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Why do you think so many people have extreme anxiety these days?

(88 Posts)
HarrySnotter Sun 16-Dec-18 12:36:59

I don't mean getting anxious about things that most people would, like a driving test or a new job, I mean things that are 'everyday' for most people.

I have a close friend who is really struggling with it at the moment. She's gone from being the life and soul of the party to barely being able to leave her house and it absolutely rules her life. I feel so incredibly sorry for her, it's an awful condition.

Do you think that anxiety is more prevalent these days or did it just go undiagnosed previously?

RayRayBidet Sun 16-Dec-18 12:38:56

I think it's modern life. We are so out of touch with nature and we don't sleep enough

OakElmAsh Sun 16-Dec-18 12:40:36

I've wondered this too... along with a whole host of other factors, I wonder is some of down to the fact that everything we do is recorded now - every night has a load of photos and videos, every move tracked on social media so little is forgotten about or not noticed anymore

Vitalogy Sun 16-Dec-18 12:41:07

Can I just add to what RayRayBidet* said, we work to much.

CryingMessFFS Sun 16-Dec-18 12:42:11

Because life is generally fucking hard and shit

SandysMam Sun 16-Dec-18 12:42:39

Social media is massively to blame. The constant bombardment of perfection and wondering why our life doesn’t compare. I have a friend who is a shambles but she takes a snap, posts it on Facebook and her world looks amazing. If I didn’t know her, I would be wondering why my life didn’t match up.
I also think cocaine is to blame for anxiety in lots of the Middle Age middle classes. Those who love a toot at the weekend but then spend the week a gibbering mess.

PsychedelicSheep Sun 16-Dec-18 12:45:51


madcatladyforever Sun 16-Dec-18 12:49:24

Because modern life especially for young people is HARD. Things I took for granted when I was young are gone, now there is no job security, no buying your own home in your 20's, large family groups all living nearby to support you don't exist any more, computers or social media with all their resulting problems didn't exist when i was young we had to ring friends and get out, not being able to afford to have kids, high risk of homelessness, no community any more.
I'd be a basket case if I was a young person in this era.

Boredofthecommute Sun 16-Dec-18 12:49:25

People talk about it more than before, which is a good thing!
Problems never used to disclose their personal problems as much as they do now.

bonzo77 Sun 16-Dec-18 12:50:21

We work to much. Extended Families are separated as we move to seek work / have relationships. So less support. Those who do support carry more than their fair share of burden. Life is very complicated. And becoming more so. We are acquisitive and surrounded by greed, so we need to earn more to spend more. The media makes us aware of anxiety inducing issues that we cannot ignore. There are too many people. Too much to do. Too much time. We are increasingly permitted to admit it, not hide it.

ReggieKrayDoYouKnowMyName Sun 16-Dec-18 12:50:29

I think everything is too fast and instant. I suffer from anxiety and it gets worse when I’m in the middle of 5 WhatsApp conversations and owe another 5 people texts and need to return 3 phone calls.... it’s all too much. Never any headspace.

AnyFucker Sun 16-Dec-18 12:51:12

What madcatlady said

Bezalelle Sun 16-Dec-18 12:52:45

Read "Society of the Spectacle" by Guy Debord. It will tell you everything you want to know.

JohnnyMcGrathSaysFuckOff Sun 16-Dec-18 12:52:55

Huge amounts of pressure on young people.

In the 90s, I got into Oxford with AAB and a decent interview. There was no social media. I just kinda assumed of course I'd get a decent job because, you know, everyone did.

Now, I am a university lecturer and it is so much harder. My students are keenly aware of economic pressures and their own reduced chances of getting on the housing ladder, into a graduate profession. They are constantly trying to professionalise themselves. They know their movements are preserved forever on the internet. Social media bullying is rife. I am sure they get less sleep than I did at that age.

And yes, quite a lot suffer with really debilitating anxiety.

Nousernameforme Sun 16-Dec-18 12:55:00

I have a theory, fair warning it's probably bullshit.
I have general anxiety disorder. This means I am likely to have a panic attack with no discernable triggers. This in turn means going out the house is difficult for me as I am in a constant state of fear that I will have a panic attack. It's a cycle.

