"I'm not afraid of anything special, but in fact I'm afraid of everything," says the one who experiences unfounded anxiety. It is the uncertainty that lurks in the shadows and sets a trap that takes your breath away and the will to leave the house. As if you were in solitary confinement, in a room without windows. As if you are in a spiral of sorrow, in a suffocating tangle of despair. Unfounded fear is as if there is a momentous moment in your existence in which you wake up and open your eyes to all the responsibilities and weight of life, in which you have to yield to all the incessant movement and noise of human relationships. It feels as if all the movement not only overpowers you, but also makes you smaller. In her diaries, Virginia Woolf wrote that life is like a dream and that waking up kills you.
"Fear is always ready to make things worse than they really are."
Of course, everyone wakes up sometime and discovers scary and difficult facts. But thousands of men and women are experiencing something much more painful than that. They feel a diffuse, formless fear that occupies everything in a pattern of excessive and recurring anxiety. This emotional state of growing uncertainty and chronic stress leads to chronic baseless anxiety that is part of generalized anxiety disorder. This reality is as exhausting as it is complex, because unlike other disruptions, the concerns and reactions of those affected are not focused on anything special, but are much more all-encompassing. The patient's feelings can be summarized in a simple but no less powerful sentence: "I always think something bad will happen to me."
It is estimated that generalized anxiety disorder and its associated unfounded anxiety affecting almost every aspect of life affects women more often than men. However, the majority of those who are affected and are not receiving treatment because they seek no help are male.
To understand the generalized anxiety disorder and its unfounded anxiety a little better, we must first examine the purpose of anxiety: preparing to respond to a threat. Fear is a millennia-trained, extraordinary adjustment mechanism that has enabled us to survive. Of course only as long as the fear we feel is caused by a real threat. What if fear and anxiety begin to capture every aspect of our lives? What if we are stranded in a parallel universe similar to our worst nightmare? Because there is nothing worse than living in fear.
Many scientists and neuropsychiatrists agree that generalized anxiety disorder is different from all other anxiety disorders. Experts explain that unreasonable anxiety is caused by central nervous dysfunction, which also affects the amygdala. The amygdala is an almond-like structure that mediates between perception, memory and emotion. At one point, the circuits that make up this region are being altered for unknown reasons and thus losing order and balance in the person's life.
"There is no manifest stress, no tangible worries in the world. Your thoughts create this false belief. "
Two main approaches are needed to address this clinical condition: drug treatment and psychotherapy. Medications can relieve the symptoms and create the conditions necessary for psychotherapy to be more efficient.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly used but other antidepressants are also used. Every patient is unique and his reality may require a treatment that is just as unique. In addition, cognitive-behavioral therapy and other stress-focused therapies are effective in reducing the excessive anxiety associated with unreasonable anxiety. In these therapies, the patient learns effective confrontational strategies and develops healthy and adaptive behaviors.
Finally, it's worth highlighting that nutrition, exercise and meditation are complementary tools that can help control fear and focus attention on what's really important.