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How Anxiety Disorders Are Created By The Brain

Updated on May 27, 2015

Anxiety disorders are examples of neurosis. What is neurosis? Neurosis is usually defined as mental illness that is distressing but not resulting in serious loss of reality. Symptoms are stress-related but do not encompass what we would consider especially dangerous symptoms, such as hallucinations, delusions or other forms of psychosis. The symptoms of neurosis can be very difficult for a person to deal with alone. They can be frightening or upsetting. Some personality disorders are complicated by neurosis; in fact, the term "Borderline Personality Disorder" was apparently created in the 1930's when a psychoanalyst noticed that some of his patients seems to be on the "borderline" between neurosis and psychosis.

The image below is from a hypnotherapy certification class. This simple diagram shows how the brain can incorrectly process information and create neuroses from it. As you can see, when information is processed normally, it is integrated into the brain correctly and the brain can move on from it. When it is not processed normally, the brain becomes stuck and it cannot move on. This creates symptoms such as anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, phobias, obsessive thoughts, agoraphobia, panic attacks and more.

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We cannot pretend that traumatic experiences did not happen. They are still retained in our brains and they demand to be acknowledged. Sometimes we fear that the feelings attached to them will overwhelm us but even if we refuse to acknowledge them, they will come out whatever way they can. This is usually in the form of disruptive symptoms and over time these symptoms can become very debilitating if they are not addressed. When the root of these symptoms is addressed, they go away. They are a reminder from your mind that there are things you haven’t dealt with yet, and that you must do it soon.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy and exposure therapy are all very helpful with anxiety-based disorders. If you are suffering, you don't have to! There is help for you. Contact a cognitive behavioral therapist in your area. It's worth it.


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    • SinDelle profile image

      The Little Shaman 2 years ago from Macon, GA

      Dr. Bill,

      Thank you for your kind words, and for all that you do for others. :)

    • Dr Bill Tollefson profile image

      Bill Tollefson 2 years ago from Southwest Florida


      I really enjoyed this HUB article since I am a Post Trauma Coach and I coach with survivors to work with their PTSD symptoms especially flashbacks and unwanted traumatic memories.

      Thanks again.