General Question

live_rose's avatar

How my fears and worries per one person is healthy?

Asked by live_rose (1223points) May 13th, 2009

I fear bridges, food to some extent, feet, tongues
I worry about pretty much anything that has to do with human interaction/peoples opinion. What I mean by that is I worry that anything I do someone will have a negative opinion about it and it complicates how I function in everyday situation. Is it healthy to have so many concerns/fears? I don’t think so but I don’t know what exactly is wrong with my head. So I thought Id get a second opinion whats a healthy amount of fear/worry?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

18 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

See a psychiatrist. You might have an anxiety disorder. They have drugs that can help you live more normally. You might also benefit from therapy, if you get that diagnosis.

RedPowerLady's avatar

If it interferes with your daily living then it is unhealthy. That is the typical mental health standard. Does it interfere with having an active social life? With forming a support system? With your job? Etc… If the answer is yes to any of these questions or for any other reason then it wouldn’t hurt to get some counseling. There are low-cost sliding-scale counseling centers even that can work wonders! Just make sure you don’t settle with a counselor/therapist. Choose one that is right for you. You have that right.

Supacase's avatar

You seem to have anxiety, both in general and socially. Therapy and medication can help you. I hope you will look into it. Even if our non-professional diagnoses are incorrect, the doctors can get to the root of the problem. Good luck to you.

rooeytoo's avatar

I would try therapy first. I believe in trying to find the cause of the anxiety, not just treating the symptoms with drugs.

Do get some help though, life is good most of the time, you just have to be able to put yourself out there.

Judi's avatar

Fear is only healthy if it keeps you away from legitimate dangers. When silly fears interfere with your life, professional and medical intervention can be helpful.
Worry is useless unless it motivated you to do something to change the outcome. If you can’t do anything about something worry only serves to make you gray early. Excessive worry may also be helped with medical intervention.

augustlan's avatar

@rooeytoo Sometimes, the root cause is a chemical imbalance… in which case the right drugs are a lifesaver!

Definitely get yourself evaluated. I have GAD and panic attacks and Effexor and Xanax have changed my life. Therapy helped some, but the drugs really do the trick. Life is so much more enjoyable when you aren’t afraid. :)

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I agree with all these folks. I was obsessive about stupid worries, and now that I am on Xanax and Prosac, they are still there, but I can control them and they don’t leave me a quivering mass of indecisive jelly. My fears and anxieties got so bad I was starting to get suicidal. Believe me, you don’t want to go there.

Get checked out already.

Darwin's avatar

I, too, resorted to medication (Zoloft and Xanax) and also go to counseling. Life is much better than before.

I also suggest you find both a counselor (for the therapy) and a psychiatrist (to prescribe any medications) if your fears are keeping you from having an active and interesting life.

DarkScribe's avatar

A phobia is an unrealistic fear, and it sounds as though you might have a few – or just one manifesting itself in different ways. Almost everyone has one or more phobias, in the sense that they are afraid of something that offers no real threat. I swim with sharks, have done for most of my life, and they don’t worry me. But I am afraid of sharks in the surf. The reason is that in water with poor visibility they are a real danger. A shark will bite something that it can’t see well to determine whether it is something they would like to eat. In clear water, where they can see you, they leave you alone, they know that you are not a seal or something similar and have no interest in you. You see, to me, people who are afraid of sharks in all conditions are exhibiting a phobia – they aren’t a real threat.

People are afraid of harmless spiders – those without venom, they fear small Pythons and Pythons have no venom and won’t attack anything bigger than they are. All of these phobias are accepted by society, and the people with them live quite normal lives. Your phobias seem a little out of the normal, but you can probably live with them too, just like everyone else. As for worrying that not all people will like all that you do and say – that applies to everybody. I am pretty forthright and I know that invariably whatever I say someone won’t like it. I don’t let it concern me because nothing in my life is dependent on their opinion – I only care about the opinions of those who I like and respect.

