Brain Facts

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Mental illness is a matter of normative psychological extremes rather than novel pathology

Underlying mechanism of any mental illness is adaptive and present throughout the human population. A mental disorder is not a new and aberrant development of the human mind but an under- or over-representation of a native mechanism. Even schizophrenia, an extremely disabling disease, involves genes that have been selected for by evolutionary pressures because of their adaptive nature in healthy individuals.

Let’s examine nonclinical anxiety so that we can better understand clinical anxiety disorders.

“Anxiety” and “fear” are often used interchangeably but are considered separate entities in the neuroscientific community. Fear is the physiological reaction to something in our external or internal environment. Fear causes our heart to race when we see a snake in our path.

Anxiety on the other hand is the psychological and emotional reaction to the aforementioned environmental stimulus. Anxiety is the conscious worry and sense of subconscious unease that we experience when we observe the slithering serpent before us.

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