What’s in a name?
When it’s neuro-transmitters and chemicals in the brain, altering the way you think, perceive the world and feel (especially in the absence of colourful blotches, blood or bruises, or obvious deformity of a limb or external organ) there seems to be a perception that these conditions are a choice, and could be snapped out of if the person just tried harder. Of course there is a psychological component, as there is in the genesis and maintenance of ‘medical’ conditions such as hypertension and diabetes type 2 (late onset), and this is the part that responds to psychotherapy. Yet there is all too often the lack of empathy and acknowledgement of the biological basis for anxiety and depression, which is basically a biological vulnerability to developing these disorders. Consider that the average age of onset for social anxiety is 6 years old, which implies that some people start life with this crippling anxiety and know no other way of being in the world. Women have a 40% chance of experiencing a depressive episode sometime through their lives- perhaps due to those hormones we like to blame. Look around you- 1 in 20 has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and around 3 in 20 have some degree of it but with less impairment in functioning. And some studies have indicated that 1 in 4 will suffer from anxiety (an episode or a disorder) at some point through their lives. That’s a lot of people- they can’t all be lazy, crazy, or other similar terms, can they? Maybe it’s only when you or someone close to you becomes one of these statistics, that the name becomes all too real and no longer something to be ignored, judged, or seen as a sign of weak-mindedness.