Week 1 Activity: Anxiety

Aside from being free of disease and sickness, I believe that health refers to all aspects of being.  To be healthy means to be physically, mentally, and emotionally sound.  It involves your lifestyle habits as well, such as eating  decently on a regular basis, exercising at least moderately, and having a good sense of being.  Being healthy means you feel comfortable inside your skin and you feel normal;  Normal being what is right for yourself (your personal homeostasis).

My definition of illness is anything that disrupts your normalcy or homeostasis.  It can be a cold/flu or even depression.  Feeling ill doesn’t mean you have to have an actual disease or sickness.  It’s your own perception of how you feel when you’re not ‘healthy’ or simply don’t feel right.

The criteria I based these definitions off of mainly come from a  combination of personal experience and from family.  Growing up, I was frequently sick so my knowledge of health and illness was shaped by my parents through the amount of times they had to take care of me and take me to the doctors.

As long as it’s persistent, I believe that anxiety should be considered an illness.  Anxiety is a normal human emotion, but that doesn’t mean that every time someone feels anxious, they’re ill.  Anxiety can be caused by a number of things, including work stress and lack of sleep.  But when it begins affecting your daily life, that’s when it’s a true illness because it keeps you from feeling normal and healthy.

Another topic listed in the illness activity is old age.  Although aging can make us more susceptible to sickness and disease, I do not consider old age itself to be an illness because it’s a natural part of life.  As much as we try to make ourselves avoid it, it cannot be changed, but that doesn’t make us ill, it only makes us human.

3 thoughts on “Week 1 Activity: Anxiety

  1. Hi Michelle, I chose your post to comment on because of your selection of anxiety, which seems like a very divisive subject for categorizing as an illness, especially under different cultural contexts. As an Asian-American I can definitely see how Asian culture is more likely to dismiss anxiety and other mental health issues as a figment of the imagination or a simply a personal weakness. After researching more on cultural differences on the subject of anxiety, I found it interesting to note how different the prevalence rates are among different cultures and how these numbers may not be truly representative of these populations. A research study I looked into found US and Russian prevalence rates for Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) as the highest and Asian populations to be the lowest. As the article stated, ” SAD symptoms are more likely to be expressed by individuals who construe themselves as low on interdependence but high on independence” and this could explain the disparity between Western and Eastern numbers, particularly the low Asian numbers. Filial piety is a very important aspect of Asian culture and the prospect of a mental health issue such as anxiety is usually pushed away by guardian figures. The study also notes that many of the Asian subjects were more reluctant to seek treatment for potential SAD diagnoses, an example of this being in the Chinese subjects. This trend of undetected mental health is a very important point of contention and should be further studied for the Asian culture. As an Asian-American I find it important that within our culture we push for more open dialogue with our parents about mental health issues such as anxiety.

    • Excuse me I accidentally didn’t include my source

      Stefan G. Hofmann, Anu Anaasi, and Devon E. Hinton, “Cultural Aspects in Social Anxiety and Social Anxiety Disorder” US National Library of Medicine
      National Institutes of Health (2010), 1117-1127

  2. Hello Michelle,
    To begin it was invigorating to see your thoughts on illness in the context of different theme we heavily categorize within society. The idea of health and lifestyle habits are heavily related in the prevention of disease and illness. Your definition of illness prompts a very important concept of the disturbance of our normal homeostasis and is truly one the most interesting portions of your post. I also agree with you and believe that the standards of illness are shaped by our societal beliefs and influences. The things our parents, friends, and external family members teach us are over-all stepping stones for our maturing beliefs.
    In relation to the shaping of our thought processes during adulthood, I appreciate the comparison you made of these definitions to that of your own personal experience. I agree with your notion that anxiety should be considered an illness simply because of the distress it can place upon the individuals body. Anxiety is indeed an illness but old age in my opinion is not an illness because as you stated it is a natural part of life. In old age we pay for all of our life choices and decisions we made during our youth. This is not an issue just an eye-opener for us as young adults to begin considering our health now. Great Post!

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