You have two choices, live your life within its limitation – like everyone else does, or attempt to rectify the degree and extent of your phobia/s. I have little trust in successfully eradicating phobias, I have seen very few successes that don’t involve a HUGE investment in therapy and medication.

rooeytoo's avatar

@augustlan – I appreciate what you say, but I do think sometimes psychiatrists, because it is what they are trained to do, prescribe meds when the problem can be controlled in other ways. But by all means if there is a chemical problem or an insurmountable psychological one, I would say take anything you need to be able to live your life. The older I get, the more I aware I am of what I missed when I was younger and regret not having changed my life sooner.

I think too, for myself anyway, that living a real life is worth a huge investment. I actually have known many people who are successfully leading what one would call a “normal” life thanks to therapy and /or meds.

reverie's avatar

@RedPowerLady gives an excellent answer.

What’s “healthy” and “normal” varies tremendously from person to person. I think the fact that you are questioning your situation is indicative of the fact that you’re dissatisfied with it – and this in itself is reason enough to do something to actively change that.

In the grand scheme of things, whether your problem is a serious one or a minor one, it doesn’t matter – if you feel you can be happier without experiencing certain thoughts or feelings, you should do something.

I support the suggestions in this thread to go and see a counsellor or doctor. I know many people who have been helped in this way. I’d also recommend doing your own research and actively try to understand your own feelings; try reading about similar experiences of others online, or check out some books on the subject.

Out of everyone I know, the one person who I think made the most successful recovery from mental illness was the person who took complete charge and responsibility for his recovery – that’s not to say he didn’t seek external help, he just did everything in his own power to get better. And he did.

dynamicduo's avatar

I do not worry hardly as much as that. I personally do not think it’s healthy to fear pretty much anything that is out of my direct control. However as @RedPowerLady says, if any amount of your thoughts or behaviour are making your life worse, then it’s a problem that should be addressed. Please go and see a psychiatrist or doctor, they will help you. Sometimes drugs are not the answer, sometimes they are.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@DarkScribe great advice, and I agree with your deduction about unreasonable fears. More people die from accidents in the shower than get bitten by sharks, but you don’t see anyone decrying the hazards of showering well not yet.

Slight correction, pretty much all spiders have venom, but with the majority, the venom is so weak as to not be a threat to humans. Of the 30,000 species of spiders found in the US, only about 4 can make you sick from their bite. And none of those 4 are deadly, unless you have a previously compromised immune system. The fear of spiders probably has more to do with how they look than the actual threat they provide with their bite. Spider bites ARE NOT common, as spiders don’t suck blood, and people are not food for them. but trying to convince anyone of that is an uphill battle. People love their myths.

wundayatta's avatar

I was at a presentation last night given by a genetic neurobiologist who is also a psychiatrist. I think he’s got a very good reputation in his field. He’s been looking at the genetic links to mental illness. They’ve discovered that a huge list of mental illnesses are related, including ADD, anorexia, anxiety, bipolar disorder, OCD, unipolar depression, schizophrenia and several others that I don’t remember, as well.

Bipolar disorder is related to at least 22 genes, and changes in specific alleles on those genes. By comparison, a congenital eye disease that results in blindness is related to just 5 genes. He had been looking at the sequence of one allele, and discovered that in people with a wide variety of mental illnesses, portions of that allele were transposed from the position they are in normal people.

This is interesting, because it suggests that a wide variety of mental illnesses may stem from similar genetic predispositions, and perhaps the expression of that predisposition is related to differing environmental conditions. That is purely speculative, since they still have little idea how this works. They do know that, for this particular allele, it changes the protein that regulates how sodium and potassium chains enter into nerve cells in the brain.

More and more, it appears that mental illness is primarily of organic origin. Once they figure out which genes are involved and which proteins they express, they’ll be able to design a diagnostic test first, and later on, drugs that are designed specifically to counteract the negative effects of the protein in our brains. He thinks this will happen in ten to twenty years.

There are a number of questions this research brings up. First: is the distinction that is made in the DSM IV between these various mental illnesses justified by these genetic indicators? Perhaps they are just different expressions of pretty much the same thing? Those of us who suffer from these things know that a lot of the same drugs are used to treat all of them.

