Anxiety – Why Is It A Mystery, When So Many People Are Affected by Anxiety?

Taking a look Anxiety, I found it difficult to understand why anxiety is still a mystery. It affects around 40 million adults in the US; that is almost 20% of the population. That is a staggering figure. There are reports anxiety has no identifiable roots to its cause. It has also been estimated to cost the economy over 42 million per year. To try understanding this phenomenon, one needs to look at the definition of anxiety. Below is a definition from the American Psychology Association (APA)

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension; worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurred intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry. They may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness or a rapid heartbeat.

Part of the definition by the Mayo Clinic Staff is; Anxiety happens as a normal part of life. It can be useful when it alerts someone to danger. This seems relatively different compared to the APA. This is starting to get more complicated, so let's examine the Merriam-Webster definition:

Definition of ANXIETY

1A: painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an pending or anticipated ill

1B: fearful concern or interest

1C: a cause of anxiety

2: an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubting the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it .

One thing that sticks out is not much of a consensus about anxiety, at least by definition or the cause. With continued investigation of anxiety, there are some general thoughts and treatments for it.

Most seem to be of the belief that anxiety is an extreme case of stress. Stress is essentially defined as coping with daily problems. There are reports that stress affects about 22 percent of the population in 2011, down from 32 percent in 2007. Thinking about these figures, the amount of the population affected by stress and anxiety is around 42 percent. Another hypothesis that seems to have a consensus is both stress and anxiety can lead to substantial health problems. Things like depression, high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks to name a few. Some say they can even lead to suicide.

The final point one finds in the study of anxiety is the consent of treatment. This is through pharmaceutical drugs. Then one finds fundamental differences of opinion has to which drug is best. There are so many drugs for treatment, so let look at a few.

The first is Celexa; its description is an antidepressant in a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. As with a lot of pharmaceuticals Celexa come with a boat load of disclaimers. The side effects are the same, for instance; call your doctor if one get new or worsening symptoms other are; Insomnia, upset stomach, decreased sex drive, with a warning that this is not a complete list. Do not forget the list of drugs with which it can have an adverse reaction.

The second is Prozac; its description is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressant. Prozac affects chemical in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression, panic, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Besides massive disclaimers, the side effects are most of the ones listed above. Things like, rigid muscles, uneven heartbeats, tremors, memory problems, seizures, breathing that stops and severe skin reaction just to name a few.

Finally, Paxil; its description is an antidepressant in a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Paxil affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced. The disclaimers and side effects are similar to the other, but unusual bone pain and ease of bruising stand out.

These standard treatments for anxiety seem to exacerbate the problems. A person not properly diagnosed or had a mild case of anxiety. After getting treated, they would end up with a greater case of anxiety with more complications. I believe this traditional way of treating anxiety is increasing the symptoms, instead of the cause.

One of the largest causes of body malfunction is oxidative stress, and it affects us all. We all have it and our levels increase with age. Simply put oxidative stress is damage to our bodies cells when free radicals (toxic waste) have been released into the cells due to the energy needed for physical activity. Oxidative stress is like an engine rusting from the inside out. Anxiety is a malfunction of one's body at the cellular level; otherwise we would all suffer from it.

To live a healthy life, everyone should do all they can, to reduce oxidative stress and share this information with their family and friends.