Overcome your fear factor

Fear and worry got you down? Here’s how to calm these feelings.

Have you grown more worried and fearful about life over the years? You aren’t alone. Research has shown that feelings of fear, general anxiety, and nervousness tend to rise with age.

These negative feelings can manifest in many ways. You could be more concerned about your financial future, the risk of a new or returning health problem or injury, or as the recent COVID-19 pandemic has shown, changes in world events.

“People become more fearful about daily life because they worry a setback will come at any time, and it’s something they can’t control,” says Dr. Ipsit Vahia, medical director of Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Services at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital.

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New approach to some mental disorders

Some of the most common mental disorders, including depression, anxiety and PTSD, might not be disorders at all, according to a recent paper by Washington State University biological anthropologists.

In the paper, published in the Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, the researchers propose a new approach to mental illness that would be informed by human evolution, noting that modern psychology, and in particular its use of drugs like antidepressants, has largely failed to reduce the prevalence of mental disorders. (This paper was made available online on Nov. 28, 2019 ahead of final publication in the issue on April 28, 2020). For example, the global prevalence of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders remained steady at 4.4% and 4% respectively from 1990 to 2010.

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Where stress lives

Yale researchers have found a neural home of the feeling of stress people experience, an insight that may help people deal with the debilitating sense of fear and anxiety that stress can evoke, Yale researchers report May 27 in the journal Nature Communications.

Brain scans of people exposed to highly stressful and troubling images — such as a snarling dog, mutilated faces or filthy toilets — reveal a network of neural connections emanating throughout the brain from the hippocampus, an area of the brain that helps regulate motivation, emotion and memory.

The brain networks that support the physiological response to stress have been well studied in animals. Activation of brain areas such as the hypothalamus triggers production of steroid hormones called glucocorticoids in the face of stress and threats. But the source of the subjective experience of stress experienced by people during the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, has been more difficult to pinpoint.

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Is COVID-19 Leading to a Mental Illness Pandemic?

We are in the midst of an epidemic and possibly pandemic of anxiety and distress. The worry that folks have about themselves, families, finances, and work is overwhelming for millions.

I speak with people who report periods of racing thoughts jumping back in time and thinking of roads not taken. They also talk about their thoughts jumping forward with life plans of what they’ll do to change their lives in the future – if they survive COVID-19.

Consider what this uncertainty is doing to people who have an underlying emotional problem that is well-controlled with care (and even without care). Those people are suffering even more. Meanwhile, people with obsessive-compulsive disorder that had been under control appear to have worsened with the added stress.

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The ability to regulate your attention may help protect against anxiety symptoms

Greater mindfulness skills was found to indirectly predict fewer anxiety symptoms through attentional control, according to a study published in Psychological Reports.

Mindfulness, overall, is defined as “the awareness that emerges through actively attending to the present moment without reaction or judgment.” Research on mindfulness has shown that it is comprised of five different components: (1) observing, which entails attending to one’s emotions, cognitive experiences, and sensations; (2) describing, which is the process of labeling what one is feeling or thinking; (3) acting with awareness, defined as being attentive to one’s experience in the moment; (4) nonjudging of inner experience, which involves refraining from evaluating one’s thoughts and feelings; and (5) nonreactivity to inner experience, defined as the ability to let thoughts and feelings pass without responding or elaborating.

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Depressão: como enfrentar o fracasso da Psiquiatria

Pesquisador inglês afirma: disciplina reduziu estigmas de “loucura”, mas passou a tratar angústias comuns ao ser humano com drogas. Seus efeitos são exagerados; os riscos desconhecidos – e surgiu geração de dependentes

MAIS:
Esta é uma versão condensada da entrevista de Nikolas Rose, publicada na revista Interface –Comunicação, Saúde, Educação.O texto completo pode ser lido aqui:

Nikolas Rose é professor de sociologia do Kings College de Londres e pesquisa as mudanças contemporâneas das “ciências da vida”: biomedicina, genômica, neurociências etc. É internacionalmente conhecido como um dos principais estudiosos da obra de Michel Foucault na atualidade. Essa entrevista é baseada em seu último livro, Nosso Futuro Psiquiátrico (Polity Press, 2018), que analisa os efeitos da psiquiatria sobre a sociedade.

Como a psiquiatria atua politicamente em nossa vida diária? Leer Más