explanations of the cause and cure of problems involving such things
as: extreme nervousness, anxiety and panic; obsessive thinking and
compulsive behavior; phobias and depression have failed millions of
people looking to understand and overcome these problems. Beliefs
about illness / medical / genetic causes and treatments based upon
these beliefs have not even come close to an answer.
Yet, when we look
closely at these problems we can see that they are not:-
- They follow a logical psychological progression based on our life
experiences and we can map exactly what happened and why, the effect
it had on us and how this fits in with our problem
- most people with these problems are actually above average
intelligence and are fully aware of what is happening, yet feel
powerless to stop it.
Synapses, those connections between the neurons in our brain (around
10,000 for each neuron), are tiny spaces that are occupied by
chemical messengers called neurotransmitters that carry information
between neurons. Serotonin and Dopamine are two
neurotransmitters regularly mentioned with regard to anxiety and
depression problems and chemical imbalance, usually referring to
deficiencies of these neurotransmitters, is often proffered as a
reason for anxiety disorders and depression.
Well, anxiety and depression deplete our body of many resources,
including: energy, vitamins and no doubt neurotransmitters. Surely,
any chemical imbalance is the result of these problems not the
cause. Balancing chemicals in the brain through the action of drugs
may alleviate some symptoms to a degree but never touches the cause.
Curable with drugs
works on a physical level. These problems are psychological and the
answer is psychological. Whilst short-term medication may be
beneficial for symptom relief, drugs never touch the underlying
reason for these problems. Indeed, the mere act of taking medication
can make the underlying cause worse.
Due to genes
- evolution and our genes provide us with predispositions not fixed
behaviours. A way we are predisposed to behave given the right
environment. That is, our life experiences. We cannot be programmed
with fixed behaviours (eg. OCD or GAD) for we don't know the
environment we will be born into ... it would not be adaptive to
react with extreme anxiety to unconditional love.
And most importantly,
these problems are not 'disorders' or irrational - our mind and body
are perfectly ordered in what they are trying to do, and we get them
for the most rational reason there will ever be ... for our
We can spend a
lifetime looking for the right cure for our 'illness' - if only we
can find the right pill or method. Unfortunately, in doing this, we
are looking at these problems in totally the wrong way.
When we look at the
backgrounds of large numbers of people with anxiety problems, they
are often strikingly similar in many ways. Negative life experiences
and subsequent feelings involving self worth and insecurity occur
across the board with such regularity and are so similar that it is
hard to see how they cannot possibly play a major role in these
Far from being an
illness, something strange that has happened to us, or something
that is wrong with us, we can see exactly how we develop anxiety
disorders (and depression). They follows a logical psychological
progression based on our life experiences and learning, and we can
follow step-by-step exactly what happens to us and why.
Events in our lives and the effect they had on us conspire to bring
about anxiety-related problems ... life experiences that have made
us feel afraid and unable to cope. Not usually single frightening
instances (with the exception of some forms of PTSD) they more
likely develop from general living situations which involve such
things as: constantly being put down, being ridiculed, being made to
feel ashamed, made to feel guilty and made to feel worthless. When
we feel like this often, it's not surprising that anxiety takes
The interplay between
experiences, thoughts, feelings and deep-seated survival instincts
make these problems seem so powerful, that something drastic is
wrong with us, yet the potential to develop anxiety problems lies
within us all, it is a part of human nature, and it only takes the
right (or 'wrong') set of experiences to bring them out.
Given a certain series of events, conditions and circumstances every
single person on the planet can start to become highly nervous, over
anxious and insecure for much of the time, for this behaviour
reflects the way we all work as human beings.
And once nervousness and anxiety start to rule our lives it's not
long before greater problems, those problems we define today as
'anxiety disorders', start to take shape.
When we see anxiety
disorders for what they are: behaviours learned and conditioned due
to our life experiences, we can really do something about them.
About the Author:
By Terry Dixon,
and author of
Evolving Self Confidence
: How to Become Free from Anxiety Disorders and Depression.