Anxiety in America

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They say that anxiety is one of the most common disorders in the US.  I think almost everyone has some sort of it from mild to severe.  What has caused the rise in this disorder?  Is it in the foods we eat, immunizations, or do we just have more to be anxious about now?  Is this something we have all basically had for years and years and are just becoming more aware of it?  I know I don’t remember ever really being anxious as a child and it really did not hit me until I had my children.  I know my anxiety is not really related to my children, but more my abuse and though I was abused most of my childhood, I think it became normal, but when I became an adult and was abused by other people outside of my family, it became a problem.

There are variations in types of anxiety, some have GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), social anxiety, panic, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), then there are phobias that cause anxiety.  They say that people with GAD, which is one of the worse ones (I think behind PTSD), never feel relaxed, they are always anxious and it is like a daily struggle for them to function, 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.  This can go on for months at a time.  Social anxiety people don’t like to speak in public, they have a fear of criticism, fear of being laughed at, judged, social types of situations that might draw attention to them.  I think everyone knows what PTSD is, but if you don’t, it stems from war, abuse, rape, etc), anything that is pretty traumatic that you cannot get out of your head.  Last but not least, OCD, which I am thinking a lot of us have, just won’t admit it.

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I hate being in crowds and closed places, I love lots of windows and light, I get anxious around people who send out red flags to me (I always listen to my gut), as if I have a fear of them being abusive to me, hard for me to trust.  I also am a bit OCD, I don’t like changes in my schedule, do not like surprises, picky about how I want things done, i.e. dishes (no one washes them correctly and they are still dirty when they finish), laundry, cleaning, etc., I stay very routine to keep from things getting out of hand.  I remember the first time I had what I would consider a panic attack.  It was at the mall, around Christmas, lots of people, and for some odd reason I started getting cold sweats, felt nauseated, and felt as if I were going to pass out, palpitations, and  I just wanted to get out of there.  Luckily I do not go to the mall often, but if I have to now I am sure to park near where I need to go as to run in the door to the place and back out.  I have become a hermit over the past few years, I really hate going anywhere, there will either be traffic or too many people, I hate feeling like I can’t move.

They say that around 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.  They say it is more common in high income countries, higher income people having the most at 5% of people with it, going down to 1.6% of lower income people.  Does that mean money does not buy happiness?

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Is anxiety getting more and more, as opposed to say 50 years ago or is it just becoming more known when someone has it?  They say Millennials are the most anxious generation.  Everyone apparently experiences it different and at different degrees.  Living alone causes some people to feel it and society has become more alone than we realize, compared to the 60s where 7% lived alone, to now where over 1/3 live alone, but at the same time, some people who have anxiety chose to live alone.  They also say that depression and anxiety can have similar symptoms though they are very different, and depression can actually lead to anxiety.  The onset of Alzheimer’s has anxiety symptoms.  The whole thing is very very confusing, it seems there is really no real single point that aims at it or causes it.

Do chemicals in our foods, the air, water, etc cause it?  We do eat a lot of processed foods and even the natural, or what is supposed to be natural, foods have some sort of man made thing in them, our cows are injected with steroids and antibiotics, same with chickens, the food they eat is mostly processed, they say you are what you eat.  Even our fruits and vegetables have some type of chemical blown on them or in the water that we eat when we eat them.  Do our immunizations cause this?  We have plastics that we heat up with our foods, are they safe?  We live in a chemical world now and chemicals do cause changes in our brains and bodies.

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Does the fact that your a man or woman matter?  They say that females suffer more than men across the board with the exception of OCD being pretty equal, but why is that?  Are women really more stressed or are we more vocal about being stressed?  Though I have it, I don’t go around really talking about it.  I do not get treatment, I self treat, luckily not with alcohol or drugs, but with maintaining a routine and keeping myself out of situations that make me anxious.  I would have thought myself that men would be more anxious than women because they have always been expected to carry the weight.  They, at least my whole life, have been the bread winners.  They keep the house standing with repairing things and working on cars to keep the house functioning.  Is it because more women are standing in that role now that makes women more anxious according to statistics?  More women are working and single parenting, etc.

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What about society itself and social media, there is a lot of it.  It makes it very hard to keep up with the Jones when you see it all over Facebook and Instagram.  Is the grass really greener on the other side?  Are we jealous or envious of what everyone else has or does?  Can that cause us to be anxious?  I was listening to the radio last night, can’t remember which show it was but was one of the Mojo shows, and they were talking about how the amount of likes someone can get on a picture can cause a meltdown.  People strive to be on top and someone that everyone wants or likes.  They say that “testing has found that using too much internet can cause depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), impulsive disorder, problems with mental functioning, paranoia, and loneliness.”  Are we raising up a whole new generation of highly anxious people?

As you can see there is really no one cause to why we have so much anxiety and there are so many different types.  How do we treat it?  What can we do to prevent it?  Do you get treatment or do you just try to work through it?  They say that only about 36.9% get treatment, is that because of money, can’t afford the treatment or do not want to take a pill if offered?  Are there homeopathic ways to deal with it?  Does yoga help?  Psychiatry?  Which way do you go?  I think that each of us have to find a way to deal with this in the way that it makes us feel better.  What works for me may not work for you.  Am I punishing myself by not going to the mall?  I do not feel like it.  I think there are a lot of ways out there that can help.  Exercise, groups, change diet, various things like that.  I myself hate popping pills, I prefer to try homeopathic ways before doing that, sometimes it works, sometimes not.  I think we are a long ways from finding the answers to our questions on this subject.  They need to legalize marijuana and let people use that also without the worry of passing a drug test.  It has been proven to help in a lot of medical ways.  Lets all smoke a joint together and quiet letting society fuck up our minds and thoughts.

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