Anxiety and depression, understand them and defeat them
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor
17th July, 20120 Comments
Perhaps the most common mental health issue today is that of anxiety and depression. The symptoms can be varied, wide ranging and unpleasant. Anxiety and depression are separate conditions, but they are frequently seen together.
Someone suffering from anxiety is likely to feel threatened or anxious in everyday situations where most people would not have those feelings. These feelings can come on with no apparent trigger and can be very emotionally disabling, with some sufferers being sure they are about to die. Women are nearly twice as likely to suffer from anxiety as men.
Depression on the other hand, affects our mood, we feel low, hopeless, and powerless even and we are easily drawn into anger. We can feel overwhelmed by our daily lives and struggle to do even the simplest of tasks. Women (1 in 4) are more likely to suffer than men (1 in 10).
Although different disorders, the anxiety and depression treatments are similar. If you go to see your GP they may prescribe anti-depressants to tackle how you are feeling and are likely to follow up with counselling or a talking therapy.
Studies have shown that in mild to moderate anxiety and depression that talking therapies can be very effective in getting patients back to their normal self.
There are three basic prongs to attacking depression and anxiety. The first two have already been mentioned.
Medication is about stabilising and improving your mood. Many people worry that they will ‘be on pills forever’ but this isn’t the case, your GP will only prescribe anti-depressants with a view to helping you get back to your usual self and after a period of time, gradually reduce them.
Counselling seeks to spend time examining both the anxious and the depressive thoughts. Sometimes it will be to challenge them, to try to understand the likelihood and the reality of them. Understanding how you process these thoughts and feelings and perhaps changing that process puts you in the driving seat. While it is usual to do this work with a counsellor, some people may be able to get the feedback they need from friends and family.
Finally there is self-help, it is known that relaxation is good in helping anxiety and depression and there is a wealth of free online resources available. Eating well and regularly give your body the fuel to fight the conditions. Gentle exercise makes a difference too. Although one recent study found exercise had no effect on depression, it looked at severe depression and other studies have shown a marked improvement for those working out.
In summary anxiety and depression can affect any of us during our lives. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of it is something that is treatable and can be overcome. Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill were both sufferers and they went on to be great leaders and so can you.
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