Depression

Depression and Anxiety

Whether we realize it or not, most people have feeling of depression or anxiety at some point. There are many situations that come up during the course of life that contributes to these feelings: stress at your job, going through a divorce or break up, losing a loved one, financial stress and concerns and many more. These situations, when they occur, lead to feeling lonely, scared, sad, nervous, anxious, and sometimes all of the above all at once.  These are perfectly normal reactions to dealing with the stress that we all feel in life.

 Some people, however, deal with these types of feelings on a near daily basis for (it seems) little or no apparent reason. This can make it incredibly difficult to carry out normal, everyday tasks and follow normal routines. These feelings are a sign of depression or anxiety disorder or both.  It is not uncommon for a person suffering from depression to also have anxiety disorder or vice versa. Almost 50% of those who are diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with anxiety disorder. Even though this can seem insurmountable, the good news is that both are treatable, either separately or together.

Depression

The basis for depression is that with this condition a person will feel sad, discouraged, hopeless and unmotivated. A complete disinterest in life in general will many times accompany these feelings.  Many people experience these feelings for short periods of time and just feel ‘down’ or have ‘the blues’. For these people, the feelings do not last and come in short burst. The person then moves on and continues living life normally after the symptoms subside.When these types of feelings last for weeks or months or even years, they are then a major depressive episode. When daily activities start to be affected on a continual basis, depression has set in. Things like taking care of your family, spending time with friends, going to work or to school, become unachievable, and this is how you know you are suffering from depression.

Depression is one of the most common disorders in the United States, but yet it is one that we like to talk about the least. Major depression affects the way a person thinks and feels, and behaves and functions, but it is treatable. An estimated 15.7 million adults over the age of 18 have reported experiencing at least one major depressive episode in the last year. That number represents nearly 7% of all adult Americans, both male and female. The lifetime risk for suffering depression is about 17% and at any given time 3%-5% of our population may be suffering from major depressive symptoms. This disease even affects young children and teens, as many as 2% of children and 8% of teens may have serious depression.

There are three main types of depression or depressive disorders: major depression, persistent depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder. Any of these can also occur along with anxiety disorders.

Major depression can encompass some or all of these symptoms:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, including sex
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Low appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and pain for which no other cause can be diagnosed

These symptoms will occur over a two-week period (or longer) and these episodes are disabling.  They will interfere with a person’s ability to work, eat, sleep study, or pay attention. Major depressive episodes such as this may happen as little as once or twice in a lifetime or they may occur and reoccur frequently.  They can also be brought on spontaneously be an event such as a death of a loved one, a divorce or break-up, a medical illness or another stressful event. Sometimes people with major depression might feel like life is not worth living and will attempt suicide.

Persistent depressive disorder (also known as PDD) is a form of depression that occurs over a much greater length of time. This type of depression continues for at least two years and sometimes well beyond. It is less severe than major depression but it involves at least five of the same symptoms, the most common being poor appetite, low energy level, overeating, insomnia, or over-sleeping. People suffering from PDD also tend to be irritable, feel stressed, and have a hard time deriving pleasure from activities that they would have enjoyed previously.

Bipolar disorder (once known as manic depression) is characterized by extreme shifts in moods. Very severe highs to severe lows are common occurrences.

During the manic phase a person might experience abnormal feelings of elation, a decreased need for sleep, increased talking and racing thoughts, increased sexual appetite, increased energy and inappropriate social behavior.

During the depressive phase, these people suffer the same symptoms as those of major depressions. Mood swings are often gradual, but they can occur abruptly as well.

Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety and depression disorders are different but people with depression often experience anxiety as well.  Anxiety is one of the most pervasive mental health issues that we are facing today and finding definitive causes can sometimes be difficult.  Trauma, fears, and worries can cause anxiety as can other mental health issues, as well as substances.  Many factors can lead to a person experiencing anxiety disorder.

