A new research study has determined that people with anxiety are naturally hard wired to see the world in a way that is different from how people without anxiety view it. This means that the idea that people who are anxious make the decisions that they do just to play it safe is not true. Those who are anxious have less ability to distinguish between safe and unsafe stimulus, and that this leads to over generalization. Individuals with anxiety who are exposed to new situations and stimulus are emotionally responsive even when the situation is nothing to be anxious about or it is irrelevant and not threatening in any way to someone who does not have anxiety. The study findings were published and discussed in the journal Current Biology.
According to Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel researcher Rony Paz, who took part in the research study on anxiety, “We show that in patients with anxiety, emotional experience induces plasticity in brain circuits that lasts after the experience is over. Such plastic changes occur in primary circuits that later mediate the response to new stimuli, resulting in an inability to discriminate between the originally experienced stimulus and a new similar stimulus. Therefore, anxiety patients respond emotionally to such new stimuli as well, resulting in anxiety even in apparently irrelevant new situations. Importantly, they cannot control this, as it is a perceptual inability to discriminate.” Paz went on to say that “Anxiety traits can be completely normal, and even beneficial evolutionarily. Yet an emotional event, even minor sometimes, can induce brain changes that might lead to full-blown anxiety.”