Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Anxiety vs. fear (part 2)

There was an interesting article in the NY Times about the difference between fear and anxiety a little while ago.  Here is how they described it:

You are taking a walk in the woods ― pleasant, invigorating, the sun shining through the leaves. Suddenly, a rattlesnake appears at your feet. You experience something at that moment. You freeze, your heart rate shoots up and you begin to sweat ― a quick, automatic sequence of physical reactions. That reaction is fear.

A week later, you are taking the same walk again. Sunshine, pleasure, but no rattlesnake.  Still, you are worried that you will encounter one. The experience of walking through the woods is fraught with worry. You are anxious.

Human anxiety is greatly amplified by our ability to imagine the future, and our place in it.

What is the difference between anxiety and fear?

Scientists generally define fear as a negative emotional state triggered by the presence of a stimulus (the snake) that has the potential to cause harm, and anxiety as a negative emotional state in which the threat is not present but anticipated. We sometimes confuse the two: When someone says he is afraid he will fail an exam or get caught stealing or cheating, he should, by the definitions above, be saying he is anxious instead.
***
The automatic nature of the activation process reflects the fact that the amygdala does its work outside of conscious awareness. We respond to danger, then only afterward realize danger is present.


Every animal (including insects and worms, as well as animals more like us) is born with the ability to detect and respond to certain kinds of danger, and to learn about things associated with danger.  In short, the capacity to fear (in the sense of detecting and responding to danger) is pretty universal among animals.  But anxiety ― an experience of uncertainty ― is a different matter. It depends on the ability to anticipate, a capacity that is also present in some other animals, but that is especially well developed in humans.  We can project ourselves into the future like no other creature.

While anxiety is defined by uncertainty, human anxiety is greatly amplified by our ability to imagine the future, and our place in it, even a future that is physically impossible.  With imagination we can ruminate over that yet to be experienced, possibly impossible scenario. We use this creative capacity to great advantage when we envision how to make our lives better, but we can just as easily put it to work in less productive ways — worrying excessively about the outcome of things. Some concern about outcomes is essential to success in meeting life’s challenges and opportunities. But at some point, most of us probably worry more than we need to.  This raises the questions: How much fear and worry is too much? How do we know when we have skipped the line from normal fear and anxiety to a disorder?


And of course the line between fear and anxiety is not always clear either.

I thought that the article made an interesting point about the human ability to predict the future.  It's odd that I have cast myself in the part of oracle in my life -- an amateur fortune teller.  I guess it's because I thought it would be powerful to know the future.  I've gotten better over the years to the point where now every time that I get burned in a prediction it's been because I've failed to take into account how truly unpredictable other human behavior can be.  The more burned I become, the more reluctant I am to stick my hand in the fire.  I can't decide whether that is a good thing or a bad thing.    



42 comments:

  1. Anxiety

    According to authors Kaplan and Sadock, anxiety is “a diffuse, unpleasant, vague sense of apprehension…” It is often a response to an imprecise or unknown threat. For example, imagine you’re walking down a dark street. You may feel a little uneasy and perhaps you have a few butterflies in your stomach. These sensations are caused by anxiety that is related to the possibility that a stranger may jump out from behind a bush, or approach you in some other way, and harm you. This anxiety is not the result of a known or specific threat. Rather it comes from your mind’s vision of the possible dangers that may result in the situation.

    Fear

    Fear is an emotional response to a known or definite threat. Using the scenario above, let’s say you’re walking down a dark street and someone points a gun at you and says, “This is a stick up.” This would likely elicit a response of fear. The danger is real, definite and immediate. There is a clear and present object of fear.

    Although the focus of the response is different (real vs. imagined danger), fear and anxiety are interrelated. Fear causes anxiety, and anxiety can cause fear. But, the subtle distinctions between the two will give you a better understanding of your symptoms and may be important for treatment strategies.

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  2. Sociopath are nothing more then children of idiot parents that couldn't be told otherwise. Ignorance breeds ignorance. I have been labeled a sociopath. And I am in total control of myself and my actions. The stupid ones make the news, or get caught doing stupid things. We are sane and have control of our actions. If you disagree, you are one of those idiots. It's that simple.

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    Replies
    1. ^Anon...4:52 AM........I'm curious, do sociopaths
      prefer to hang out with other sociopaths other than
      empaths? Serious, question.

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    2. I've got answersApril 3, 2012 at 8:21 AM

      Some do, some don't. But most don't.

      You have your answer.

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    3. I call bullshit. Sociopaths arent in control of their actions. If they were, there would be no mention of lack of impulse control. You arent a sociopath, you are an aspie.

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    4. then the only difference between a sociopath and aspie is impulse control?

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    5. You see,. that is what I told the jail psychologist, but he doesn't believe me.

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    6. No thats not the only diff. I dont really think they are aspie either, its just a fun way to burn those fake sociopaths. They hate the aspie insult.

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    7. Rofl its true that anyone that actually cares about you or our pathetic little insults are very likely not real sociopaths.

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    8. Bullshit. My father was a sociopath with an IQ of 136 (he was only ever diagnosed because he also happened to be an alcoholic, and some of his more violent crimes were committed whilst he was under the influence of alcohol). However, despite his high intelligence, he was extremely impulsive and had absolutely no ability plan for the future. He wasn't in control of his actions, as much as he tried to convince himself that he was. You're probably not a sociopath.

