Friday, 3 December 2010

Theory of anxiety disorders

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Have you noticed the incidence of anxiety disorders seems to have increased? Is it that more people are anxious? Or are more people getting help with their anxiety?

A friend of mine has had trouble with anxiety for a little over a year. It comes and goes a bit but she takes medication and struggles with that. It seems she would like to be drug-free, but when she tries to reduce the dose, the anxiety creeps back in.

I reckon anti-anxiety meds are just like meds for any other physical ailment. If you need them to titrate your body back to 'normal', you need them. Mental health conditions just seem to have a stigma attached (even to the sufferer) and when you say you are taking anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, anti-whatever-the-condition-you-suffer, there is a perceived 'weakness'. It doesn't come from me, but it is there I think.

My friend's theory about why anxiety is on the increase is that with the rapid change that we have to deal with day-to-day now and over the past century, evolution is struggling to keep up. People whose hereditary lines have already hit overload, tend to cope better now. Thanks to their gene-pool their brains have adjusted their chemical balance.

In other cases, their ancestors haven't handed on the essential skills in coping and as such, they lack the appropriate amounts of serotonin and other happy hormones. These people are showing the cracks in today's crazy world.

I like her thinking (I am calling it the Nachbaren Theory of Anxiety). I'd like to explore it more because it seems like it could explain the increased prevalence of anxiety disorders better than the "Keeping up with the Jones'' theory you often hear bandied about the place. Whether you agree with the Nachbaren Theory or not, it is an interesting way at looking at things don't you think?

15 comments:

Joni Llanora said...

Interesting theory.

@jencull (jen) said...

I quite like thinking about evolution so the Nachbaren Theory is something I can see myself mulling over:) I have a similar theory about autism and all the children being diagnosed and, well, theory is probably the wrong word, how about 'brain filler in quiet times' and that this is how the brain is evolving and in a few thousand years everyone will be autistic. *coughs* I don't share that very often though :D Jen

life in a pink fibro said...

It's a good theory. There's definitely something going on and it's not all about status anxiety. More about sensory overload.

cityhippyfarmgirl said...

That is an interesting theory...will ponder on that one.

Glowless said...

Sounds good to me.

Gill@OurParklife said...

it makes sense to me....

i have read that we are advancing in technology faster than our emotional development can keep up, which apparently means coping with life requires different skills than it one did....

maybe?!
Gill xo

Suzie G said...

Wow, that's deep for this overcast (well, where i am anyway!) Friday!! Makes sense, perhaps your friend should put her theory forward to geneticists (hmm did I spell that correctly?). Makes you think :)

JANE said...

Such an interesting post, MM. Good for you for posing the question.

I'm not sure about the medical aspect. I know for sure that medication works for me.

But as one who has severe PND and has experienced depression twice before, your point about the lack of coping skills resonates with me. Developing such skills is taking a lot of work but I know it will be worth the effort. J x

Fiona said...

I have anxiety and am seeing a psych, but am thinking I will need to trial meds so that I have the head space to actually put my psych strategies into place :\

I have issues with this, as does my partner, which just makes me feel worse!

Jess said...

Hmmm ponder ponder ponder. I think that technology has developed so much in the past 10 years and we as humans are adapting to this massive change in communication... it cant be easy on our psyche - especially when people are becoming more 'connected' to life online and perhaps 'disconnected' from the real world...? maybe? That all sounds really bleak!

These are big thoughts for my very pregnant brain...It actually hurts.

Rachel said...

ye ponder ponder ponder.... my son suffer anxiety and it displays itself in an aggressive out form... and its when he is scared worried fearful anything along those lines.... and your friends theory is very spot on and I totally agree with it... as for the sigma in mental illness its about time society started to understand and grow up in this area...nine out of ten have some form of mental illness weather its been detected or not.

Madame Marielle said...

Hmmm, I would bet there's definitely some truth to this on a larger scale.

However it doesn't really answer why some suffer from anxiety and others don't. When you suffer severe anxiety and you see others going about their daily lives anxiety-free, you wonder this. Of course there are personal circumstances, events, family history etc which probably explain this....I guess what I'm saying is, the reason for an anxiety disorder sometimes needs to be more personalised than "Yes we are all anxious these days."

bigwords is... said...

Interesting topic to tackle.Have something to ponder now x

brismod said...

There is such a stigma about mental health but I think that is changing thanks to organisation like Beyond Blue. I also agree with you about medication - no one would ever be critical of a diabetic on insulin so why be critical of someone managing their mental health. Interesting theory too.

Tenille said...

The last few sessions with my therapist have been all about how the brain works, and how it was originally designed to help us survive in a world very different to the one we live in now. I think the whole idea of going over this is to make me feel better about feeling crap, but it is interesting stuff too.

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