Growing up as an anxious child, one of the biggest conflicts between my parents and me was my tendency to procrastinate on absolutely everything. It wasn’t until I finally sought help for my anxiety many years later, that I learned that procrastination is actually a relatively common symptom of anxiety. It is something I still struggle with to this day, which is why I was particularly interested when I came across a new study, published in the Journal of Personality, where researchers examined this very phenomenon.
A common complaint I hear from anxiety sufferers is that those who don’t share their struggle just can’t understand what it’s like. People with anxiety disorders (myself included) are too often on the receiving end of well-meaning advice like, “That’s not something to get upset about,” or “Try not to worry about it.”
While the intentions are usually good, this advice is misguided and not helpful for those of us trying to manage anxiety. In fact, recent scientific research shows that the way stress and anxiety impact us, is largely determined by our genes. In other words, the difference between someone who can easily navigate life’s challenges and someone who struggles to cope, may actually be their genetic makeup. [Read more…]
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a medicinal herb that has a centuries-long track record of treating a multitude of conditions, ranging from low energy to chronic pain to fertility issues. Additionally, due to the herb’s calming properties, one of the most common uses of Ashwagandha is for anxiety treatment.
Recent studies underscore the need for early interventions for children.
Chronic stress is an experience shared by so many Americans that it is at near epidemic levels. Because of its prevalence in our society, there has been a wealth of stress-related research published in the past 20 years.
It’s well understood within the medical community that anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills carry the hefty risks of addiction, overdose, serious accidents, and cognitive impairment. Now, a British study published in the BMJ has found that over the course of nearly 8 years, death rates more than doubled in people who were taking these prescription medications.
Anxiety can be difficult to discuss no matter who you are. Far too many people don’t get the help they need, whether it’s because of the stigma or because they don’t realize they have a treatable problem. However, one group is disproportionately affected by the stigmatization of mental illness, and these individuals are far more likely to suffer from an undiagnosed anxiety disorder: older adults and the elderly.
Stress-Induced Brain Abnormalities May Trigger Mental Illness
It’s pretty well known that mental illness has both a genetic and an environmental component. Some people are born predisposed to anxiety, depression and other disorders, while others develop those problems in response to hardship or trauma.
Past research has shown that people with stress-related mental illnesses have noticeable brain abnormalities. Now, in a study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry this week, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, explain how chronic stress may cause lasting changes in the brain that leave people vulnerable to anxiety and other mood disorders. These findings could help in the development of new kinds of therapies to reduce risk of mental illness after stressful or traumatic experiences.
Last week on this blog, I talked about some of the recent findings I’ve come across on the topic of veterans and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. This is an especially exciting time in the field of PTSD research, as fascinating studies of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are being published all the time.
While it’s terrible that anyone has to endure the horrors of PTSD, the condition has been recognized as something affecting soldiers since World War I, when it was called “shell shock syndrome.” But what many people may not realize is that there are significant segments of the civilian population in the United States who are just as likely to develop PTSD as soldiers returning from combat in the Middle East.
In Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech last week, the president discussed his goal of withdrawing nearly all US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, essentially ending American combat operations in the Middle East. With more than 35,000 US troops currently in Afghanistan, this means that if Obama’s plan is executed, tens of thousands of veterans could be returning to the United States this year.
A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience identifies the gene NTRK3 as a factor that may play into the development of panic disorder, which affects up to 6 million Americans. Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) say that those with the gene are more likely to overestimate danger and have a stronger perception of fear, confirming a long-suspected genetic component to panic disorders.