Around 18 million US citizens suffer from stress, depression and anxiety every year and for many of them, understanding why they endure the torment is difficult to establish. This is because of the many “magic bullet myths” associated with these problems. Here are five such myths along with the root cause as to why stress, anxiety and depression arise.
1. Chemical imbalances within the brain. This is a theory with no proven clinical evidence to support it. The theory alleges that low levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain cause people to suffer from anxiety, stress or depression. Drug therapy is used to treat the imbalance. But there is no test to establish levels of these chemicals before patients are prescribed drugs and therefore, no way of knowing which chemicals are depleted and which ones aren’t. So there’s no way of measuring success either. Another issue: Over seventy percent of people who stop taking antidepressants enter into second and further episodes of stress, anxiety or depression. For another one third, they are totally ineffective. But if chemical imbalances haven’t been proven to cause these problems, why are they being treated?
2. Nutritionally deficient diet, either not eating enough fresh food or eating way too much junk food. There are many people throughout the world who don’t eat a good diet. Most of our forefathers would’ve struggled to eat the recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Does this mean all of these people suffered from stress, depression or anxiety? Highly unlikely. And I know people whose diet is largely junk and they don’t suffer from stress, depression or anxiety. Also, does it mean that everybody who eats a nutritionally sound diet won’t suffer from these problems? Again, and I include myself in this, there are people who eat a balanced, nutritionally sound diet but suffer from stress, depression or anxiety. Why?
3. Toxins. The premise here is that as our air is polluted, containing harmful, poisonous or toxic chemicals, the air we breathe is causing more and more people to enter into stressful or depressive episodes. If that is the case, then everybody who lives in a modern city – New York, LA, Tokyo, Athens, Paris, London, Mexico City, Rome, Berlin, Chicago, Moscow, etc. – must all be enduring the misery of mental torment because each of them breathe the same polluted air. Is this so? Of course not. And by the same rule, does it mean that if you live outside polluted cities, in coastal towns or villages in the beautiful countryside etc. – then you’re immune from mental trauma? Certainly it does not.
4. Trauma. This means that if you encounter a traumatic event, say death of a loved one, or moving home or relationship breakdown for example, such an event can cause stress, depression or anxiety. But such events happen to every human being and not all of them become depressed. This means that events cannot cause these problems, but the way we respond to them can.
5. Genetics. If your parents suffered these problems, you will too. This does hold a little truth. Because while there is no genetic link to these problems, you can learn the modes of behavior that cause these problems from parents throughout childhood. So, if your parents reacted to events in their lives in ways that caused them to be stressed, depressed or anxious, you will learn them too. The good news is that just as you learned them you can unlearn them.
The problem with all of the above is that they shift focus from outside yourself to try and find a “magic bullet” (drugs, diet, events, genetics, toxins) when the answer to them lies within yourself. None of the above can cause depression and therefore, you cannot find a cure by addressing them. Curing stress, depression and anxiety can only be done by treating the root cause and that root cause lies in the way you make sense out of everything in your life.
Once the root cause has been successfully addressed using a combination of knowledge, understanding and personal skills, stress, depression and anxiety will never cause you anguish ever again.
Copyright 2006 Christopher Green
Former anxiety sufferer Chris Green is the author of “Conquering Stress”, the internationally acclaimed program which will help you to permanently conquer stress, depression and anxiety without taking powerful drugs. For a free mini course, please click here => http://www.conqueringstress.com
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