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  3. "I've gotten better over the years to the point where now every time that I get burned in a prediction it's been because I've failed to take into account how truly unpredictable other human behavior can be."

    I can relate to this. My plans only ever fall through because I either forget to account for others, or misjudge their potential impact on proceedings.

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  4. humans are verry predictable derivative thinkg is used to predect behaviour bij paterns and the better gueswork. Dont all sociopaths use this?

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    Replies
    1. Most sociaopaths have no idea what you are talking about, much like my brother. His traits are natural to him. Today we have words to discribe these impulses, behaviors etc. To him it's just business as usual. The way things are done.

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  5. Here is a socio worm:

    a passage describing how a flatworm turns an ant into its slave by invading the ant’s nervous system. A drop in temperature normally causes ants to head underground, but the infected insect instead climbs to the top of a blade of grass and clamps down on it, becoming easy prey for a grazing sheep. “Its mandibles actually become locked in that position, so there’s nothing the ant can do except hang there in the air,” says Flegr. The sheep grazes on the grass and eats the ant; the worm gains entrance into the ungulate’s gut, which is exactly where it needs to be in order to complete—as the Lion King song goes—the circle of life. “It was the first I learned about this kind of manipulation, so it made a big impression on me,” Flegr says.

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    Replies
    1. Yea that is how it is in real life perfect example of s msstermind predator uu get into the preys head nd oncethey are yours the possobilities are endless(:

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    2. Yea that is how it is in real life perfect example of s msstermind predator uu get into the preys head nd oncethey are yours the possobilities are endless(:

      Delete
    3. Yea that is how it is in real life perfect example of s msstermind predator uu get into the preys head nd oncethey are yours the possobilities are endless(:

      Delete
  6. Cats are natural sociopaths.

    Meow

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Must be the T Gondii making cats socio, read below

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    2. Cats are socio at birth

      Meow

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    3. Mommy cat passes it on to the babies before birth. poor sweet kittens...

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    4. “Toxo makes cat odor smell sexy to male rats.”

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    5. got them by the balls, lol...


      "decided to inspect infected rats’ testicles for signs of cysts. Sure enough, he found them there—as well as in the animals’ semen. And when the rat copulates, Vyas discovered, the protozoan moves into the female’s womb, typically infecting 60 percent of her pups, before traveling on up to her own brain—creating still more vehicles for ferrying the parasite back into the belly of a cat.

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    6. T Gondii is perfect for socio guys, if not already in them, looks like we found the socio gene:


      Could T. gondii be a sexually transmitted disease in humans too? “That’s what we hope to find out,” says Vyas, who now works at Nanyang Technological University, in Singapore. The researchers also discovered that infected male rats suddenly become much more attractive to females. “It’s a very strong effect,” says Vyas. “Seventy-five percent of the females would rather spend time with the infected male.”

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    7. Suggestions for the socio guys:

      infected men like the smell of cat pee—or at least they rank its scent much more favorably than uninfected men do. Displaying the characteristic sex differences that define many Toxo traits, infected women have the reverse response, ranking the scent even more offensive than do women free of the parasite. The sniff test was done blind and also included urine collected from a dog, horse, hyena, and tiger. Infection did not affect how subjects rated these other samples.

      “Is it possible cat urine may be an aphrodisiac for infected men?,” I ask. “Yes. It’s possible. Why not?”

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  7. the French, according to Flegr, with their love of steak prepared saignant—literally, “bleeding”—can have infection rates as high as 55 percent. (Americans will be happy to hear that the parasite resides in far fewer of them, though a still substantial portion: 10 to 20 percent.) Once inside an animal or human host, the parasite then needs to get back into the cat, the only place where it can sexually reproduce—and this is when, Flegr believed, behavioral manipulation might come into play.


    The parasite T. gondii, seen here, may be changing connections between our neurones, altering how we act and feel. (Dennis Kunkel Microscropy, Inc./Visuals Unlimited/Corbis Images)
    Researchers had already observed a few peculiarities about rodents with T. gondii that bolstered Flegr’s theory. The infected rodents were much more active in running wheels than uninfected rodents were, suggesting that they would be more-attractive targets for cats, which are drawn to fast-moving objects.

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  8. Fuck the French and their tower!!

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  9. I doctor told me that there was a "fear" gene that plays
    a larger part in some. And in my family and friends this
    holds true......

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    Replies
    1. If there is a fear gene, it must have mutated by asexual reproduction and overtaken me.

      Delete
  10. Medusa
    If you are reading, I wanted to thank you for what you said about me to Alterego. It touched me a great deal, so much in fact that it took me this long to thank you.

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    Replies
    1. How long before you delete this post too?

      Delete
  11. Replies
    1. the hairy one at the end is clearly a psychopath

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  12. i'm an aspie a supper high functioning evil manipulative aspie

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  13. Im so booooored. I wanna do something fun but it seems the curse of the sociopath is constant boredom.

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  14. Yes, there is a fear gene......

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  15. You freeze, your heart rate shoots up and you begin to sweat ― a quick, automatic sequence of physical reactions. www.panicawayhelp.org

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  16. There was an interesting article in the NY Times about the difference between fear and anxiety a little while ago. chris

    ReplyDelete

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