New study reveals the secret to dealing with anxiety

Shutterstock

At its core, anxiety is the parody of reason.

Pharmaceutical attempts to dispel “the roar on the other side of silence,” address the neurophysiological effects of the disorder but fail to acknowledge its fundamental objective. In the face of empirical evidence, it presents a taxonomy of every conceivable misfortune it can imagine; weaponizing everything we know about the cruelty of existence until we yield to debilitating panic.  Trying to mitigate its effects, is like trying to shave in front of a funhouse mirror.  A twitchy, capricious, paranoid alien,  monologuing to our entire anatomy; anxiety suffocates our agency, perverts intentions, and puppeteers all of our worst impulses.

“Not everybody experiences significant relief from medication. More often, medication only takes the edge off anxiety symptoms. For each person who experiences a dramatic response to anti-anxiety medication, there are many others who experience, at best, partial relief. It is common for people to try one medication after another, looking for what they hope will be a magic cure. But for most people, this is not a reasonable goal,” explains Mental Health Counselor, Sam Nabil.

So in the instances wherein medication fails, how does one cope with the cyclical menace of anxious thoughts? 

Exposing Worry’s Deceit: Percentage of Untrue Worries in Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Panic and dejection are perfectly reasonable reactions to being alive, so it would be inappropriate to apply the word “cure” to this particular condition. The self-destructive manifestations, of the illness, is what needs to be addressed. An anxiety attack is typically vitalized by a series of grim what ifs? Each of these spin-off into their own morbid sub-reality. So rich and textured are these departures,  our bodies become compelled to swat at phantoms; a process evidenced by palpitations, hypervigilance, a racing heart, and frenetic thoughts. Traditional treatment options like benzodiazepines, for instance, attempt to quell the hysteria by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain, namely gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA essentially coos hyperactive nerves into submission-though the results are both provisional and varied. Other clinical methods operate on individual symptoms instead, like beta-blockers, which curb the surge of adrenaline. 

At they’re best, these medications are near-perfect quick-fixes for when you suddenly recall the concept of death in the middle of a date or decide you have stage 4 esophageal cancer during a board meeting, but the behavioral tendency to placate bleak digressions will invariably return. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians reports that benzodiazepines lose their therapeutic anti-anxiety effect after 4 to 6 months of habitual use. Thankfully, a new pioneering paper volunteers an inspired solution. 

Penn State researchers Lucas LaFreniere and Professor Michelle Newman set out to determine how perspective attenuated the psychological carnage of general anxiety disorders. Over the course of 10 days, the authors instructed 29 participants who suffer from anxiety to write down all of their most pressing worries,  review them every night, and then survey how severe each of these worries was compared to the others. Twenty days later each subject was asked how many of there purported concerns came true.

The authors wrote, “Primary results revealed that 91.4% of worry predictions did not come true. Higher percentages of untrue worries significantly predicted lower GAD [General Anxiety Disorder] symptoms after treatment, as well as a greater slope of symptom reduction from pre- to post-trial. The most common percentage of untrue worries per person was 100%. Thus, worries in those with GAD were mostly inaccurate. Greater evidence of this inaccuracy predicted greater improvement in treatment. As theorized, disconfirming false expectations may significantly contribute to treatment’s effect.”

As previously established, anxiety is uniquely resistant to rationality,  but the key is to liquidate as many of those sub-realities that you possibly can.  Those who are acutely aware of how fleeting and precarious stable happiness is, are by no means incorrect, given a panic attack on its face is an intense overdose of awareness. All of the things wrong with us and our surroundings congeal into one sinister dirge of madness. The key is to develop cognitive-behavioral tools to reboot our interpretation of these voices, and that can only be done by confronting them, not by suppressing them. Without the interpretations we purport on their behalf, the raw sensations of anxiety dissolve like ants beneath a magnifying glass. When suffocated by the fear of pending catastrophe observe all the resources you can to marshal a compelling case against its pathology.  

The new study published in the journal Behavior Therapy helps us use the condition’s powers of deduction against itself. Every time you catch yourself reading into a gesture, or checking your neck for tumors, be sure to remind yourself that there is only a 9.6% chance that any of these concerns will be realized, and even then, you retain the right to your equanimity.  By employing mindfulness, we are allowed a peek behind the curtain, discovering that twitchy, capricious monologuing alien to be little more than a clumsy plagiarism of logic.