Why do we Suffer Anxiety?

It is an obvious reality: every time we suffer more anxiety. The anguish that we do not know how to handle and those fears that we often strive to hide are silently destroying our quality of life.

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Every time we suffer more anxiety: that’s what the studies tell us. For medical institutions, it is the most recurrent mental problem and the biggest challenge. For the pharmaceutical industries, a business and for the millions of people who suffer from it all over the world, that anguishing reality that completely limits their lives. Now, why is anxiety becoming little more than an epidemic?

Some people say that the world is now divided into two types of people: those who suffer anxiety and those who do not. To assume this idea is a mistake because the anxiety itself is part of the human being. In a way, we all know what he knows, what provokes and how ashen what reality can be when we visit this dark tenant.

Society could be divided therefore into three types of profiles: in those who have received the diagnosis of this psychological condition (in any of its forms and variants), in those who know how to deal with and manage anxiety and, finally, in those people that possibly, they will never receive a diagnosis because they will not go to their doctor or a specialized professional to ask for help.

The subject is incredibly complex. However, the good news (if we can see something positive) is that this reality is becoming normalized every time. For example, in the United States, a magazine called Anxy is very successful, which attempts to make visible not only the anxiety itself, but also a large part of the mental disorders.

These are small steps that help us to understand these situations much more. However, we have the most important, why its high appearance.

“I have come to the conviction that anxiety accompanies intellectual activity as its shadow, and that the more we know about the nature of anxiety, the more we will know about the intellect.”

-Howard Liddell-

Why do we suffer more and more anxiety?

Is it true then that every time we suffer more anxiety? Even more … is it true that we are facing an authentic “epidemic”? To begin with, the current definitions of the term “epidemic” have changed considerably since the last century.

This word does not refer only to an organic disease, a viral condition, etc. Epidemic is also any fact that has a negative impact on the quality of life of the person.

Clinical data tell us that, indeed, anxiety diagnoses have been increasing since the last decade. Studies like the one carried out in the University Medical Center of Göttingen (Germany) show us that, at least, in Europe, 33.7% of the population suffers from some type of anxiety disorder, such as a panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias and separation anxiety disorder, etc.

On the other hand, the prevalence rate is in many cases chronic. However, something that is being observed in recent years is that the older population deals better with this psychological condition. Now, the youngest population is the one who is experiencing the greatest number of diagnoses.

Let’s see what reasons can explain it.

When stress turns into anguish

Stress is that leitmotiv that accompanies much of our days. Some define it as an inherited mechanism that allows us to face and adapt to the challenges that appear in our contexts. Anyway, this set of mental and physiological reactions are activated in response to our work, studies, our relationships and environmental pressures.

If we handle it properly, everything flows and is channeled through a path that can move forward. If stress is constant and surpasses us, anxiety and anguish soon emerge. But … what exactly is the anguish? It is the worst of all emotions: it is fear. When this entity appears, the following internal dynamics appear:

The person experiences a constant fear without a name. He no longer knows what he is afraid of, his environment is full of threats that he can not control. That is now his worst enemy: an entity without form that does not always know why it arises.

A world marked by uncertainty

We live in what sociologists call the era of uncertainty. The economic crisis and its effects on our closest reality, the digital revolution and those constant changes at the political level or, socially and even personally, they immerse us in a strange sense of helplessness.

Books like Manual to live in the era of uncertainty by Antonio Garrigues Walker speak to us about it. We are immersed in a scenario in which it is difficult to find professional stability. A world where young people study without having future perspectives.

If we ask ourselves why we suffer more and more anxiety this is one of the causes. Our brain needs certainties and assurances, but our environment offers just the opposite.

I feel lonely, I’m wrong, but nobody sees me (a hyperconnected but isolated society)

If anxiety is an epidemic, loneliness is another epidemic of equal (or worse) characteristics. We know that our elderly suffer more and more isolation and that this is a challenge to be addressed by all social agents. Now, there is another population cohort that is suffering the weight of loneliness: our young people.

The data tells us that millennials show more and more anxiety indexes. Nor can we ignore that the number of suicides is rising even among adolescents.

Factors such as bullying, harmful social relationships, low self-esteem, emotional mismanagement and the pressure of social networks where reality is so distorted, a huge psychological bill passes.

This is another reason why we suffer more and more anxiety.

If we suffer more anxiety every time, what can we do?

What is the solution to this data? It should be noted that there is no single solution, there are many. The first is to be aware that we do not always have control over what surrounds us. Society is changing, pressures us, demands us and few things are safe.

Faced with something that can not be controlled, there is only one option: develop adequate coping skills and emotional management to have control over “ourselves”. Currently, therapies such as cognitive-behavioral can be of great help in this regard. However, we need greater strategies.

The drugs are not the solution either; they help, but neither treat nor solve. We need more resources, social support and adequate prevention systems. In schools, institutes, universities, work centers and health centers there should be resources and specialized personnel, so that psychological support is accessible and of high quality.

On the other hand, we also need to “acculturate” ourselves in emotional matters. Learn to handle fears, irrational thoughts, learn to respond better to everyday difficulties.

Be that as it may, all this remains an immense challenge today. Therefore, it is best to always have one aspect clear: ask for help. Let’s not let fear and anguish take us to the limit.