You’re Wired for Anxiety. And You’re Wired to Handle It

, , 76 Comments


So anxiety is rooted in biology. It’s evolutionarily
based in that we have our own fight or flight responses. Some of it is very old and triggered
from the deep part of our brain that is the oldest part, the fight or flight response.
And then some of it comes from the cortex which evolved much later and that’s worry.
And that might be 21st century anxiety because there’s a lot we can find to worry about
these days. Are we going to make enough money? Are we going to get the right job? Are we
going to provide for our families? Are we going to do the right thing? What could go
wrong in the world? So many things can trigger anxiety just by walking through everyday life.
But the good news is our systems are also set up to handle it. The beauty of anxiety
and the system that we have of anxiety that’s all throughout our nervous system is that
it evolved to protect us. So there’s two components to it. The oldest being the amygdala
which is deep in the brain in the reptilian part of our brain signals whether we should
fight something, flee something or freeze. When it goes awry is when it’s perceiving
immediate danger that really isn’t there. Somebody’s heart starts to race and they
think oh my goodness, is something wrong with me? That’s panic and that can send somebody
into a panic attack which is the clinical manifestation of the fight or flight response.
The other thing with anxiety is again as we evolved and became thinking human beings and
started building communities and cities and civilizations is our brain evolved and there’s
the cortex. It’s within the cortex that we think. It’s within that system that we
worry. And so we can worry ourselves into states of anxiety where we are fraught in
not knowing what to do and we actually get stuck with anxiety and so we’re tense and
irritable and upset. So what makes the difference between everyday anxiety which we all experience
– anxiety is perfectly normal. In any form it’s perfectly normal. Having your heart
racing because somebody is walking behind you and you don’t know who it is is kind
of normal. But if you let that happen to you when you’re sitting alone at home and you
start having panic then that gets out of control. And worry about what to do in the future is
normal for all of us. But if we can’t move our minds off of that and onto what do I need
to take care of here and let me enjoy my family while we’re doing this thing and activity
and I’ll problem solve that later then that becomes a problem and that might become an
anxiety issue. What was great from the 1990s all the way through to now is it sort of was
the age of anxiety in terms of mental health treatment development. The 1990s opened up
lots of treatment funded here in the United States by the National Institutes of Mental
Health. And then also in other countries did similar things where cognitive behavioral
therapy became the most tested and developed treatment and found to be the most effective
psychological or talk therapy for managing anxiety. And managing anxiety of all kinds.
Obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and so forth.
Social phobia, the number one anxiety disorder in kids and adults. Cognitive behavioral therapy
is great for that. So we put a lot of work into developing these treatments and perfecting
them. And then also there are great medications actually that were developed through that
time. The combination of the two treatments works best for many people who are debilitated
by anxiety. But these treatments are excellent and they
are available but not widespread. So this is where again technology comes in because
technology has allowed us to put some of the skills training and some of the aspects of
cognitive behavior therapy into apps, into online programs and such that then can reach
hard to reach individuals and people who don’t have access to services. There’s some very
exciting work being done today throughout the country and around the world in terms
of anxiety research looking at in different ways what aspects of the brain are working
with the amygdala and the cortex in terms of turning anxiety on when it doesn’t need
to, keeping it going. What are the triggers for anxiety on all different levels from genetic
all the way through to what’s in the environment. And then helping to sharpen our treatments
to direct themselves to those mechanisms and tamp down those mechanisms so that can help
a person probably earlier in the cycle of anxiety, earlier in life in such and to manage.
So neuroscience is coming on with all sorts of ways of looking at what are some new technologies
including different types of computer apps and stuff that target anxiety processes. And
then there are also ways of disseminating treatments and reaching people that we are
working with. So I think the big exciting part of what we’re seeing over the next
ten to 20 years is going to be much more dissemination of more targeted and I think more effective
treatments for people that are going to be coming on board and going to be disseminated
through many different means. Not just through your local therapist like me but also through
many different types of technologies that are going to be made available.

 

76 Responses

  1. Sebanoe

    July 12, 2015 2:10 pm

    I suggest meditation and mindfulness for anyone who has anxiety, you realise the mind is a tool should only be used when necessary.

    Reply
  2. Bradan Domhnull

    July 12, 2015 2:29 pm

    Half of the video is being spent spoking about technology ' that is going to be a ailable' yet no mention about the goals, structure of such

    Reply
  3. Brian Keith MacDonald

    July 12, 2015 2:42 pm

    Oh, by my reckoning, people are EXCEEDINGLY competent at dealing with anxiety. To a fault, in fact. They're so good at it that they totally disregard the root cause. Why undertake the difficult work of addressing the root cause when you can just get high on pot, or engage in any number of easy behaviours that allow you to ignore the problem? Dealing with anxiety is typically like putting a bandaid on a gushing wound, however. You're anxious for a reason, genius. It treats the symptom, and not even very effectively. THIS is THE central problem of Western civilization at this point, and it's not one that I expect to ever be addressed. And social liberalism is the cause. It allows people to get away with literally UNLIMITED moral hazard. People are completely unaccountable. Social liberalism promotes such lack of character and integrity. And thus it's going to prove to be the undoing of Western civilization, and so the whole of humanity (since global humanity is an integrated system now, thanks to the West). Western civilization is going to collapse and humanity is going to go extinct because people are weak, and cowards. They can't face reality.

