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Fighting Anxiety

January 29, 2012

What’s the best way to deal with depressiona and anxiety? Quickly and definitively. Whatever kicks them off, depression and anxiety both are maintained by styles of thinking that magnify the initial insult and alter the workings of the brain in such a way that the longer an episode exists, the less it takes to set off future episodes.

Anxiety and depression are probably two faces of the same coin. Surveys have long shown that 60 to 70 percent of people with major depression also have an anxiety disorder, while half of those suffering anxiety also have symptoms of clinical depression.

The stress response system is overactive in both disorders. Excess activity of the stress response system sends emotional centers of the brain into overdrive so that negative events make a disproportionate impact and hijack rational response systems. You literally can’t think straight. You ruminate over and over about the difficulties and disappointments you encounter until that’s all you can focus on.

Researchers believe that some people react with anxiety to stressful life events, seeing danger lurking ahead everywhere—in applying for a job, asking for a favor, asking for a date. And some go beyond anxiety to become depressed, a kind of shutdown in response to anticipated danger.

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