 

 

The most common symptoms of anxiety disorder are:

  • A decrease in energy
  • A weakened immune system resulting in a person getting sick much more often and for longer periods of time.
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive issues including indigestion, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
  • Tooth aches, jaw aches, and headaches caused by a person clenching their jaws both when sleeping and awake.
  • Over perspiring and shaking. This is a visible and often time embarrassing symptom of anxiety disorder.
  • Loss of sex drive and performance

More than 3 million people suffer from anxiety disorder each year in the United States. The good news is that it is often self-diagnosable and treatable by a medical professional. Sometimes counseling is enough to help a person through anxiety disorder, but other times antidepressants are an option.

All age groups are subject to feeling anxiety and there are a number of self-help options for people from stress management systems to meditation. Support groups are often very helpful as well. Family and friends can often help simply by learning more about the specifics of anxiety disorder.

If you feel suicidal or need immediate assistance, call us toll free at 855-627-1162

Chris Cornell Depression

People in all walks of life suffer from depression. People in any field you can name, be it a police officer, a construction worker, a teacher, a nurse, a bartender, suffer from depression.  In the technological day and age we live in, we obsess on the musicians and movie stars and entertainers that suffer from depression and anxiety issues simply because those people are in the news. They are in the public eye all the time, so you hear about them. The truth about depression and anxiety is that it affects people everywhere. Normal people just like you and me. Depression knows no social boundaries and just because you don’t hear about the grocery store clerk who is suffering, doesn’t mean that they aren’t out there. Suffering.

 

 

The notion that certain people in certain professional fields such as musicians are more predetermined or maybe predisposed to have issues with drugs and alcohol and thereby suffer from depression is not necessarily true. If a person has those tendencies within them, those tendencies are going to come out at some point in life. Whether you sing in a rock band or work on cars for a living, it doesn’t matter. You can still have issues with substance abuse and still suffer from anxiety and depression. As a society, we tend to over publicize the famous people who have these issues and we tend to forget the people who are in our lives every day that may suffer from the same symptoms.

Why does this all matter?

The good news is that because of people like Chris Cornell or Prince there is help available. There are organizations who are working to reach out to help people in everyday walks of life who fight depression issues every day. It is not easy, but you can fight it and you can beat it.  You don’t have to be famous to reach out to someone who will understand what you are going through. Nobody is immune. It can affect anybody and everybody and there is help and support available even if you didn’t know it.  At the end of the day, you can overcome substance abuse problems. You can overcome crippling depression and anxiety and there is hope.

Veterans and Depression

Men who enroll in the military service are now at risk for developing different mental health disorders, according to the Institute of Medicine. According to them, military service in a war zone increases a service members’ chance of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, other anxiety disorders, and depression. Serving in a war also increases the chances of alcohol abuse, accidental death, and suicide within the first few years after leaving the war zone. War veterans are also prone to marital and family conflict, including domestic violence due to their psychological and emotional distress. These trouble signs have prompted the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the scientific and medical evidence concerning associations between deployment-related stress and long-term adverse effects on health.

Issues with drug abuse, incarceration, unexplained illnesses, chronic fatigue syndrome, gastrointestinal symptoms, skin diseases, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain may also be associated with the stress of being in a war, but the evidence to support these links is weaker. For other health problems and adverse effects that the committee reviewed, the information lacks or is contradictory; the committee could not determine whether links between these ailments and deployment-related stress exist.

Although the report cannot give definite answers regarding the connection between these health problems and the stress of war, it is clear that veterans who were deployed to war zones self-report more medical conditions and poorer health than veterans who were not deployed. The committee found out that those who were deployed and have post-traumatic stress disorder, in particular, tend to report more symptoms and poorer health. Post-traumatic stress disorder often occurs together with other anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse. Its prevalence and severity is associated with an increased exposure to combat.

A continuous obstacle in obtaining better evidence that would yield clear answers is the lack of pre- and post-deployment screenings of physical, mental, and emotional status. Conducting comprehensive, standardized evaluations of service member’s medical conditions, psychiatric symptoms, and diagnosis, and psychosocial status and trauma history before and after deployment to war zones is necessary, according to the US Department of Defense. Such screenings would provide baseline information for comparisons and data to determine long-term consequences of deployment-related stress. In addition, they would help identify at-risk personnel who might benefit from targeted intervention programs during deployment, such as marital counseling or therapy for psychiatric or other disorders, and help the necessary organizations choose in which intervention programs to implement for veterans adjusting to post-deployment life.

