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" The harm doctors do when patients are labelled 'anxious' "

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Kyla, Aug 21, 2015.

  1. Kyla

    Kyla ᴀɴɴɪᴇ ɢꜱᴀᴍᴩᴇʟ

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    Canada
    http://www.theguardian.com/commenti...to-our-patients-when-we-label-them-as-anxious

    Excerpt:

     
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  2. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    The newspaper article gives no indication about what disease the former cancer patient has spent years trying to obtain income protection for, and no explanation as to why having a diagnosis of anxiety prevents claiming income protection.
     
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  3. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    Also from the article:

     
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  4. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    This is a good time to mention some other data hinting at the dangers of being classed as anxious - especially for women (click on the author names for links to the articles if interested):

     
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  5. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

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    Where is this quote from?
     
  6. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    Not from anywhere, I'm afraid, @Snow Leopard. Just my own notes.
     
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  7. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    You also have to recognize that anxious patients may vastly over-exaggerate the facts, and I imagine that is why doctors feel the need to label such patients as "anxious", in order to place the patient's statements into context.

    I have experienced this over-exaggeration myself, when I have to deal with people on my website who have developed severe anxiety, triggered by a viral infection (my website is about a virus which seems to trigger anxiety disorder). Because of the high level of anxiety, these people cannot think clearly and rationally, and the anxiety magnifies all their problems, in their own minds, out of all proportion. I know, because I was once in this position of having severe anxiety myself.

    It takes a lot of effort on my part to try to explain to them that their issues only seem so dire because they are viewing them through the lens of anxiety, which amplifies all worries and concerns.

    I tell them that the first thing they should do is treat their anxiety, because once their anxiety disorder is brought under control, the problems that presently seem huge will become much less significant when viewed with a calm mind.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
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  8. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    @Hip, I think the problem, though, is when normal reactions to a stressful situation become pathologised. The people you're talking about might really suffer from clinical anxiety - at least at certain times.

    But we are all capable of reacting to a stressful event anywhere from calm to frantic, and our response may depend upon a lot of factors that have nothing to do with clinical anxiety (other things going on in our lives, for example, an upcoming important event, etc). All these reactions are "normal", but when the label "anxious" is applied to these, a whole process of dismissal begins.

    We need a different word for anxiety as a state - as opposed to a trait - but we don't have one, and that's where the confusion begins.
     
  9. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    @Woolie
    I would think that normal anxiety in healthy people is more of a transient affair. We can become anxious and worked up about something, but usually that passes after a while.

    Whereas in a condition like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which is what I had, the anxiety is constant, and is not caused by events in your life, but is likely due to a biologically-caused disease state in the brain. The brain possesses anxiety circuits (in the amygdala and other places), which are designed to be switched on in dangerous or precarious circumstances, so that our senses and mental focus are sharpened, and we mount a proper response to those precarious circumstances. In this way, an anxiety response is part of out survival instincts.

    However, it GAD it seems these anxiety circuits have erroneously been switched on permanently for no apparent external reason, due to a physical or biochemical fault in the circuit.


    Although even with GAD, if external events in your life occur that would, even for normal people, cause stress and anxiety, then this will further compound the already high levels of anxiety you are experiencing from your GAD, and so the combined effect will send your anxiety levels through the roof.

    I think when people have a nervous breakdown, this may be due to them first developing GAD as a biological disease, and then having to face some very anxiety-provoking life events, such as you might find in a stressful career.


    Anyway, what I am trying say is that it can be hard to disentangle ordinary anxiety produced by life events, and anxiety due to GAD resulting from a physical or biochemical fault in your anxiety circuits.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015
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