ANXIETY & DEPRESSION
The feeling of sadness is a valid and expected condition of every human. It is inevitable that each of us will experience loss, grief, and heartache at various points in our lives. While it is normal and healthy to experience sadness, a feeling of lingering sadness that is unattached to circumstances, is likely a sign of clinical depression.
Depression is more than merely feeling “down” or “sad.” It’s a disorder that directly impacts brain function, causing things like memory loss, inflammation, sleep disorders, reduced functioning, behavior changes, and impaired immune system. Beyond the already devastating internal effects of depression, these body and brain changes also impact the way we relate with others which can impact friendships, romantic relationships and careers and also increase the likelihood of engaging in harmful coping behaviors such as addiction or self-harm.
Clinical depression effects about 7% of the U.S. population. Clinical depression refers to a chemical imbalance in the brain that impacts overall functioning and mood. This experience is often long lasting or cyclical in nature in terms of how it is experienced. Clinical depression is believed to have genetic components as well. If you are suffering from this type of depression, it is important to consult your doctor about exploring medications to address the chemical patterns in the brain. Additionally, therapy is strongly recommended to address the social and functional effects of this disorder and help you develop ways to manage the symptoms. There is also typically a presence of past or current trauma that impacts the experience of depression. Being able to process difficult history in a safe environment has a positive impact on brain and body health.
When it comes to treating anxiety, research shows that therapy is usually the most effective option. That’s because anxiety therapy – as opposed to anxiety medication – treats more than just symptoms to the problem.
Physical symptoms of anxiety:
- being tense or jumpy
- Low libido
- Rapid breathing or hyperventilation
- Increased or heavy sweating
- Trembling or muscle twitching
- Weakness or lethargy
- Stomach problems
*physical symptoms are cues that you shouldn’t ignore your anxiety
Mental symptoms of anxiety:
- Nervousness or restlessness
- Perfectionism or workaholism (this is sometimes called high-functioning anxiety)
- Difficulty focusing or thinking clearly about anything other than the thing you’re worried about
- Obsessions about certain ideas, a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Anxiety surrounding a particular life event or experience that has occurred in the past, a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder
- Disinterest in sex
- Feelings of danger, panic or dread
Therapy can help to uncover the underlying causes of your worries and fears, learn how to relax, look at situations in a new, less frightening way, and develop better coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills.
I also offer EMDR and Brainspotting, which is a great way to address both depression and anxiety. Learn more about those therapies here.
Feel your emotions, don’t feed them.