Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Posted on by Joseph Turiano

Categorized in: Anxiety, Mind, PTSD | 0 Comment

In recent years, particularly in America, the use of anti-anxiety medications, as well as all mood and thought-altering medications of various types, has skyrocketed.

The American Psychological Association estimates that one in ten individuals is currently prescribed some form of psychotropic drug.

From 1999 to 2012, the percentage of Americans on antidepressants increased from 6.8% to 13%, according to a report published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
What is behind these numbers?  Is American society more emotionally troubled than ever before?  If so, why should this be so?

A significant part of the explanation must be attributed to the now predominant medical opinion that mood and anxiety disorders are the result of “chemical imbalances” in the brain, and should therefore be treated with mind-altering chemicals.

Although the media often repeat this idea as if it were a fact, it is by no means proven.  The idea comes from a series of fairly recent scientific studies where an analysis of the brain chemistry of groups of individuals with mood and anxiety disorders showed a deficiency in various brain chemicals associated with positive moods.

This has been widely accepted as “proof” that mood and anxiety disorders are a mere matter of chemistry, but this is not the case.  The real truth is that, if anxious or depressing thoughts are the cause of the deficiencies or imbalances in brain chemistry, then anxiety and mood disorders are not caused by brain chemistry at all.

The idea that certain thought patterns or behaviors can cause changes in brain chemistry or brain activity has actually been widely observed in a number of different studies and settings.  A recent study indicated a link between giving hugs and the production of the brain chemical oxytocin, which is one of the chemicals associated with positive moods.  It has been known for some time that physical exercise is associated with increased production and presence of endorphins in the brain, which are also associated with positive emotions and feelings of wellbeing.  It has recently been observed that exercise also increases the presence of dopamine and serotonin, both of which are known as key chemicals associated with mood in the brain.  The practice of meditation has also been observed to increase dopamine in the brain.  Listening to music has also been observed to increase dopamine.

If positive practices that are associated with patterns of positive thinking show a clear link in creating positive changes in brain activity and chemistry, the idea that negative patterns of thinking can be the cause of negative changes and imbalances in brain chemistry is not a difficult idea to conceive.  It is a conclusion that makes perfect sense.

Anxiety and mood disorders are a real challenge for those who have to deal with them, and seeking help for addressing them is a decision that is to be admired and respected.  Each of us needs help for some issue or difficulty at some time in life, and ignoring or failing to treat problems in the psyche only results in the problems getting worse and creating greater difficulties in the future both for other people and one’s self.  There is no need to feel guilt or shame about having issues relating to mood or anxiety disorders or seeking help for them.  The point is really to find a form of help that really addresses the cause of the problem, instead of only treating the symptoms.

For treating microbial infections or severe psychological issues, medications can prove to provide some significant benefits.  For the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, however, this may well not be the case.  In fact, the National Health Service in Great Britain recently stopped prescribing anti-anxiety medications completely for patients who report depression.  The experts who made this decision concluded that the medications that were being used to treat depression were not effective in the long term in treating depression.

Sociologists have noted that people in certain cultures have far lower incidences of depression and mood disorders, and such cultures exist in various places all over the world.  These cultures have been studied, and certain insights about how the members of these societies live and think from day to day have been noted and applied to modern life through some innovative therapeutic techniques.  In this context, it seems clear that the susceptibility to anxiety and mood disorders is not genetic.  It also is a clear indication that the thought patterns associated with mood and anxiety disorders are not inescapable destiny, or a random matter of chemistry.  They can be changed.  There are proven ways to change them that do not involve drugs. Hypnosis is one of those proven ways.

About Joseph Turiano

I truly love what I do. I want to share my passion with the people around me and help to create a happier, healthier world with those that wish to grow and prosper. I’m here to help you make positive, lasting changes in your life and I’m looking forward to meeting you.

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