The Science Behind: Anxiety

Today, I had anxiety about writing this article. Then, I had anxiety about choosing a topic. Now, I have anxiety about finishing this article before I have to finish my health class homework, preparing for my math quiz, finishing up my biology experiment, making sure that my fellow writers turn in their articles, and the cherry on top- I'm making DINNER tonight!


Anxiety refers to intense, and excessive worry/fear about everyday situations.

Being an anxious person is EXHAUSTING, but why do our brains get so worked up anyway? I mean, it's not like the world will end if I'm two minutes late to a party, right?


Occasional anxiety is not something to worry about, in fact, it's pretty natural to be anxious before a big speech, or performance. However, if it gets overwhelming and dominating in yourself, it's incredibly important to consult a professional.


Anxiety usually has a trigger like stress, or traumatic events, however, it can be passed down through genetics.


Where did Anxiety Originate?

As humans evolved, we developed an instinct. This instinct immediately responds when our brains sense danger. It is called the "fight, flight or freeze" response. For example, in the olden days, we might've run from a bee or fought a fellow hunter, but with a lion, when we could neither run nor fight, we might have chosen to play dead or freeze.


However, in the modern world, we aren't very likely to face actual life-threatening situations often, but our brain doesn't know that. We react to everyday conditions the same way we would to a bear attack. This is why anxiety can cause confusion and make it hard for one to dig out the cause of their anxiety.


How do I know I have anxiety?

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Feeling nervous, restless, or tense

  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom

  • Having an increased heart rate

  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)

  • Sweating

  • Trembling

  • Feeling weak or tired

  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry

  • Having trouble sleeping

  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems

  • Having difficulty controlling worry

  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

Anxiety is not the same for everybody, and your symptoms don't have to limited to this list. If you associate with the majority of these symptoms or recognize that you have anxiety- Try to calm your anxiety yourself or reach out for help.


Anxiety and Your Brain


Our brain's frontal lobe controls our sensations and thoughts and is called the cognitive brain. The amygdala is part of the emotional brain. According to one theory, we get anxious because our emotional brain overrides our cognitive brain.


If you're in the woods, and you see a snake, instead of your emotional brain panicking and screaming, your cognitive brain would overtake and make a logical decision.


Anxiety is not an uncommon disorder, but its something that scientists are still figuring out. After all, our brains are not easy to unravel.


Cures


As I mentioned everyone's anxiety is different, and not everyone can be cured by one remedy. Some patients react better to antidepressants. Others benefit from therapy, including behavioral therapy where patients are slowly introduced to their triggers until they don't cause fear anymore.


Other than that neuroscientists, and psychiatrists are hard at work trying to find ways to match cures to patients.


Almost Done

Anxiety disorders are not a joke, and they are to be taken seriously. Anxiety is not something that will "go away" unless its worked on, and paid attention to.


If you or someone you know suffers from undiagnosed anxiety, there are many resources available:


https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/education-awareness/shareable-resources-on-anxiety-disorders.shtml


https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad/resources


https://www.everydayhealth.com/anxiety/guide/resources/


The links listed above are just a few. However, I'm sure a friend, parents, guardian, teacher, counselor would be more than glad to assist you to get the help you need.


Until next time...


Stay Curious ;)


Love, Sarah









Sources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_jkNmj5S0s

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684250/

https://www.brainfacts.org/diseases-and-disorders/mental-health/2018/what-part-of-the-brain-deals-with-anxiety-what-can-brains-affected-by-anxiety-tell-us-062918

https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/emotional-health/the-science-of-anxiety

https://www.anxiety.org/what-is-anxiety

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961#:~:text=A%20big%20event%20or%20a,Other%20mental%20health%20disorders.

https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/blog/why-am-i-anxious-for-no-reason-recognizing-and-treating-an-anxiety-disorder/#:~:text=Anxiety%20can%20be%20caused%20by,anxiety%20or%20even%20panic%20attacks.




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