Anxiety: The New Plague of the Millennium
By: Beth McHugh 2006
Stress and anxiety have overtaken the contagious diseases that once plagued our grandparents and are regarded as the new epidemics of the 21st century. Having developed vaccinations for any number of communicable and deadly diseases, we are now left with the unease of the mind.
Our fast-paced lives and changing family structures can contribute to a sense of helplessness and instability. Stressed-out people are now far more common than laid-back folk, and this is reflected in the increasing incidence of domestic violence, road rage, stress-related illness, and full-blown mental breakdowns, together with the rapidly escalating use of tranquillizers and antidepressants.
Even celebrities with their seemingly perfect lives often fall victim to the pressures involved in being “perfect.” Oprah has confessed to experiencing panic attacks, as has Nicole Kidman, Kim Basinger, Carly Simon, Nicholas Cage, Alanis Morrissette: the list goes on.
Anxiety takes many forms and is the most common of all mental illnesses, and is far more prevalent than depression which, on the surface, appears to get more media attention. Anxiety can be caused by a variety of reasons as well, including your genetic make-up, your lifestyle habits (including non-prescription drug use), traumas, and chronic life problems.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia, Specific Phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are all forms of anxiety disorders which have developed in an individual as a result of several interacting factors. Whichever one you may develop depends on a number of factors as outlined above.
Everyone suffers from anxiety, yet it does not necessary follow that an anxiety disorder will result. Anxiety becomes a problem when the intensity or continuity of the feelings begins to interfere with the enjoyment of daily life.
All of these disorders have been discussed in depth in other blogs on this site. The important fact about anxiety disorders of any type is understanding the reasons why the disorder has appeared and learning a better way to cope with the stress of the condition as well as how to better handle stressful situations in the future.
Counseling and journaling are both useful tools in getting a handle on your anxiety. Monitoring mood states in conjunction with a therapist skilled in dealing with anxiety disorders can make an enormous different to the quality of life for anxiety sufferers.