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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

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/.

Healthy Stress

The phrase “healthy stress” may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s actually a reality. Stress is inescapable; everyone feels some stress at some points throughout their lives. Our bodies are therefore equipped to handle certain types and amounts of stress. We can even benefit from it.

So what is the difference between healthy and unhealthy stress? What makes stress healthy? Here are some things to think about regarding stress and its role in your health.

Healthy Stress

-The Great Motivator
Without stress, not very much would get done. Stress is what drives you to teach your kids proper behavior, to earn money, and to pay your bills on time. It is what keeps you on your toes in a football game or when catching your tumbling toddler. A certain amount of stress about traffic accidents motivates you to drive safely.

-Reaction Time
Did you feel stress when that person cut you off in traffic? The stress response was partially responsible for your quick pressure on the brakes! Stress can motivate us into quick, sometimes life-saving action. In the case of an emergency, one of your stress hormones – adrenaline – kicks in, and prompts you to act quickly and sometimes with remarkable strength.

-Endorphins
Endorphins are the “feel good” neurotransmitters. When the body is stressed or in pain, its natural pain relievers are released in the form of endorphins. Exercise is a healthy way to bring this kind of endorphin-releasing stress onto your body. While you should not exercise to the point of unbearable pain, it’s okay to “feel the burn” and push yourself a little. Massage therapy and acupuncture can also stimulate the release of endorphins.

-Other Health Benefits
Experts are finding anti-tumor activity in people who undergo healthy stress, indicating that healthy stress stimulates the immune system.

 

Unhealthy Stress

-Constant
The unhealthy type of stress is constant. You do not return to a normal energy level after it has passed. Unhealthy stress can take the form of constant worry, depression, and exhaustion. It can cause weight gain as well due to the release of cortisol, the “stress hormone.”

-Immunity
Continual stress weakens the immune system. That can leave you more susceptible to everyday illnesses and more serious problems such as cancer.

-Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
People who are chronically stressed usually worry about common, everyday things over which they have no control. These are the kinds of things that are not going to go away, such as paying bills, keeping the house clean, and so forth. Once one set of worries is tackled, another set comes along. Accepting these annoyances as part of life can go a long way in helping you cope with unhealthy stress.

For getting your body back into natural sleep patterns, we also recommend trying Nature Sleep. We have personally used this as a substitute for PM products.

Thanks for reading!

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Anxiety Propranolol

Just to start off, we are in total agreement with this article and always recommend natural anxiety remedies, like Ayurveda treatments over medication.  Of course before starting any type of treatment, consult your doctor.

There are a few experts in the medical community that are starting to recognize the potential use of Ayurveda treatments as alternatives to anxiety medication. The Indian medicinal system has had centuries of experience and results to support it, but there are some doubts on whether or not it has any concrete provisions for mental illnesses. It is true, though, that Ayurveda philosophy can find an explanation for anxiety, as well as some ideas on how it can be treated.

Whenever someone speaks of something like an alternative system of medicine, such as Ayurveda, most people think of the physical aspects of health. Most people don’t associate things like emotional development, psychology, and anxiety medication to a system like Ayurveda. This is a reasonable assumption to make, mainly because systems like Ayurveda have always focused more on a combination of the physical and spiritual. Matters of the mind were viewed as outside the physical realm and, in a Western context, were seen as affairs to be handled by religious authorities. Other problems, such as anxiety and depression, may not have been recognized and, thus, were not studied under the purview of medicinal systems. Some doctors, most notably neurologist Dr. David Simon of the Chopra Center, believes that Ayurveda might be a legitimate alternative to anxiety medication and treatment.


Anxiety, in the context of Ayurveda, is rooted in movements of things within a person’s perception of what he is and what is in his domain. In theory, things that enter into a person’s sphere of influence by force, such as a critical comment or pressures from work, can cause an imbalance in the mind and body. In a similar manner, a person would also need anxiety medication if something that was within their sphere of influence was forcibly taken from it, such as their sense of security or ability to perform certain tasks. These unwanted gains and losses can create imbalances in the harmony of the body that will persist until properly treated. Ultimately, the pain caused by this violation of one’s sphere of influence causes pain that people must deal with. However, by ignoring it, bottling it up inside, denying it, or not dealing with it, that pain can cause further imbalance. Such imbalances, in the context of Ayurveda, can cause problems like depression, mood disorders, and anxiety.

How, then, would Ayurveda propose to fix this problem?

Like Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda is about restoring balance to the body. Problems that create the need for medical intervention, whether it comes in the form of antihistamines or anxiety medication, are caused by imbalances of certain factors in the body. These imbalances can be corrected using a variety of means, which include herbal tinctures, special massage techniques, meditation, and even the appropriate dietary adjustments. However, anxiety is a problem firmly rooted in things like emotions and thoughts, factors that Western medicine views as being controlled by the chemical balance of the brain. To the average patient, who likely does not have too much knowledge of Ayurveda or how it works, there is very little that any alternative medical system can do to alleviate psychological or psychiatric conditions.

Why does this all matter?

Ayurveda’s philosophy with dealing with something like anxiety reflects a staple of psychiatric therapy: release. Practitioners, as stated above, believe that pain caused by violations of a person’s sphere of self can cause anxiety – among other mental and mood conditions. This build-up of pain and emotions causes more than just cognitive effects; it also touches upon a person’s physical well-being. Ayurveda practitioners help their patients locate this physical manifestation and proceed to attempt to correct it. They also promote finding ways to physically release that pain, but are not specific on how. It could be taking a walk or hitting a pillow, so long as it allows the patient to acknowledge, accept, and release the emotional build-up inside them.

We thought this video offered a little assistance with regards to Ayurveda and our helpful friend Hasmi Minth, explains some natural home remedies.

For getting your body back into natural sleep patterns, we also recommend trying Nature Sleep. We have personally used this as a substitute for PM products.

Thanks for reading!

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