WHAT CAUSES ANXIETY? A breakdown in 6 areas.
What causes my anxiety?
HOW BADLY do you want this question answered?
I'm guessing very.
Who can blame you? When your body and mind are hijacked by your own body and mind, it really does feel like it’s a crazy land we're living in.
What the heck happened to me and why can't I control my own self?
The bad news is that it's not just 'one' thing that happens with you that causes your anxiety. But the good news is that unlike what doctors say about the cause of anxiety being "unknown", I’ve found the cause-"s" of anxiety are very much known and out there.
So here goes:
It's not one thing like faulty brain chemistry or a chemical imbalance.
Anxiety is caused by a break-down in one or more of these areas:
If you have a penchant for diagrams, this is what it looks like:
The six areas do not flow in a linear fashion. They are not a straight line. It is not like one leads to the second, which leads to the third and so on.
Instead, they're interconnected and interdependent. Each influences and is in turn influenced by the other five. No area operates in isolation. They are all working together to make up the overall experience of anxiety.
Take the first example:
Your doctor may fault your thinking style. "You think negatively, that's why you have anxiety. Think positively."
But you know that something is amiss in that statement.
It's not just the thoughts, but also the horrifying dread you 'feel' which is hard to comprehend and explain.
"If the thought is irrational, why do I feel so scared? And if it's all in my head, why can't I control it?"
You're not crazy. That dread is because your amygdala (biology) falsely fired up, instantly causing painful symptoms to explode in your body. This is a real thing, not imaginary hokey-pokey that you made up. If your doctor doesn't explain the amygdala, you will be left further terrified by the loss of conscious control over your own biology.
By the way, why does the amygdala fire up? The amygdala itself responds to many things, including current thoughts, but also past memory . In this moment , your thought is powered by the emotional memories of anxiety associated with it.
Of course your memories aren't pretty. They are formed because of what you did in the past at that moment when you faced your triggers. What you did then was in turn decided by your thinking, behavior and conditioning at that time.
What this means is that even though today , you rationally know this thought to be irrational, your amygdala doesn't, because its being fed anxious memories.
Of course, you are not stuck. You can break the anxiety loop, but to be able to do that, you need to know what this loop is and how it works.
Take another example
If your parent is anxious, as a child, you've been mirroring anxious behaviors. You literally have had no exposure to alternative styles that did not include catastrophe. Pretty soon, that becomes your own conditioning.
This means that your memories of yourself dealing with triggers, are filled with worry and fear. If this is true, your amygdala has generally been conditioned to be on high alert, even though there is nothing to rationally fear. Think about it. Do you frequently walk around feeling mild-to-moderate stress in your body? Heart rate higher? Breathing shallow? Sinking feeling?
Unless you understand how memory influences symptoms, you will be left confused over why you feel dread and doom when you have no present reason to. Soon, you will hunt for it. Which unfortunately once again means indulging in distorted thinking and behavior, because of your conditioning to worry, catastrophe and stress.
One really does feel literally stuck in a viscous loop.
You will notice that I have not mentioned anything about 'Chemical Imbalances' as the cause of anxiety.
I do not believe that a chemical imbalance in the brain causes anxiety.
It's a chicken and an egg thing; what came first?
Instead I believe, that if anything, anxiety causes changes in the brain, including possibly chemical imbalances.
Go back to the last sentence and see the word "possibly". Focus your attention on this word. What do we mean by "possibly" chemical imbalances?
It means "There seems no precise way to know."
There is no test to prove the chemical imbalances is a real thing. That's why it's a "theory".
Feel free to read this article. It consolidates the messages from leading psychiatrists in the field. Here are some quotes:
Read the rest of the article for the verdicts of 25 more psychiatrists. In just one article.
Now, take a look at this clinical study, which is a meta-analysis of 38 other clincal studies.
Dr Irving Kirsch (leading psychologist, researcher and professor at Harvard Medical School) and his colleagues undertook a meta-analysis of approved and published clinical studies that had involved more than 3,000 depressed patients. What did they find?
75 percent of the antidepressant effect was also produced by sugar pills. That's TOO HIGH a number to be anything less than shocking.
It translates to this: I can achieve 75% of what an antidepressant can just by believing that something is working to cure me. And I get to bypass the ghastly side effects.
Here is a quick, summarized look at each of the causes of anxiety and how they work together.
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