Alice Park's Time Magazine Article, The Two Faces Of Anxiety

1264 words - 6 pages

Alice Park’s article in TIME Magazine, entitled “The Two Faces of Anxiety”, outlines the key positive and negative effects anxiety can have on both the individual and humanity as a whole. Because of the steady increase in diagnoses of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and similar mental illnesses, evaluating the origins of anxiety as well as its effects are crucial steps for developing both medical treatments and alternative methods of coping with the disorder. While many of the 40 million American adults suffering from anxiety believe that eliminating the feeling altogether is ideal, they fail to consider what psychologists have mounds of empirical evidence in support of: anxiety is not ...view middle of the document...

In addition to being highly addictive, there is a high possibility of abuse for sufferers who are desperate to relieve their feelings of anxiety. Rather than promoting reliance on external sources of treatment such as medication, psychologists generally recommend holistic approaches centered on positive thinking and reflection, including cognitive behavioral therapy. This methodology involves utilizing the natural tendency humans have toward habituation. By analyzing the stressor and its results, one can see that the experience did not have any majorly harmful consequences, and can therefore be trained not to overreact to situations which are not dangerous. Instead of attempting to eliminate the sources of stress altogether, psychologists encourage healthy coping strategies in which the person attempts to alleviate anxiety through his or her own rational thought. With continual effort and belief that the treatment will be effective, those suffering from anxiety usually see substantial improvements in their conditions after practicing these methods.
The reading was supported by a variety of different sources, including anecdotal evidence as well as numerous studies. The content of this article is particularly relevant to me, since I suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. While reading the article, I noticed a great deal of correlation between the author’s description of the symptoms and treatments of anxiety and my own experiences. Principally, I found the discussion of methods of treatment and their possible effects to be especially truthful. As a person who has had experience with numerous different benzodiazepines, I can attest to the fact that they can be both physically and psychologically addictive, as the article notes on page 65. When I was regularly taking Valium, I noticed that I began to rely on the medication and, rather than first attempting to relieve my anxiety through other means, the thought of taking it immediately came to mind as the best possible option. In a situation where anxiety becomes crippling and prevents one from “normal” experiences, turning to medication can often seem to be the easiest and most effective decision. Knowing that I had an immediate and almost fool-proof escape from the negative feelings at all times made it extraordinarily tempting to utilize the resource. Before long, I found myself craving the Valium at the slightest sign of ordinary stress. I lost the ability to distinguish between what was “normal” anxiety that everyone experienced, and what was severe. At this point, I was beginning to notice evidence of the beginnings of psychological addiction, so I resolved to change the way I approached alleviating my anxiety. It was excruciating at first, since I had become so accustomed to the “quick fix” of swallowing a pill, but by using the methods described in the article, I eventually found relief. The author mentions on page 65 a technique in which the person...

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