top of page

What is Anxiety? Identify it, calm it and restore from it.

Anxiety is a common and normal human emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. Nowadays, people use that word very common, but for us to really worry about it or start looking at ways to improve it we have to look at it in a different angle. For example., for some people, anxiety can become overwhelming and interfere with daily life. In this blog post, we'll explore anxiety in-depth, including its symptoms, potential causes, and effective coping strategies for managing anxiety.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural response to stress or perceived threats, often characterized by feelings of worry, fear, or nervousness. While occasional anxiety can be helpful (but not for those that are incapacitated by it) in certain situations, such as preparing for a challenging task or staying alert in dangerous situations, chronic or excessive anxiety can be debilitating and disruptive to one's well-being. I look at it like a stress on the nervous system, the problem happens when that nervous system is overly stressed and triggered that the person is just unable to function at all.

What's happening in the brain?

Anxiety involves complex interactions within the brain, affecting various regions and neurotransmitter systems. Some key processes in the brain associated with anxiety include:

1. Amygdala activation: The amygdala, a part deep within the brain, plays a crucial role in processing emotions, particularly fear and threat detection. In individuals with anxiety, the amygdala may become hyperactive or oversensitive, leading to exaggerated fear responses and heightened emotional arousal. And this is really where the problem exists, when it’s an exaggerated response to some thing that we shouldn’t have responded that way really.

2. Prefrontal cortex dysfunction: The prefrontal cortex, responsible for decision-making, problem-solving, and emotion regulation, plays a critical role in modulating the fear response generated by the amygdala. In individuals with anxiety, dysfunction in the prefrontal cortex may impair its ability to regulate emotional responses effectively, leading to difficulty in controlling anxious thoughts and behaviors. This is the part of the brain that when there’s a problem with it, people almost freeze, and they can make decisions as simple as whether to take a bath or not.

3. Imbalance in neurotransmitters: Neurotransmitters, chemical messengers in the brain, play a vital role in regulating mood, cognition, and behavior. Imbalances in neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) have been implicated in the development of anxiety disorders. For example, low levels of serotonin are associated with increased anxiety, while disruptions in the balance between excitatory (e.g., glutamate) and inhibitory (e.g., GABA) neurotransmitters can contribute to heightened arousal and overactive brain activity.

4. Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation: The HPA axis is a complex neuroendocrine system involved in the body's stress response. In response to perceived threats or stressors, the HPA axis triggers the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, which mobilizes the body's resources to cope with the perceived threat. Chronic activation of the HPA axis in individuals with anxiety can lead to dysregulation of stress hormone levels, contributing to heightened anxiety and physiological arousal. When I’m suspecting hormone issues, I always test these with my patients and you be surprised how many people have never had their cortisol levels checked much less any other stress hormone related in the body so if you’re experiencing anxiety or panic attacks or anxiety attack attacks, make sure that your doctor is monitoring your hormone levels.

Symptoms of Anxiety:

The symptoms of anxiety can vary widely from person to person and may manifest both physically and psychologically. Some common symptoms of anxiety include:

1. Physical Symptoms:

- Rapid heartbeat or palpitations

- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

- Muscle tension or stiffness

- Fatigue or weakness

- Sweating or trembling

- Gastrointestinal disturbances (e.g., stomachaches, nausea)

2. Psychological Symptoms:

- Excessive worry or rumination

- Irritability or restlessness

- Difficulty concentrating or focusing

- Sleep disturbances (e.g., difficulty falling or staying asleep)

- Feelings of impending doom or dread

- Avoidance of anxiety-provoking situations

Causes of Anxiety:

Anxiety can arise from various factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental stressors, and life experiences. Some common causes and risk factors for anxiety include:

1. Genetic factors: Individuals with a family history of anxiety disorders may be more likely to develop anxiety themselves, suggesting a genetic component to the condition. get asked if anxiety is something that is passed on through genes. I see it more as a learned behavior from those around us so if your constant being told to be careful for that dog, most likely, you will develop a fear of dogs.

2. Brain chemistry: Imbalances in neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) may contribute to the development of anxiety disorders.

3. Environmental stressors: Traumatic life events, chronic stress, significant life changes, or exposure to adverse childhood experiences can increase the risk of developing anxiety. am I personal experience and impact? I see this more common and a lot of my patients who have had history of traumatic events so for me this is probably one of the biggest factors that contribute to having anxiety checking your ACE scores might be something worthwhile.

4. Personality traits: Certain personality traits, such as perfectionism, high levels of neuroticism, or a tendency to catastrophize, may predispose individuals to anxiety.

Coping Strategies for Managing Anxiety:

While anxiety can be challenging to cope with, several effective strategies can help individuals manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Some helpful coping strategies for managing anxiety include:

1. Practice relaxation techniques: Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, or mindfulness to calm your mind and body and reduce feelings of anxiety.

2. Challenge negative thoughts: Practice cognitive-behavioral techniques to identify and challenge irrational or distorted thoughts contributing to your anxiety. Replace negative thoughts with more balanced and realistic ones. This is an exercise that I have my patience due and learn as a daily habit and it’s pointing out those thoughts, and then as you list them, you start to notice a pattern of where all those thoughts come from. Once you write them down, you’ll be able to see a common theme with all of them.

3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Prioritize self-care activities such as regular exercise, adequate sleep, nutritious diet, and avoiding excessive caffeine or alcohol, which can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. especially caffeine. It is a very strong stimulating substance that many overuse and that’s when the problem really comes in.

4. Seek support: Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or mental health professionals for support and guidance. Talking to someone you trust about your feelings can help alleviate feelings of isolation and provide perspective on your anxiety.

5. Seek professional help: If anxiety significantly interferes with your daily functioning or quality of life, consider seeking help from a qualified mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor. They can provide evidence-based treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), medication, or other therapeutic interventions tailored to your specific needs.

Anxiety is a common and normal human emotion that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. However, when anxiety becomes chronic or excessive, it can have a significant impact on one's well-being and quality of life. By understanding the symptoms, causes, and effective coping strategies for managing anxiety, individuals can take proactive steps towards reducing their anxiety levels and improving their overall mental health. Remember that you are not alone, and help is available to support you on your journey towards managing anxiety and living a fulfilling life.


Obtuvo 0 de 5 estrellas.
Aún no hay calificaciones

Agrega una calificación
bottom of page