W1 Activity: Anxiety

I define health in illness personally as one’s quality of life and daily functioning. If an individual feels that their daily life is impacted by certain ailments or symptoms, I believe that constitutes an illness. I believe that this criterion on health and illness came from a multitude of influences such as peers, parents, and media. I was scrolling through Instagram the other day, and I realized that many of the celebrities I follow on Instagram were promoting the same “fit tea.” These celebrities were all very good looking, so I couldn’t but make the connection that these brands sought out these celebrities to make a statement that their tea promotes health, which in turn is essential for beauty.  Beauty and health have become synonymous in American mainstream society.  Which is why when someone often has what we call an “invisible illness” such as generalized anxiety disorder many are quick to disregard the illness and not give it much importance.

I chose anxiety and menstruation for my illnesses, and I believe the should both be considered an illness depending on the individual. If a person believes that their daily life is impacted by their anxiety than it is an illness and this applies to menstruation as well. Many women do not have symptoms with menstruation, but on the other hand, many women have physical symptom such as cramps, acne, bloating and breast tenderness. So I believe illness should be evaluated on an individual basis and requires a lot of self-evaluation of symptoms on the part of the patient.

The reason I believe that self-evaluation of  symptoms should be given more merit in health fields in the case of menstruation and anxiety is that when people are often suffering the physical viewable symptoms may be different with the doctor can see and observe and what the person is feeling symptomatically. I have heard the women are often disregarded when discussing their symptoms, which often leads to misdiagnosis of disease on the part of the doctor.  This shows that doctors need to be trained to look out for key descriptions of illness symptoms to assess whether a disease is present.   These descriptions should be given a great deal of consideration.

6 thoughts on “W1 Activity: Anxiety

  1. After reading your post I think you have made some really good points on self-evaluation when it comes to the differentiation between illness and disease. I agree with your statement about “invisible illness” such as anxiety. I have dealt with people who have depression and often it is not taken seriously and many people do not understand the severity of the condition. Each individual is unique and their symptoms, personality, environment, and support system all play a role in how they cope with the condition they have been diagnosed with.

    After doing some research, I have learned that the United States and Russia have the highest rates of anxiety, while Asian cultures have the lowest rates. The differences in anxiety between these cultures have been tied to many factors. These factors include individualism, perception of social norms, self-construal and gender roles. In Japanese and Korean culture they have categorized their own type of anxiety called TKS. They say people with TKS are concerned about being observed and consequently avoid a variety of social situations. It is believed that this sub-category of anxiety has stemmed from their strict cultural norms. They have even divided TKS into four subgroups based on the patient’s fear.

    “Cultural Aspects in Social Anxiety and Social Anxiety Disorder” last modified December 2010, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3075954/

  2. Hi Imaan,

    After reading your post on anxiety and menstruation I agreed with a lot of what you had to say and found your opinions in your post to be very interesting. When you said how if someone’s daily life is impacted by anxiety then it should be considered an illness, I completely agree with you on that. Mental illnesses are something that are often not taken as seriously as they should be due to the fact that they can be difficult to diagnose/treat since the symptoms are all subjective from the patient.

    I did some research regarding your chosen illness of anxiety and sough to find out how often anxiety goes untreated in the US. I also learned more about what can potentially happen if someone does not seek the treatment they need for the illness. Through my research I found that anxiety can be treated through a couple of different treatments; whether it is cognitive behavioral therapy or medication . But when the illness goes untreated, it can have a negative affect on the persons career, relationships, and coexisting conditions. Something that In a recent study done on people with untreated anxiety, these patients were found to have a “decreased functioning” in physical health. They even found this in patient’s with chronic diseases such as congestive heart failure and diabetes. So to reiterate my point, I think you were correct when you said that anxiety is an illness and needs to be evaluated more seriously!
    Source:
    http://www.healthcentral.com/anxiety/c/22705/32960/anxiety-untreated/

