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What I Have Learned About Anxiety Disorders
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Anxiety disorders are caused by too much noradrenaline and too little serotonin in the brain.
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The imbalance of noradrenaline and serotonin levels in the brain is what causes a person with an anxiety disorder to constantly question whether or not they are "okay."
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Researchers are fairly certain a diet with inadequate levels of protein intake (less than 3 servings per day) makes this brain chemical imbalance worse.
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The adrenal glands were designed to "fire" 3-4 times per year. In a person with an anxiety disorder, the adrenal glands are firing many times a day. That is why persons with anxiety disorders have an increased startle reflex (things like a balloon popping may cause their heart to race and make them feel short of breath). The constant "firing" of the adrenal glands also depletes their energy, so they often complain of feeling tired. It is particularly difficult to battle intrusive thoughts when we are tired.
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Laughing and crying causes the brain to release endorphins. Endorphins help us feel more relaxed. Persons with anxiety disorders are often unable to cry because they have spent so much of their lives hiding their fears, acting as if everything is "okay."
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The biochemistry that causes anxiety disorders is believed to be inherited. My father and brother and I have OCD and we are fairly certain my 5-year-old son also has it.
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Persons with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) have above-average intelligence. Many of us are doctors, lawyers, dentists, computer programers, etc.
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Because a person with an anxiety disorder is constantly questioning whether or not they are "okay," one of the worst things a friend or family member can do to is criticize him/her. I realize living with one of us can be extremely frustrating because I find myself getting frustrated with my son. But please, please, do everything you can to be as patient as you possibly can be with us.
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