It is a long battle between countries, and the only thing that could make these people at war happy would be the memories of their family and friends. Such psychological illnesses or disorders can happen almost any time, since these people are vulnerable to their environment. War is such a negative concept to look at, and these people experience war each time they wake up. Such negativity is bound to take its toll to the person, whether they may have good relations back at home. By simply looking back at those happy moments, these people at war would really appreciate life compared to what they see now.

There are services across the country to help our war veterans in the healing process, by offering companion animals.  One of our favorites here in Montana is Dog Tag Buddies. Dog Tag Buddies is dedicated to providing veterans with hidden injuries opportunities to lead more fulfilling lives. They provide NO cost services in the adoption and training of rescued dogs to become emotional support animals or service dogs depending on the needs of the individual veteran.

Another related service in the US is http://www.petsforvets.com/.

Basic Anxiety Information

It is normal for a person to be anxious. Anxiety often triggers whenever an individual encounters distressing and aggravating experiences or events in their lives. It is basically a part of a person’s innate response to life problems and worries. Anxiety is also one way of indicating possible dangers that might happen.

However, it is no longer normal if the anxiety condition comes with extreme worrying and fear that prevents a person from living the accustomed life they would want to. When this happens, that person may have developed an anxiety disorder.

Today, having or experiencing anxiety disorders is quite common among stressed individuals. Fortunately for people diagnosed with anxiety disorders, there are already a number of compelling treatments for these types of conditions. As such, knowing the basic anxiety information will aid people in the foremost details of this disorder.

Defining anxiety disorder

Anxiety disorder generally covers different types of aberrant forms of phobias, fears, and worries. One may have sudden worrying attacks for no reason at all. A person may experience consuming panic attacks that often trigger without any warning. Anxiety may also come in the form of compulsions and obsessions, or one may develop a phobia of a situation, event , or object that normally do not bother other people.

Although anxiety disorder comes in many types and forms, it is basically the same in one thing: they are persistent and they trigger quite powerfully. The severity and cycle of these anxiety disorders can be disruptive, immobilizing, and distressing.

Signs of anxiety disorders

One of the most important aspects of basic anxiety information is to know the symptoms and signs of this condition. Anxiety disorders have varied physical and emotional symptoms.

Emotional or psychological signs include:

  1. Dread and uneasiness
  2. Avoidance
  3. Irritability
  4. Strong desire to escape
  5. Confusion
  6. Jumpiness or nervousness
  7. Insecurity

Physical symptoms include:

  1. Chills
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Fatigue
  4. Insomnia
  5. Headache
  6. Muscle tension and aches
  7. Clammy hands
  8. Heart palpitations

The symptoms enumerated above are only a few of the common emotional and physical indications of having an anxiety disorder. Since there are quite a number of physical symptoms associated to anxiety disorders, some people tend to assume that they have health issues. Hence, it is really best to know the many physiological aspects of anxiety to avoid confusion.

Treating Anxiety

People who are suffering from anxiety disorder have really no excuse for consulting their conditions because there are a lot of acknowledged treatments today that are actually quite effective. Among the top recommended treatments for anxiety are cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication.

  • Medication
    Most doctors prescribed medications like anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drugs as short term treatments for anxiety. Medications are recommended among patients suffering from this condition as they act as supplementary treatments once other types of therapies are taken. However, anxiety drugs and medications may become addictive when abused.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
    One very effective form of anxiety treatment is the Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or CBT. This treatment aims to change the behavior and cognition patterns of a person suffering from severe case of anxiety. This treatment is generally conducted within 12 to 20 weeks, with the patient undergoing either in an individual or group therapy.
Anxiety Check

Exhausted from all the job-related tasks that you have to deal with everyday? Have the papers piled up so high that you can no longer see the person next to you? Do you now see your job as a drag? Just maybe, you may no longer be enjoying your work. You are now bored and somehow expect to be in the middle of a work performance catastrophe. In the back of your mind, you already know that your poor performance may lead you back to the unemployment line.

