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Sociological Imagination: Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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“Anxiety is the signal of danger which mobilizes the human organism’s resources at all levels of functioning in the interests of conservation, defense, and self- preservation.” (Anxiety 1) If a person suffers from anxiety there is a major loss of control and then an attempt to regain that control because of a fear that they have. Anxiety disorders are one of the most frequently occurring mental disorders in the United States. However, anxiety disorders are not only found in the United States. They are found throughout the world. They just happen to be most predominating in the United States. In this paper, I will be discussing the generalized anxiety disorder and how if effects society today.

The sociological Imagination allows a person to look at a social problem past the particular circumstances of a certain person and look at how it affects people as a whole. Using this theory sociologist have been taught to ignore individuals and look at society as a whole. Social forces are a big part of the sociological imagination. Social forces are anything that affects society. So, a social forces could be anything from culture to government. C. Wright Mill was the American sociologist who first came up with the sociological imagination. In order to fully use the sociological imagination you must first have an understanding of his or her life and circumstances. The big part of his theory was to focus on social issues and not individual issues. Being able to take a perspective on any issue is very helpful because you can see what is causing it in many people and not just a certain individual. A Sociologist doesn’t ever study just one person; they study large groups of people. They bring together similar ideas and come to a conclusion on society as a whole. An important aspect of the sociological imagination is people effect social forces at the same time that social forces are effect people. The sociological imagination is most often used to explain major problems in society. This gives people an insight on why people do what they do.

Over 4 million adult American citizens are affects by generalized anxiety disorder currently. Generalized anxiety disorder affects women twice as much as it affects men. In a single year there is approximately “2.8% of the adult U.S. population ages 18 to 54” (mental health) It is most common in to diagnose generalized anxiety disorder in childhood or early adolescence but it can go unnoticed then. It will occasionally begin in adulthood but not often. It is sometimes difficult to diagnose anxiety because when people begin to have symptoms it is often mistaken for a heart attack. The symptoms are very alike. The loss of touch with reality, nausea, and numbness are all symptoms that are usually easy confused with a heart attack. The usual treatment for generalized anxiety disorder is medication and therapy. The therapy is usually cognitive-behavioral therapy. Acupuncture is a popular method of treatment that is fairly new. Anxiety causes a lot of tension in the body and acupuncture is supposed to release some of the tension.

Not using the sociological imagination there are many reason why a person may suffer from anxiety. A good example of a person who has anxiety disorder is a student who may get good grades but is constantly worried about failing at his schoolwork. Since, he worries all the time he develops a pattern that is fitting to generalized anxiety disorder. The student who finds that he cannot help worrying all the time has an individual factor in developing this disorder. Individual factors such as: irritability, shakiness, restlessness or having a feeling on being always on the edge, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, and being easily fatigued contribute to a person having generalized anxiety disorder. Using this method of looking at generalized anxiety disorder would be focusing just of the behavior of a single person. This would not allow any other factors to effect why a person would have this disorder. A sociologist would not just take this view. They would look at the broad view of this disorder in order to get a better understanding of this disorder.

Applying the Sociological imagination to this issue gives us a different look at this issue. Earlier sociologists have taught us that in order to fully understand an issue we need to look at the history of the people if effects. The family history of people greatly affects who this disorder plagues and who it doesn’t. Recently studies have shown that if a person is sensitive to high levels of anxiety because of a hereditary factor they are more apt for getting this disorder. This disorder has been shown to run in families. This information could be vital for a sociologist looking for answers. Thus, if a sociologist noticed that there was a large amount of people with this disorder in the same location it could be explained by looking at the family history. Looking at a genetic link would be very important in finding out why large amounts of people had this disorder in the same general location. If after looking at the people who had this disorder all shared some genetic link it would provide a good explanation to why they had this disorder. Another explanation for the disorder is cultural circumstances. Living in American can be very stressful. Many people find that life is just too overwhelming to deal with. Having this disorder may be greatly influenced by a person’s culture. Being on time is greatly stressed in American Culture today. Most people



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