Psychologists located in Montreal’s west island have noticed an increase in patients suffering from anxiety. Since 2004, Google searches for “anxiety” have gone up 150%. And here’s the interesting part, society’s growing anxiety is not even linked to specific events.
Clinical anxiety, also referred to as “generalized anxiety disorder,” refers to a condition in which an individual is preoccupied with worry for 6 months or longer. A person with clinical anxiety experiences muscle tension, his or her mind tends to go blank, and he or she may often feel on edge.
There are also other measures of anxiety. Suicide may be triggered by depression but one must also remember that there are two sides to depression, the other side being anxiety.
In the United States, there has been a 24% increase in suicide rates between 1999 and 2014. The availability of antidepressants has not really done much to help keep people from committing suicide. That’s because a lot of these victims have also been affected by clinical anxiety. Their never-ending fears may have pushed them to end it all.
Data shows that white females between the age of 45 and 64 have an 80% increase in suicide rates compared to data from 1999. Teenage females have also 3x as many suicides since 1999.
The numbers are no doubt alarming. It shows us the reality that anxiety in our population is growing at a very fast rate. So now the question is, why are people become so anxious today?
There’s no clear-cut answer to this question but we may be able to point out a few possible causes.
Social Media May Be Partly to Blame
To start with, we should look at the impact of social media in our lives. Events become massively magnified as they pass through the social media echo chamber, and every click magnifies them even further.
Don’t get me wrong. We have benefited so much from social media – it allows us to communicate easily and quickly with other people. But what if what we’re communicating is fear? We often come across videos and articles about bombings and mass shootings in social media, and people respond by canceling trips, not allowing their kids to walk to school, and instilling fear in others.
It has created a climate of fear and apprehension across countries and continents, that is actually rather removed from the actual risk of a traumatic event happening to you or the people you care about.
Seeking Help for Your Anxiety
Fortunately, there are treatments available for those suffering from clinical anxiety. The most prevalent treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a kind of talking therapy that will help the patient understand himself better and why they respond or behave in a certain way.
Mindfulness/awareness is also another form of treatment for people suffering from anxiety. It helps you come to terms with your fears, emotions and feelings and helps you live for the moment.
Some doctors may also prescribe medication, which may or may not include antidepressants.
The bottom line is, if you suspect that you are suffering from chronic anxiety, you need to seek help. You should not allow yourself to suffer alone. Anxiety is a highly treatable condition so if you experience it, you need to seek help so it can be fixed. Don’t let it take away your zest for life. There are medical professionals who are trained and experienced in helping people with anxiety recover and regain their life.