Stress and anxiety brought by everyday challenges at work can affect a person’s interest and skills in the office. Even if most people are aware of how much competition there is out in the market where only the best lands a job, the stress and anxiety can really take a toll on even the most promising professional. Stress and anxiety, no matter how one tries to avert it, is like a hovering vulture that persistently waits to feast on a “dead-tired” person.

But nobody in his right mind would just give up. Even those who say they already hate their job try to revive all the passion they once had for their job or the company. So instead of just waiting to get axed, why don’t you try and consider the following tips on how to get back your drive for work:

Check on your ego. This is the first thing that you must look into as you go along your self-check routine because one’s ego is the hardest thing to overcome. Aside from stress and anxiety at by work, being egocentric brings unnecessary worries and apprehensions. It is but natural to hear unsolicited comments or advice from some colleagues and superiors. While some comments may be harmful and unfounded, a little criticism taken in a positive way can actually help improve your performance.

Check on what you know. Updating one’s knowledge is very essential to improving one’s craft. Competition in the workplace leaves no room for mediocrity. Those who do not try to improve themselves are actually more prone to stress and anxiety. Jealousy, intrigue, and unfair competition can hurt not only the employees but the company as well. A worker that strives to improve his performance will have lesser things to worry about since he lets his work and outputs do the talking.

Managing stress and anxiety in the office can be done through many ways. It is the same way with improving one’s work performance. Getting ahead does not always mean being in a frenzy. Improving one’s work and reducing anxiety may actually entail the act of “slowing down.” This is best illustrated in the story of a young woodcutter who tried to impress his boss by always hitting trees in full force every time he swung his axe. On his first day on the job, the young woodcutter fell the most number of trees. He was trying to show his commitment to the job by never taking breaks. He just kept swinging at the trees with his axe. But after the third day, the Chief Woodcutter approached the young apprentice and asked, “How come you now cut less number of trees as you did during the first two days? Even if you did not take breaks, you still finished at the bottom in our team of woodcutters.”

Finally, the Chief Woodcutter asked the young lad, “Did you sharpen your axe?”

Find out more about getting support for anxiety and depression.

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From a religious stand-point, Jesus once asked his 12 disciples: “Which of you by worrying can add a single strand of hair to your head?” Now, you may be of a religious background or maybe not, but, think about that statement and you’d see why worrying, a main symptom of anxiety depression is quite unnecessary.

Reduced to its simplest form, what is worry? It is simply an unhealthy and destructive mental habit that- believe it or not folks-you were not born with but simply acquired out of practice. The good news is, with aggressive actions, as with any habit and acquired attitude; we can be worry free and eliminate it from our lives successfully.

In the words of Dr. Smiley Blanton, a noted Psychiatrist: “Anxiety depression is the great modern plague.” Other psychologists go on to say ‘worry’ a noted symptom of any form of depression, is the most subtle and destructive of all human diseases. When we worry excessively, we disintegrate our inner workings as humans and really put a lot of things out of order. Needless to say avoiding worry as a step of treating depression and anxiety will be the first step for our own benefit.

Anxiety Depression: Steps to take to be Worry Free:

The following steps should be used to deal with anxiety depression and its main symptom, worry. When used wisely and effectively, you will inevitably be successful at these natural depression help techniques.

  1. Practice Mind-drainage: Empty your mind of pessimistic and negative thoughts, especially before going to and after waking up from sleep. This involves some degree of imagination friends. (the same imagination-mind you-that you are actually using to aggravate your present situations…didn’t realize that eh?). This mind-draining strategy cannot be overemphasized as I will let you know, if you fear something for a long period of time, it may actually come to pass. “For the thing which I feared has come upon me…” (Job 3:25)
  2. Fill up the mind with powerful thoughts of faith and success to fill up the vacuum now left in the mind. You become a worrier by practicing it, you can be worry-free by practicing the opposite.
  3. Say positive things about those things you previously spoke negatively of.
  4. Never participate in a worry conversation. Induce your conversation with faith and worry-free statements.
  5. Make friends with optimistic people, practice prayer and meditation.
  6. Exercise and eat right. You’ll be making yourself look and feel better and consequently stronger through the process for overcoming depression, anxiety and becoming worry free.