    Reply
  4. Mr. Jaha

    July 12, 2015 2:52 pm

    There's a huge difference between normal human anxiety or a fear of something and an actual anxiety disorder. Why don't you tell someone they can work around it on their own while they're having a panic attack. Fuck off.

    Reply
  5. chaoticcranium

    July 12, 2015 2:55 pm

    The outbreak of real mental disease like anxiety, I feel, is a partly consequence of the human brain evolving too fast (because it confers an evolutionary benefit unlike any other physiological change in our history) for natural selection to properly sort out aberrations like chemical imbalances, genetic risk factors, etc. like other physical diseases. 

    The other part, of course, is the dynamic of our society putting increasingly more and more pressures on us and co-opting the natural fear processes in our brain to go out of control. Competition and overpopulation are at an all time high, and – at least for me – the existential dread of "not having a place in society" is responsible for a lot of my problems. In the past, society had a use for every individual, and you had a clear role to serve. You were the farmer, you were the shoemaker, you were the town doctor, etc. Now, it is possible to go through life feeling completely redundant. You are a drone that can be easily be replaced. If you fail, hundreds will be happy to take your position.

    It doesn't help that our society also very poorly understands mental health issues, and has poor mechanisms for handling it, given their severity and prevalence. Employers can easily understand physical injury or illness, but if you try to cite mental illness as a means for taking time off or reducing workload – they may be less understanding, or worse, you may be prone to being fired because they simply don't want to deal with that. You are seen as an inherently flawed product – a liability. There are very few people I feel comfortable talking about this to out there. Even the fact that I am writing this now – I expect there to be a bunch of troll comments from people who just don't understand.

    As someone who has suffered with anxiety and let fear control almost every part of his life, it really is debilitating. Your self-esteem is destroyed. You don't talk to anyone, let alone seek friendships or romantic interests. You think you will fail every endeavor you undertake. So you do nothing. But, then, you feel the guilt of doing nothing, and your self-esteem plummets more.

    And, I don't think its something that really can be cured in the given scenario. CBT and medicine are a good combination to stave off the worst symptoms – and, I mean. those treatments in tandem sure work for other people, I suppose. But for me, I find all they do is slide the spectrum the other way – send me into complete apathy. If you remove the fear, only the hopelessness remains –  and the cycle above worsens, because you simply stop caring.

    Anyway…sorry, I kind of rambled on there. This is something I think a lot about. I wish the best of luck and give my full empathy for anyone else out there who suffers from these types of symptoms.

    Reply
  6. Evil Toe

    July 12, 2015 3:02 pm

    Up to a month or two ago I would never leave the house on my own, now I'm doing graded exposure and with help from my therapist, I can now go on a bus on my own. I know this looks like nothing and such an easy thing to do, but it really wasn't haha. I still have a long, long way to go though 🙂

    Reply
  7. B1oodshot

    July 12, 2015 3:04 pm

    Anxiety is a pure nightmare. ive been having really awful panicy moments of anxiety lately, coming off anti depressants I hate it so much its like im scared for no reason at all. I dont leave my house and sometimes stay in my room without eatting for 2-3 days at a time. my mind has went to dark place I believe im decaying here in this room. I sleep constantly and when im awake im nauseous and afraid. idk what to do because I have no health insurance and everyone thinks im just being lazy.

    Reply
  8. Jabba42

    July 12, 2015 4:01 pm

    Yes indeed we are wired for some level of anxiety. The problem is this anxiety which evolved over time is all the difference in the world from an anxiety disorder.

    Reply
  9. nothing to see here

    July 12, 2015 4:24 pm

    Maybe we should try not destroying the weak. Maybe we should try to be happy, instead of competitive.

    Or we could just medicate everyone.

    Reply
  10. mattfm101

    July 12, 2015 4:36 pm

    Give people stable cheap homes, reduce the importance of money and I'm sure you'll see a shit load of anxiety dissappear and make other anxiety's easier to treat!

    Reply
  11. Perceptive Minds

    July 12, 2015 5:32 pm

    Meditation and the realisation that inner peace comes from within is the answer to anxiety or any 'challenges' that arise.

