Expert Advice: What to do about anxiety disorders
Host Amber Smith: Here's some expert advice from nurse practitioner Thomas Ringwood from Upstate Medical University. What can a person do if they believe they have an anxiety disorder?
Thomas Ringwood, NP: My main feeling is this: I want people to know that having anxiety is like having a pulse. It's a normal human experience. It's an indication that you're alive.
I worry about a tendency to pathologize normal human experience. And, you know, that's why I think language is so important. So I get frustrated when I see stuff in the news or in the paper about a crisis of anxiety.
Anxiety is normal. If you're feeling completely overwhelmed and like you can't function, that is the time to seek treatment. And I would just encourage a curiosity about what it might mean.
The other thing I want to really send the message is that anxiety is a function, and our current mental health crisis, as it's labeled, is a function of a power arrangement in our society and that it is normal to feel anxious about everything that's going on. And we also live in a time where it's like you can't even seem to get away from it. It's in your face all the time, and, sure, it's normal to feel helpless. COVID, of course, highlighted this, but this was going on before COVID.
So, are we just in the middle of some epidemic? Or are we noticing that lots of people in our society are feeling anxious and what might the reason be for that? That's what I would hope to send the message. So if you're feeling totally overwhelmed, it's normal to feel overwhelmed. If you need help with it, the right thing to do is to call and talk to somebody about it and get the help.
Host Amber Smith: You've been listening to nurse practitioner Thomas Ringwood from Upstate Medical University.