How Do Different Cultures Cope With Anxiety

How do different cultures cope with anxiety is a great question to ask yourself when looking to understand the subject of anxiety better. Together, looking at examples from cultures around the world, we’re going to try and help answer the question, how do different cultures cope with anxiety?

Anxiety isn’t something that just goes away or can be controlled with pills. Millions of people around the globe suffer with anxiety and or social phobia daily. Nobody is safe from the grips of this disorder. Anxiety and phobias know no borders or boundaries and can affect anyone, at any place or any time.

Perhaps the most common type of anxiety/phobia globally is SAD. SAD stands for Social Anxiety Disorder. Millions live with this every day and these numbers seem to keep growing. In the United States, The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that an average of 8% of adults suffer from anxiety of some form. Anxiety, particularly phobias, are the most predominant psychiatric illness found in women around the world. Phobia’s are also the second most common psychiatric illness found in men over the age of 25 per the  American Psychiatric Association.

The National Comorbidity Survey conducts research on statistical results pertaining to SAD and cultures worldwide. Studies point to signs that put certain ethnicities at risk as well as those in certain poverty levels. Though these surveys that were conducted by the NCS show us a great guideline for an alarming issue plaguing our world they only scratch the surface of this disorder and the lives affected by it. According to the NCS between 2001 and 2002 the most susceptible to SAD were young people, Native Americans and those in low income brackets.

Where Does Anxiety Strike the Most

In cultures where there is a high demand to have the finer things in life you will often find higher levels of anxiety in the opinion of many people. The stress of fitting in cause many people that we wouldn’t expect to suffer from anxiety attacks. Little do we know when they excuse themselves to use the restroom or step outside for some fresh air they are battling off the gripping effects of one of these anxiety attacks. Asia, America, Russia, and Europe see the highest level of diagnosed cases of anxiety disorders amongst their residents.

Added Stress of Fitting into the Status Quo

In general the way a particular culture copes with anxiety depends greatly upon the culture were looking at. In certain cultures around the world the work ethic is harder and more fierce than in other places. For example, in Asia the culture revolves highly around material items as a way of showing your success. Many people work long hours for basic wages in order to have these things and are okay with it. There also tends to be a lower anxiety rate amongst citizens in Asia compared to other countries.

Take a look at the United States and you see a different picture. People are always battling for wages and fighting for increases benefits and bonuses. They have a lot of companies that want to discuss feelings. Is this because American companies realize the importance of determining individuals who are susceptible to or have SAD?

Having social anxiety disorder does not make someone a bad worker it just means they don’t have the necessary skill set for certain positions. Many of these individuals who suffer from social anxiety disorder work diligently on a daily basis. The common treatment for anxiety and phobias is therapy. Sometimes this therapy is also followed up with Pharmaceuticals. The downside to Pharmaceuticals is the dangerous side effects. All too often those suffering with anxiety trade off their symptoms of anxiety or side effects from the pills they take to treat their anxiety.  Other cultures do not believe in man made chemical based pharmaceuticals and rely solely upon plant extracts and plant based medicines to help people cope with anxiety.

Pharmaceuticals are Not the Only Coping Mechanism

Prozac, Xanax, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Valium, and many other prescription drugs have a dangerous list of side effects that are very serious and very real. For this reason a lot of people who suffer with anxiety and are looking for a way to cope with their anxiety are turning to holistic medicine. These individuals are looking for a natural alternative to the prescription drugs currently prescribed for treatment of anxiety globally. Essential oils and plant extracts, combined with a healthy diet are helping many people to gain control of the symptoms they suffer with.

The way different cultures cope with anxiety greatly depends upon the culture. With a changing world that is being pumped full of information and knowledge thanks to the information era we’re starting to understand more about our neighbors. Not just next door but around the world. This understanding is helping us to paint a better picture when asking the question how do different cultures cope with anxiety?