    Reply
  12. CaseyCJL

    July 12, 2015 6:37 pm

    Great IDEA! Give pills to the kids who take a little bit longer to develop socially. Fucking madness; especially since all these drugs have very well documented adverse health effects… When I was young these jackass specialists probably would have put me into the "social anxiety disorder" category because I didn't talk very much and I was shy in social events or tried to avoid them… I'm 24 now and I'm very outgoing. But if I wasn't I'd probably need to be taking pills… One thing that the general population has a hard time understanding is how profound an impact proper nutrition and exercise can have on your mental states. Stay away from processed foods and eat a ton of fruit and veg.

    Reply
  13. 314Tazo

    July 12, 2015 7:05 pm

    Cognitive Behavior Therapy is suppose to help us dispel the many beliefs that our society has taught us that will cause unhappiness, fear and anxiety.
    Why doesn't society NOT teach us these negative beliefs?
    So, our society trains people to dispel the negative beliefs, what our society taught us?..isn't this insanity?

    Reply
  14. TheSpazModic

    July 12, 2015 7:18 pm

    Parents:  socialize your children early, and often.  Being a homebody does not release you from this responsibility.
    There needs to be more quality interaction between young people and the adult / working worlds.  Becoming an independent, capable adult is not something that spontaneously happens at age 18, as our society would have you believe.  It's no wonder that the mental health of many young people declines in college and young adulthood.

    Reply
  15. Johnny B

    July 12, 2015 8:19 pm

    when she talks it goes in one ear and out the other, she's unfortunately in the tune out zone – reason: years of female americans' verbal abuse.

    Reply
  16. TheChoson1

    July 12, 2015 9:45 pm

    Another pseudointellectual driveling their terrible opinion about something that is important, big think very rarely can afford someone worth listening to I suppose.

    Reply
  17. Marlyn Struwig

    July 12, 2015 11:01 pm

    My panic attacks have no triggers it happens everyday sometimes several times a day I have no happiness or freedom or joy

    Reply
  18. Being Brilliant Every Day

    July 13, 2015 7:00 am

    This is what we are passionate about relieving suffering or emotional states through the use f technology to make it available and affordable.

    Reply
  19. Relearning Movement

    July 15, 2015 1:53 am

    I suffered anxiety all through my teens. The best advice I have is to do whatever it takes to conquer it before your brain is fully developed for adulthood. You really don't want to have these ways of thinking and patterns of behavior become who you are.

    Also, forcing yourself into situations that face your anxiety over and over until you have no choice but to adapt. It is painful as hell, but possibly the most conducive treatment. You just have to have the motivation. Oh, and don't have people force you into it, but do get their support to keep you from running away in such situations.

    Oh, and quit habits like regular porn/gaming/youtube/tumblr etc because they are huuuggge distractions, and when I had anxiety all I craved was distraction.

    Reply
  20. S S

    July 16, 2015 12:42 am

    So then why would my idiot doctor prescribe an antihistamine for anxiety? The pharmacist says "for itching?" yeah, broken system.

    Reply
  21. ashref salem

    July 17, 2015 4:09 pm

    "Newton's first law states that every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force" I use that analogy to support the statement that things just don't change, begin, evolve, transit, develop, without the external factor. so yeah god exists. our inability to comprehend miraculousness doesn't subsequently mean that miraculousness  is a fallacy people. Thanks Newton, much love.

    Reply
  22. Jd Ck

    July 23, 2015 8:10 pm

    I have Pheochromotoma = massive panic attacks on steroids for absolutely no reason whatsoever.  It's bloody hard work.

    Reply
  23. Jen Garlinge

    August 3, 2015 11:59 am

    Ya know, atheists are pissing me off lately, and i am one! Science, treatments, vaccinations etc etc. This all good and well if we had ALL the information, but we don't do we? in fact, we probably don't get to see half of the information, especially the bad half. Fuck it! i'm having a whiskey and then i'll tell you and any doctor just what to do with ya treatments!

    Reply
  24. Kosmos de Kosmopoliet

    August 7, 2015 8:43 am

    There is so much wrong with this video.
    Check out Gabor Mate to see how horribly problematic the perspective is that is being offered in this clip.

    A cultural sociological problem can NOT be solved with drugs and technology.
    Even the offered therapy is merely focusing on the symptoms and alleviating them.
    As long as the root CAUSE of the problem is being ignored because of an ideological approach, loyal to the cultural norms of this destructive society, you cant even have a meaningful, informed conversation from a point of understanding.

    Reply
  25. Gusta Trillo-Pazos

    November 30, 2015 9:45 pm

    ANXIETY caused by christ consciousness over-stimulation, energetic binds related to chalice constructs of christianity….affective disorders caused by black magic practise? how many times have your patients have had blackouts, 2-3 weeks workshops, rebirthings?

