Depression and Anxiety

Stress

Many of us who are leading busy lives struggle at times to focus and manage our attention due to all the distractions that we have.

Our modern 21st Century life has many distractions vying for our attention with the many platforms for communication being a good example. How many times have you dealt with simultaneous text conversations, email conversations and real time conversations at once?

If you have said to yourself ‘I wish there were more hours in the day’ you are at danger of being overloaded with stress.

Stress is a physiological response the mind/body has in response to any emotional, physical or environmental stressor that we encounter. We are programmed to do this as organisms and within the short term it is a beneficial survival response.

When faced with a threat the body releases stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) with increases the heart rate and causes blood pressure to rise. There is also an increase in blood glucose, an increase in blood lipid levels and an increase in protein breakdown of muscle and connective tissue into glucose for energy. These are all part of the flight or fight response and prime our body for action.

Chronic stress can have a negative impact on the body in association with these changes, it can lead to high blood pressure, insulin resistance due to constant high blood glucose, an increase in emotional responses (rather than thought out logical responses and decreased concentration. The decrease in serotonin levels and increase in adrenalin levels can lead to anxiety and depression.

This means that people who are chronically stressed can be irritable; suffer from mood changes, tension headaches, decreased sex drive, appetite changes and chronic fatigue.

Depression

When emptiness and despair take hold and won’t go away, it may be depression. More than just the temporary “blues,” the lows of depression make it tough to function and enjoy life.

Depression can make you feel helpless, hopeless, or empty and numb; but there’s a lot you can do to change how you feel. With help and support, you can overcome depression and get your life back.

The key to recovery is to start small and take things one day at a time.

Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day and draw on the support of others.

Family and friends are often the first line of defense in the fight against depression. That’s why it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of depression. You may notice the problem in a depressed loved one before he or she does, and your influence and concern can motivate that person to seek help.

There’s a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we love, but you can’t control a loved one’s depression. If you think that someone you know has depression, you might fear that if you bring up your worries he or she will get angry, feel insulted, or ignore your concerns. You may be unsure what questions to ask or how to be supportive.

If you don’t know where to start, the following suggestions may help. But remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice. Encourage the depressed person to talk about his or her feelings, and be willing to listen without judgment.

Don’t expect a single conversation to be the end of it. Depressed people tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. You may need to express your concern and willingness to listen over and over again. Be gentle, yet persistent.

Depression can be a debilitating illness and it’s treatment may involve medication, talking therapy or a combination of the two.

Anxiety

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

  • Are you constantly tense, worried, or on edge?
  • Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school, or family responsibilities?
  • Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational, but can’t shake?
  • Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things aren’t done a certain way?
  • Do you avoid everyday situations or activities because they cause you anxiety?
  • Do you experience sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic?
  • Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are around every corner?

Anxiety is the unpleasant feeling of fear that we all have experienced at some point in our lives. It is becomes a disorder when it is frequent and becomes overwhelming.

The physical effects of anxiety may include a fast heart rate, heart palpitations, tension, nausea, chest pain, tension headaches and shortness of breath.

As the body prepares to deal with the perceived threat blood pressure, heart rate, perspiration and blood flow to the major muscles groups is increased. External signs of anxiety may include sweating, trembling and pallor.

For someone who suffers from anxiety this may lead to a panic attack during which the person feels as though they are dying or losing control.

There are six major types of anxiety disorders, each with their own distinct symptom profile: generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder (anxiety attacks), phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

Treatment may involve medication, talking therapy or a combination of the two.