hippocampus plays a role in flashbacks, deficits in explicit memory, and fragmented memories of the traumatic event that are common in PTSD.
- Norepinephrine and cortisol
When you have a flight or fight response, your body gets flooded with norepinephrine and cortisol. Both chemicals give a boost in perception, reflexes, and speed in dangerous situations. They increase the heart rate, get more blood to your muscles, get more air into your lungs, and in general, get you ready to deal with whatever threat is present. Your body is geared towards survival. When the threat has gone away, the flight or fight response should go away, and your body should go back to normal.
- Other psychological explanations of anxiety
Aside from the neurological roots of anxiety, there are also varied ways to explain this condition including the psychoanalytic, and cognitive theory.
- Psychoanalytic theory
Anxiety is seen as a conflict between the three parts of the personality which is the id, ego, and superego. Anxiety serves as a warning signal to an individual’s ego or superego, and the individual is seen as about to do something that is an unacceptable behavior coming from the id. Because of this threat, the ego and superego react by controlling id impulses through irrational means such as inducing fear and hypervigilance.
Anxiety serves as a warning that you are about to do something you may not want to such a public speaking.
- Cognitive theory
The cognitive theory suggests that anxiety comes to form cognitive distortions. People are seen as irrational and decide that everything is a threat, even if the threat in question is really quite harmless and innocent.
- Your body and brain become wired to become anxious through environmental conditioning
Anxiety can become a never-ending cycle when you have come to develop your thinking in a negative way. If you have been brought up in an environment conducive to anxiety, this can cause an undesirable emotion as fear frustration or doubt.
Anxiety becomes an issue when it doesn’t seem to go away, and you live with it constantly. Anxiety becomes the norm for some people to the point that they don’t see it as an issue
Many people have lived in an anxious state for so long they don’t know what normal means. If you find that you are pessimistic about the most innocent situations and your mind is always lingering on negative outcomes you may be suffering from anxiety
Getting rid of anxiety may involve medical and professional help. It also requires some effort from the person suffering from anxiety to rewire and rewrite the way they think. Constant exposure to anxiety-provoking events in the environment can wire the body and brain to always think in negative terms. A person suffering from anxiety should think of ways to relearn and confront anxieties in measured steps to completely gain some normalcy and happiness in their lives.
Anxiety is serious, but it need not be something that will cast a shadow in a person’s life forever. Anxiety can be cured, but it has to be identified first. There are many ways to cure anxiety, and all it takes is to choose the right and proper methods. There are medications against anxieties as well as psychological therapies. Therapy targets ways of thinking and modifies behavior.
A combination of both can be effective, but, in any treatment, it is good to seek a medical professional’s advice first to make sure treatments will be effective and have no side effects.