Friday, October 21, 2016

Facts About Anxiety That You May Not Know

While it's normal and functional to feel anxious in challenging situations, such as a first date or job interview, anxiety poses a problem when the endless baseless worrying and obsessive thoughts take over your life. If you suffer from anxiety, or know someone who does, then you know how overwhelming and burdensome the condition can be. Whether or not you're familiar with anxiety, here are some interesting facts about the mental illness that you may not know.

Anxiety is among the most common mental illnesses in the UK

If you suffer from anxiety, know that you are not alone. In fact, anxiety disorders are one of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses in the UK.  A survey covering Great Britain found 1 in 6 adults had experienced some form of "neurotic health problem" in the previous week, with the most common being anxiety and depressive disorders. Research has also found more than 1 in 10 people are likely to suffer from a disabling anxiety disorder at some stage in their life, and about 13% of the adult population will develop a phobia at some time point (Source). 

More women have anxiety than men

While anxiety affects both men and women, most anxiety is more common in women. In England, women are nearly twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders (Source). According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, women in the U.S. are twice as likely as men to have generalized anxiety disorder (GED), panic disorder, and specific phobias.

It's not all mental

Anxiety doesn't just mess with your thoughts; it presents a number of physical symptoms too. Those who suffer from anxiety may experience headaches, fatigue, insomnia, tremors, muscle tension, dizziness or upset stomach. Often times, anxiety patients mistake their physical anxiety symptoms for a medical illness.  

Many anxiety sufferers don't seek treatment

While anxiety disorders can be treated with medication and/or psychotherapy, many sufferers don't seek treatment. It's estimated that only one-third receive treatment for their anxiety.

Anxiety can be caused by life events and genetics

Some patients are surprised to find out they have anxiety when they haven't suffered a traumatic or stressful life event. According to Stuart MacFarlane, a leading psychotherapist, anxiety disorders are can arise from a variety of risk factors, including brain chemistry, genetics, and trauma. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Insomnia and Workplace Productivity

Many people suffer from insomnia, a sleep disorder involving difficulty falling or staying asleep. People with insomnia often wake up too early in the morning and/or feel tired upon waking. Getting a good night's sleep is crucial to your health; lack of sleep can hinder your mood, ability to concentrate, and memory, as well as increase your risk for disease. 

According to a nationwide survey, approximately 1 in 4 workers in the United States has insomnia. With decreased concentration and focus and increased sluggishness and fatigue, insomnia costs U.S. employers a staggering $63 billion in lost productivity annually.  While most insomniacs won't skip work due to poor sleep, the study found insomnia is responsible for 252 million lost days of productivity every year. This means every sleep-deprived worker sees eight days of lost productivity. 

Some other key findings of the survey include:
  • 23% of workers are sleep deprived because of insomnia
  • Only 14% of seniors have insomnia
  • 27% of women have insomnia, compared to 20% of men
  • Employers lose $2,300 each year for every worker with insomnia

The situation in the UK may be even worse. One study (, found that: insomnia is costing the average worker 11.3 days, or approximately £1,400 in lost productivity every year.  This equates to billions for the nation as a whole.

It's clear that sleep-deprivation is a big problem among workers. Stuart MacFarlane, a psychotherapist and Jungian analyst, suggests workers try psychotherapy to overcome their sleep troubles. While there are many forms of psychotherapy, it generally involves talking to a therapist to gain a better understanding of yourself to change and overcome your problems. With psychotherapy, insomniacs can discover the cause of their sleep problems, whether it be a pre-existing health condition or behavioral factors, and make the necessary lifestyle changes to overcome insomnia.