No one is saying things will be automatically changed overnight. No, it takes work. However with direct and equally aggressive actions as the destructive worry habits one may be indulging in, anxiety depression can be overcome and you too can be worry free if you believe in your mind you can.

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Sigmund Freud, the Father of Psychoanalysis, came up with his own theory of explaining the occurrence of anxiety and depression as part of human experience. His explanation of this phenomena traces its origin from the three divisions of the psyche. According to Freud, the human psyche is divided into the id, ego, and superego. These three divisions are only acquired eventually as a person also grows. To have a better understanding of the psyche and its three divisions, one should start with the world and its components.

The world is made up of numerous and different components, and one of those components is the human organism. A human organism has a special ability to survive and reproduce, his guiding force being his needs such as hunger, thirst, fear of pain and sex. It should be noted that these needs are part of a person’s unconscious mind. A person’s psyche is sensitive to these needs and transforms them into instincts, drives or wishes. This division of the psyche functions with a process called the “pleasure principle” and it is described as the id’s responsibility to take care of the needs immediately. This behavior is mostly observed during infancy just like when a baby cries when it is hungry or thirsty. However, when a person’s need is not satisfied by the id his or her need just becomes stronger.

This need then enters the conscious mind which is associated to another division of the psyche. This part of the psyche is called the ego and it relates a person’s consciousness or reality. This part of the psyche operates based on the “reality principle.” The reality principle is about the belief that the ego will respond to satisfy the need as soon as it finds the appropriate object to satisfy it. However, as the ego continuously responds to an organism’s needs, it sometimes experiences obstacles against attaining its goals as well as things that assist it to attain the goals. The ego keeps track of these two types of factors, particularly the rewards and punishments that are given by two of the most influential persons in an organism’s life, his or her parents. The records that the ego keep about obstacles to avoid and the strategies it must take are all passed onto the superego, the third division of a person’s psyche. It is only when someone is around five or seven years old that this part of the psyche becomes complete.

That’s not all…

The superego is divided into two subparts, the conscience and the ego ideal. The conscience is the internalization of the punishments and the warnings while the ego ideal is based on the rewards and positive models that a person had encountered. The superego, together with its subparts, communicate their own requirements to the ego through feelings such as shame, guilt, and pride. Because of the existence of the superego, a person also acquires a new set of needs as well as wishes. However, these new sets of needs are based on social rather than biological origins. These new wishes coming from the superego are sometimes in conflict with the wishes from the id, often leaving the ego overwhelmed or threatened.

This overwhelmed and threatened feeling of the ego is where anxiety comes from. According to Freud, there are three kinds of anxiety. The first kind is called realistic anxiety and it takes the form of human fears which are consequences of threats from the physical world. The second one is known as moral anxiety and it is a result of the threat that the ego perceives from the social world. It usually takes the form of feelings such as guilt, shame, and fear of punishment. Finally, the third kind of anxiety is called neurotic anxiety and it is a result of the fear of being overwhelmed by the impulses from the id.

In order for the ego to deal with these threats without feeling overwhelmed, it sometimes unconsciously blocks the impulses or distorts them into more acceptable forms. This process of blocking and distorting is what Freud called a “defense mechanism.”

Defense mechanisms come in various forms. One mechanism in particular is called turning against self. This happens when a person feels negative impulses such as hatred, aggression, and anger towards others but displaces these impulses to one’s self. This explains human emotions of inferiority, guilt, and depression. Depression, Freud further explains, actually results from anger that a person refuses to acknowledge.

Why does this all matter?

As more and more people, nowadays, experience having problems with regards to their anxieties and depression, a better understanding of these concepts from a Freudian perspective can actually help in resolving it. According to Freud, resolution can only be achieved when a person is made aware of those experiences or ideas in the unconscious and therapy be directed to the root of the problems which are most likely rooted in the unconscious.

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