Second, are the other alleles that create a predisposition for these conditions similar, or different? Third, how the hell do these proteins work inside our brains—how do they change our capability for thoughts of specific kinds?

I wanted also to make sure that people know that a genetic predisposition for something does not mean a person will get that disorder. It also requires an environmental stressor to kick in. The primary environmental stressor is alcohol or drugs. However one of the other stressors is steroids. Interestingly, when we are under stress, our brains create more of a natural steroid—cortisol. So it is possible that this is one way the genes are expressed.

Other questions: once the genes kick in, can they kick out again, and go back to creating the normal protein? If cortisol is a response to environmental stress, then does therapy help people respond to environmental stresses more effectively, thus reducing cortisol levels, and letting the disorder “kick out?”

If these things are found to be true, then what is the appropriate order of treatments? Drugs, then therapy, or therapy, then drugs? In physical medicine, if you break a bone or something, you first get the bone fixed, and then you enter into physical therapy.

In all of this, as @rooeytoo points out, the specialty of the medical practitioner may influence their predilection towards a treatment. Psychiatrists might prefer to start with meds. Psychologists might prefer to start with therapy. Osteopaths might prefer to start with an operation. GPs might prefer to start with physical therapy. The point is that it can be useful to get a second opinion, perhaps from someone with a different specialty, on the best course of treatment. Of course, if you get two different opinions, then what do you do?

Finally, I want to express my amazement at all of this. It is comforting to know that the way I behave (or misbehave) is the result of having different proteins in my brain than most people have. It means that, if I choose to, I can take drugs to make my brain work more like most people’s brains. Of course, the opposite is true, too. Normal people could take drugs to make their brains behave as mine does, should they need to do that on occasion. Just as athletes take steroids to build muscles faster and stronger, ordinary people might take drugs to have their minds work faster and more creatively.

While anxiety and depression and self-starvation can kill us, there may be beneficial sides to these things, as well. I have found that, if managed properly, someone with ADD or OCD can do excellent and productive work. I’ll bet that there are conditions under which my mood swings could be managed so that I could have bursts of activity that are extremely productive, interspersed by periods of time when I can’t do shit. There must be jobs where this would be very useful. So we may not only have one option: medication. If society were to change a bit, we could provide safe places where “abnormal” people could become very productive and useful members of society.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@daloon Interesting information. I think I have to sit with it awhile but it would be an interesting topic to discuss.

I think this information can be looked at in quite a few different ways. I’m trying to sort them out in my brain right now. :)

I like this: If society were to change a bit, we could provide safe places where “abnormal” people could become very productive and useful members of society.

I completely agree. But I don’t know that we mean the same thing when thinking of how society should change.

wundayatta's avatar

@RedPowerLady Well, I hadn’t really thought about that. I think I had some notion of tolerance and creativity in mind—job redesign, and other accommodations such as are made for other disabilities. Also more education, so people know how to work with and support folks suffering from these disorders.

loser's avatar

Fear and worry can be completely debilitating. You sound like I did before I got help for my anxiety disorder. Medication has really helped me. Try taking to a psychiatrist or counselor. Good luck!

DarkScribe's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra Aha – another pedant! Welcome – it is one thing that I have often been accused of, though I have managed to appear a little less pedantic as I grow older. Yes, you are quite correct, all spiders have venom, perhaps I should have said “venom harmless to humans” . As a child I used to earn pocket money by catching venomous spiders “Funnel Web Spiders” for the CSIRO to use in antivenene research. The Funnel Web is one of the world’s most deadly, most bites until recent time resulting in rapid death. Luckily I managed to avoid being bitten and to earn quite a lot of money for a thirteen year old child. I am very aware of a spider’s potential but most people are just afraid of them, regardless of real risk. In the US they fear Black Widows, but I have often – literally quite often – been bitten by one. Here they call them Red Backs. I consider it similar to a wasp sting, not pleasant, but nowhere near as “deadly” as most people think. It is a result of my penchant for rummaging through old ruins looking for relics.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther