Anxiety And Depression

ANXIETY

Everyone feels anxious from time to time. In fact, experiencing mild anxiety may actually help a person become more alert and focused on facing challenging circumstances. But individuals who experience extended periods of heightened fear and worry may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can be characterized by an uneasy sense that something bad is going to happen, sudden intense feelings of panic, a phobic response to a specific object or situation, uncontrollable thoughts and behavior rituals, and severe emotional trauma resulting from a disastrous event. Anxious symptoms include extreme fear, shortness of breath, racing heart beat, insomnia, nausea, trembling, upset stomach, dizziness, sweaty palms, and tension headaches. Anxiety disorders can often restrict activities of daily living.

Most anxiety disorders can be treated successfully by appropriately trained mental health professionals. Through counseling, individuals can begin to understand how their thoughts contribute to the symptoms of anxiety. They can learn behavioral techniques, such as relaxation and deep breathing, to reduce the physiological response to anxiety. With support, individuals can gradually confront and tolerate fearful situations in a controlled, safe environment so that they can once again function effectively in their lives.

DEPRESSION

Depression is a real illness that can interfere with daily life activities. Individuals who are depressed can feel helpless and hopeless, and may blame themselves for having these feelings. They may lack energy and motivation and feel that life is overwhelming. Withdrawing from family and friends and routine activities is another symptom of depression. Some individuals may even have thoughts of death and suicide. Depression can be caused by changes in body chemistry, or other biological factors. It can also be a signal that certain emotional aspects of a person’s life are out of balance.

Depression, however, is highly treatable when the individual receives competent care. People with depression who do not seek help suffer needlessly. Counseling can help in identifying the life problems associated with the depression and support the individual in taking steps to resolve or improve these situations. It can also help the individual gain understanding about unhealthy thoughts and behaviors that may be contributing to the depression. Counseling can help people begin to regain a sense of control and pleasure in life.