So Much Anxiety!
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), an estimated 19.1% of adults (age 18 and up) in the United States struggle with an anxiety disorder of some sort (1). Among adolescents (age 13-18), this percentage was estimated to be as high as 31.9% of the population (1). Both of these estimates are based on studies from 2003! Do you think those numbers have gone up or down since then?
I would guess that the number of people dealing with anxiety has only gone up since then. Especially when you consider the state of the world today: many are worrying about dying from a novel virus, going through another recession/depression, losing their jobs, and/or losing their loved ones because of all of the above.
For many of us, the pressure keeps building!
Based on the current US population (As of August 15th 2020: an estimated 328.8 million) and the conservative 19% of adults offered by NIMH, we are talking about approximately 62-million people dealing with daily anxiety, stress, dread, overwhelm, and worry. Of course, this data is based on reported cases, and based on my experience and observation, I would suggest that this number is actually much higher!
What is Anxiety?
Generally speaking, anxiety is our response to stress or threats.
Some anxiety can even be good! Anxiety can help motivate us towards things we want to do, prepare us for things we care about, and protect us from serious dangers!
On the other hand, if our anxiety becomes disordered, it can interfere with our daily activities like our job performance, school work, or our relationships.
There are several types of anxiety disorders:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Six or more months of persistent tension/worry (sometimes focused around money, family, or work, and sometimes unfocused)
- Social Anxiety Disorder: Fear of being judged by others or being embarrassed in social situations
- Panic Disorder: Recurring, often unexpected, panic attacks
- Agoraphobia: Fear of having a panic attack in public, plus avoidant behavior
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): recurring anxiety-producing thoughts, whereby behaviors are taken on to help control the anxiety
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Anxiety following a traumatic event
- Postpartum Anxiety: Any of the above arising after giving birth
- Phobia: Irrational or excessive fear of an object, situation, or activity
- Separation Anxiety: Fear of being away from home/loved ones
- Illness Anxiety Disorder (aka: Hypochondria): Anxiety about your health
It doesn’t have to have caused major interferences in your life to actually be a disorder… In fact, many of us likely have high-functioning anxiety, and this just means the anxiety hasn’t started to affect major areas of our lives yet.
But if we are spending a considerable amount of our time stressing, worrying, or feeling dread, we are probably dealing with anxiety.
Anxiety Attracts Anxiety
Anxiety has high comorbidity – most individuals who experience significant anxiety experience multiple different types of anxiety.
Why Do I Care?
I care because I am a survivor of disordered anxiety. I say survivor because I nearly gave up on life more than once, after years of hopelessness – seeing mental and medical health professionals of all sorts over the course of the 25 years that I struggled with anxiety. Over those years, I saw countless licensed counselors, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists – all of which inaccurately diagnosed and treated me!
Many of these professionals diagnosed me as having depression, and all they could offer was “talk therapy” and pills. I would get some relief by having someone to talk to, but ultimately, my anxiety just kept getting worse over time.
I literally didn’t get the right help until I figured it out for myself.
At this point, I have been free of anxiety (and medication!) for over 2 years, and I’ve spent the last 8 years learning everything I can about anxiety and how to treat it naturally. I’ve gone on to become a Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Practitioner and Emotional Wellness Coach, specializing in helping others overcome anxiety.
I know that if it was that hard for me (a middle-class, white female) to find the help I needed, there must be so many others who have suffered as much, if not more. Today, I feel an incredible amount of compassion and passion for helping others overcome anxiety! I want to see a world full of individuals who feel empowered to follow their dreams and live their best lives.
What Can We Do?
I may come back around to writing a full article on this subject, but for now, I’d like to offer this video wherein we explore:
- More about the first 7 types of anxiety disorders listed above
- The core challenges that people with anxiety face
- How anxiety works in the body and mind
- How you aren’t broken or wrong for experiencing it
- Why now is an especially good time to get a handle on your anxiety, and
- Several ways to treat anxiety naturally
Video from Facebook Live, posted to YouTube:
Please let me know what you thought of the video!
Would you like to see me write the rest of this article? If so, what would you like to know more about?
I look forward to hearing from you!