Understanding Depression and Anxiety
Life is full of twists, turns, and a variety of roadblocks. On this journey through life, it is very common to experience feelings of sadness, nervousness, confusion, doubt, guilt, and anger. At times, these feelings may linger, especially when they are triggered by an unpleasant or traumatic event or set of circumstances.
People have different experiences regulating and processing emotions. Some individuals may develop mental health disorders when exposed to high levels of stress, adverse outcomes, or emotional suppression. The influences of negative emotions, stress, and decreased psychological well-being may elicit depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety disorder are often discussed in the same context. The two conditions often go hand in hand. Nearly 50% of people who have depression are also diagnosed with anxiety.
Scientifically, both depression and anxiety are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. However, they are very different from one another. They are both complex and have unique effects on individuals.
If you wish to understand these illnesses more deeply, or if you are curious about how depression and anxiety can be addressed, we hope you find this article illuminating.
What Is Depression, and Where Does It Come From?
First and foremost, depression is a mood disorder. According to the World Health Organization, more than 264 million people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds suffer from depression. Depression is also the leading cause of disability worldwide.
There are many different types of depression and symptoms that are experienced in a variety of unique ways.
Some of the most common symptoms of depression include:
- Suppressed mood
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
- Change in appetite
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Trouble concentrating
- Slow movement
- Lack of energy
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
There is no one singular cause of depression. Depression may be caused by faulty mood regulation in the brain, medications, medical conditions, and genetic susceptibility. Depression is also commonly caused by a variety of stressors unique to the life of the individual.
Common stressors include:
- The loss of a loved one
- A break-up or divorce
- Being fired from a job
- Identity issues
- Difficulty in school or at work
What About Anxiety?
Anxiety disorder is the most prevalent mental illness, with an estimated 286 million people suffering around the globe.
Like depression, there are many unique forms, and differing degrees of anxiety disorder, and people experience symptoms differently.
Some common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Excessive worrying
- Trouble concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbance
- Panic attacks
Anxiety can also be caused by life’s stressors and is often triggered situationally. For instance, many people will become anxious in social situations, in the workplace, or before an event. Many young people will deal with anxiety related to school, while older people could experience anxiety related to finances or family matters.
When we discuss issues such as anxiety and depression, it is important not to generalize. While many similarities persist between sufferers of these conditions, we must remember that every individual’s situation and experience are largely unique.
Talking About Mental Health Today
In recent years, the discussion around mental health has become increasingly open. For generations, we have seen the effects that conditions like anxiety and depression have on individuals within society and how they manifest themselves.
Unaddressed, persisting mental health conditions have led millions into substance abuse, and more to commit suicide. The prevalence of these issues can no longer be ignored. The growing discussion surrounding mental health has led to increased research and a deeper understanding of how to proactively deal with common conditions such as anxiety and depression, including medication, talk therapy, and holistic healing.
Working Through Anxiety and Depression
If you believe that you are experiencing anxiety or depression, you are not alone. While these conditions are ubiquitous, they are also serious and should be addressed with the same importance as any other illness.
There are several unique ways to address anxiety and depression. Here, we will explore just a few.
Many doctors and medical professionals will suggest medication when it comes to dealing with mental health disorders. There are several different medicines with unique benefits and side effects.
Most medications will work to increase the levels of serotonin in the brain, which can work to improve one’s mood and mental clarity. Using medication can be extremely helpful to those who are suffering. However, if specific life events are contributing to the persistence of these conditions, it may also be beneficial to address these issues head-on, which brings us to our second technique: therapy.
Talk Therapy and Counseling
When experiencing difficult periods, many people will seek the support of a counselor or psychologist. These professionals are trained to understand the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety and can help individuals work through factors that may be contributing to their distress.
Having a safe and non-judgmental space to discuss your emotions, experiences, and past traumas can be extremely beneficial. Developing a better understanding of yourself and the personal pain you are facing can improve your ability to address these challenges more proactively.
Holistic Approaches to Healing
Not to be overlooked, holistic approaches to mental health can be transformational. Changes to one’s lifestyle, such as incorporating exercise, stretching, meditation, or a healthier diet, have all been known to reduce the symptoms of both anxiety and depression.
Taking up a creative or artistic hobby may also alleviate symptoms.
Overcoming mental afflictions like anxiety and depression can be a long and non-linear journey but choosing to get the support you need will likely lead to strength and resiliency in the long run.
While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, a combination of the beforementioned practices has helped lead many people towards a healthier and fulfilling life.
If you are suffering from anxiety, depression, or other related issues and are seeking professional support from a qualified counselor, Robin Bryant, Ph.D., is here to help. Reach out to book an appointment today.