My theory is our bodies produce adrenaline so when we need it it's there to kick in fight or flight.
However most of us are living sedate safe lives now with no need for the adrenaline. So there is a surplus of the stuff laying around. Then when you have to run for the bus or deal with a minor stress or confrontation you get too much of it in one shot leading to a panic attack which then snowballs into anxiety quite quickly as you adopt avoidance behaviours and coping techniques to avoid having another one.
Before you know it you are a virtual shut it and it takes years to try and remedy the situation

Tldr the adrenal glands a dick.

geonater Sun 16-Dec-18 12:55:01

I thi k we talk a lot more about it which is a good thing, when I first experienced anxiety years ago, I basically just shut myself in my room for weeks and that was that, I still have times where i still shut myself inside from the world when my anxiety is too much, but I talk about it on some online communities that I'm part of and with friends now as it seems mental health is a lot less taboo now. So I'm not worried about looking "crazy"

Butteredghost Sun 16-Dec-18 12:55:41

Honestly I think it's because they can be. We are all so coddled now that we are free to indulge all our anxieties, and avoid anything that makes us even slightly uncomfortable.

For example in the past, a person like your friend who couldn't leave the house, well they had to get over it as there was no other choice, or they'd have nothing to eat not to mention be bored stiff. Now you order anything you need online and get it delivered, watch Netflix and spend time online so you'd never be bored.

This is based on my observation that many people who claim to have anxiety (despite also being the life of the party like your friend) are also the ones with the most friends and family falling over themselves to help and pay attention to this person, letting them off all responsibilities. Whereas the people who don't have that back up, don't fall apart - they can't afford to.

I'm sure most of you will say this is horribly insensitive, but what people with anxiety don't realise is that 95% of people feel the exact same way. Yes, it's really hard for everyone to go to work and go to social events. It might seem like it's easy for others, but it isn't, it's terrifying.

holasoydora Sun 16-Dec-18 12:57:37

I don’t know. My family have all been anxious types as far back as I can remember. We are more aware of it now though. When my Gran was my age she just ‘struggled with her nerves’.

OutwiththeOutCrowd Sun 16-Dec-18 12:57:38

Life is more complex nowadays and the pace of change has increased. People move away from the familiar faces and landscapes of their youth. They have to make connections with unfamiliar people and unfamiliar landscapes. Communities are fractured, transient. There's so much more to master just to function at all in this world.

pisspawpatrol Sun 16-Dec-18 13:00:10

I think a lot of modern day living is catching up with us. Humans are not built to live in such big cities with so many people and have no access to fresh air and the wild. We haven't evolved quickly enough to keep up with modern life.

Social media and the news being on 24hrs a day makes you so much more aware of how shit the world is. Artificial lighting and processed foods are so far removed from the natural state of things that our sleep and eating patterns are fucked.

It makes you feel wholly inadequate a lot of the time, and add to that any traumatic situations you have been through, it makes a perfect recipe for anxiety.

PsychedelicSheep Sun 16-Dec-18 13:01:12

Nousername that sounds more like panic disorder/agoraphobia with panic than GAD. GAD is more what if.../worry based.

geonater Sun 16-Dec-18 13:03:41

but what people with anxiety don't realise is that 95% of people feel the exact same way.

Lots of people feel anxious as it's part of life's emotions 95% of people don't feel it the exact same way as those with anxiety disorder.

Whereas the people who don't have that back up, don't fall apart - they can't afford to.
Disagree, if you had any experience of mental health or working in mental health you would see that plenty of people spiral into debt and all sorts because they can't hold it together even if they need to and have no support.

It's not just a case of pull yourself together.

HarrySnotter Sun 16-Dec-18 13:06:47

Buttered I do think there is an element of truth in what you say. My auntie was always described as 'living on her nerves'. She still had to go out and get basic provisions as there was no other option, it must have been hellish for her.

I also agree with other posters that social media is a huge cause of anxiety in a lot of people. I've seen posts on facebook that have made me think 'is that about me' or similar and when I was going through a difficult period a few years ago, I think social media just added to my own feelings of stress at the time.

Prokupatuscrakedatus Sun 16-Dec-18 13:07:43

There are a number of mostly free courses about anxiety / depressions / OCD and other conditions on FutureLearn.
It has amongst other things something to do with a genetically predisposed imbalance of chemicals in your brain made worse or kicked off by living situations.

Lucylugs Sun 16-Dec-18 13:08:39

I agree with what most have said and would add that our food is so messed around with nowadays we are overloaded with sugar and additives and lacking in basic nutrition. Huge amounts of the population are also lacking vit D. These all mess up our hormones and can lead to anxiety/depression.

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