    Best,
    Evan

  3. After reading your post I absolutely agree with your assessment of anxiety and menstruation. I have known several individuals who have suffered from anxiety throughout their lives with varying levels of severity. Some of them have had to resort to medication to control their symptoms while others have been able to work through it without the use of medication. After doing some research on other culture’s views on anxiety I was interested to find that in Cambodia many people will show anxiety related symptoms due to the fear of a disrupted “inner wind” and these events are often referred to as “wind attacks”. Also, after further research I learned of the contextual aspect of an anxiety causing situation as determined by the culture an individual lives in plays a large role in how anxiety is experienced. For example, an individual living in collectivistic culture where group success as a whole is valued more than individual accomplishments, may experience anxiety due to their belief that they are not doing enough to help others or the group as a whole. In contrast, in an individualistic culture a person may experience anxiety if they feel they have not accomplished enough for themselves or feel they are unable to achieve certain goals they have set for themselves.

    Source:
    Hofmann, Stefan G., and Devon E. Hinton. “Cross-Cultural Aspects of Anxiety Disorders.” Current Psychiatry Reports. 2014. Accessed July 10, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4037698/.

  4. I think that you are spot on with your discussion about how menstruation can be considered an illness. Your point about how self-evaluation should play a role in how a patient is treated seems to be a critical part of the health care system that is lacking in some respects. I think that for women who have a lot of discomfort with menstruation, it can certainly be classified as an illness and should be treated as one. The same goes for anxiety, with such high rates of it in our society, the symptoms should be treated appropriately. Unlike in the United States, the research I did shows that there is a lack of effort being put in to the prioritization of mental illness on African countries. Despite the suspected high prevalence, especially in women, it is not commonly treated. Many of the patients affected said that they found it to be disabling, which leads me to conclude that in other cultures anxiety is also an illness. Political unrest and pregnancy trouble were found to be some of the major causes of this anxiety. This is a little different from the perceived causes of anxiety in the United States, and in turn should be treated differently.

    Sources:
    Bindt C. “Antepartum Depression and Anxiety Associated with Disability in African Women” PLOS. 2012. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0048396#s1

  5. I think that you are spot on with your discussion about how menstruation can be considered an illness. Your point about how self-evaluation should play a role in how a patient is treated seems to be a critical part of the health care system that is lacking in some respects. I think that for women who have a lot of discomfort with menstruation, it can certainly be classified as an illness and should be treated as one. The same goes for anxiety, with such high rates of it in our society, the symptoms should be treated appropriately. Unlike in the United States, the research I did shows that there is a lack of effort being put in to the prioritization of mental illness on African countries. Despite the suspected high prevalence, especially in women, it is not commonly treated. Many of the patients affected said that they found it to be disabling, which leads me to conclude that in other cultures anxiety is also an illness. Political unrest and pregnancy trouble were found to be some of the major causes of this anxiety. This is a little different from the perceived causes of anxiety in the United States, and in turn should be treated differently.

    Sources:
    Bindt C. “Antepartum Depression and Anxiety Associated with Disability in African Women” PLOS. 2012. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0048396#s1

  6. Hey Imaan,

    Your post really caught my eye! Especially in regards to the anxiety portion, but I did like the way you tied the two together. I agree that in today’s society, more people focus on the external image rather than the internal image of a person. To clarify, I believe more people worry about how others think of them, rather then how they feel about themselves. People aim to please others before pleasing themselves, and in all reality one’s own happiness should definitely have the upper-hand. You mentioned how companies target big name celebrities or athletes for advertising purposes. Which I must say, it’s a smart strategy to reach out to large numbers of people. However, I think that these businesses are placing additional stress on these celebrities whose every move is already watched. For example, my dad works at a mental hospital and has seen many well known individuals as patients. He never mentioned any names due to HIPAA, but he said he’s seen professional athletes all the way to big name actors. He’s always said that the added stress placed on these individuals caused majority of their problems. These people are forced to live these “perfect” lives; they must constantly look, act, and speak professional or the entire world will witness themselves being, what may be considered to most as “normal.”

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