    Reply
  26. A Person

    January 10, 2016 12:53 pm

    "So anxiety is rooted in biology. It’s evolutionarily based", then why the heck is considered as "Disease/disorder" ? " Some of it is very old and triggered from the deep part of our brain", then why the heck are you "advising" us to distance ourselves from our very nature ? " some of it comes from the cortex which evolved much later and that’s worry", what "some" comes from the "very old" and later evolved "cortex", is there a list ? " And that might be 21st century anxiety", " and that might be" without even clear confirmation you so called "researchers" decided to label it as disorder and then start to publicize it and then start the so called treatment process ? " Are we going to make enough money? Are we going to get the right job? Are we going to provide for our families? Are we going to do the right thing? ", you know what, before all these your "fake field" which publicizes itself as "science" is a thing which fools people and hence may give them uncomfortable feeling.

    Before I even go further can I expect the people like this women to give some answers to my questions ?

    Reply
  27. Josh Duncan

    November 27, 2016 9:23 pm

    Stop over thinking. If anxiety is an issue to you, let it go, and stop thinking about it. It IS that simple, and I would advise meditation to practice letting thoughts come and go. Anxiety is not real. It will never be real. Don't think about it, and it cannot affect you; a thought does not harm unless the thinker allows it to. I believe in you and I love you. As a human you hold unlimited creative power and intellectual capacity. You are greater than something that doesn't even exist.

    Reply
  28. Ahmet Bayulgen

    May 28, 2017 10:17 am

    this is an advertisement for health and psychology industry endorsed by big pharma. cbt is not a medicine and medicines are underdevelopped.

    Reply
  29. Carl Fredriksson

    July 3, 2017 5:57 pm

    uhmm..the fight/flight response is not the oldest response, the oldest one is the immobility/shutdown response.

    Reply
  30. Prince Westerburg

    August 14, 2017 12:11 pm

    "21st Century anxiety" – My mother showed me a picture of a little girl looking in a shop window at shoes, she was barefoot. This was an image from her childhood in the 1930s where if you didn't have a job then you didn't eat and could be out on the street. People claim if they haven't got internet or cable TV or hot water now that they are underpriviledged.
    I've lived in those conditions, but I made a change. Stop moaning, start doing!

    Reply
  31. jagfruit 1

    March 17, 2018 2:50 am

    Stay away from anti anxiety meds like Benzodiazepines. These drugs are awful and only make your anxiety worse because they cause your body to stop growing the receptors that accept the chemical (Gaba) that allows you to deal with ALL stress. With continued use your anxiety will eventually and continually get worse because of the adaptations your body is making to compensate for the synthetic chemical you are putting in it. This means you will need more and more over time. Then your body begins to develop side effects from the drugs. Mine were SEVERE migraines lasting 7 days, throwing up from pain, no food, no sleep etc… As well as others. Over time you don't feel like yourself any more, you need a lot of meds in order to function, you have fatigue etc… and after maybe years on the drug you decide you want to come off.

    Now ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE. For people who do not know how to come off of these appropriately going cold turkey, not commonly, but can kill you by creating such severe seizures your heart stops. You also will likely experience extremely severe symptoms like paranoia, agoraphobia, tackacardia, psychosis, homicidal ideation, suicidal ideation and the list goes on. You might be scared wondering the hell is going on with you and if you are going crazy. Nope, this is benzo withdrawal.

    You get help because you can't function and are determined to get off the drugs and stick it out. Then yo find out the unlike almost every other withdrawal process, YOU will not be able to function in a few months. Your symptoms will last for months and months, likely over a year or two. Not everyone deals with this severe withdrawal process also known as protracted withdrawal but it is also NOT UNCOMMON. In fact if you have been taking these meds for a few years you should count on it.

    Reply
  32. Cstank5

    May 18, 2018 8:38 am

    You can go from too anxious to leave the house, to giving speeches in just one day by doing exposures again and again and again moving up more and more. What are you afraid of anyways? You're afraid of the heart rate, blood pressure, sweat, shaky voice, shaky hands, learn to deal with those things, maybe wear 2 layers of clothes, or stop holding your breath when talking to stop the shake, and also just accept the symptoms if they do happen (which is very hard to do).

    Reply
  33. oracleofdewphi

    July 2, 2018 12:15 pm

    Anxiety disorders are definitely not a new problem. Anxiety and alcoholism both run in my family, since there was no way to effectively treat anxiety until recently.

    Reply
  34. Nicole Taylor

    August 24, 2018 12:28 am

    shes wrong about this. our obsessive worrying is not because of larger communities. its because of the ideaology in the cities that we live in based on the acquisition of resources by the few and the many left to fight over the rest. its because of judgement, snd fear of not getting your needs met. all of this are reversable choices made by people. its not evolutionary. its a choice.

    Reply
  35. tommy loves

    September 23, 2018 10:46 pm

    Not all anxiety comes from genetics, actually a lot of it has to do with the foods we eat, its been proven that gluten is a main cause of anxiety

    Reply

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