Blog - Recovery College

ByAnxious Minds

How Anxiety And Depression Are Connected

Depression is a disorder that does not get nearly enough attention.

Depressed people are often told to “cheer up” or to “look at the bright side” of things, and may spiral even more profound when they are unable to simply snap out of the mood that has such a hold on them. While depression can often lead to fatigue and listlessness, it has a close cousin by the name of anxiety. Anxiety causes the opposite effect, putting our bodies into the “fight or flight” mode that protected us in the wild.

Anxiety attacks can feel like heart attacks, and even at more moderate levels, anxiety can have a dangerous and very harmful effect on our lives and on our quality of living. Stress can also lead to depression when a sense of worry and fear for the future leads to the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. That is a classic symptom of depression. Depression and anxiety are often seen together, and can sometimes lead to one another.

Anxiety is a way of describing a particular form of feeling. It may represent a sense of fear, dread, or a sense that you are in immediate danger, even when you are safe and have no reason to feel this way. There are several different kinds of anxiety disorders, including phobias or irrational fears, situational anxiety, panic disorders, generalised anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorders, among others.

These disorders can lead to a state of almost constant high stress and can affect your daily life much to the worse. You may be unable to function in certain situations, or you may come to fear to leave your own home. If untreated, the symptoms of anxiety disorders can lead to many of the same problems as depression, including insomnia or a reluctance or fear to leave the house or to be around other people.

Anxiety symptoms can also feel like heart attacks, with palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pains, and more. You might begin trembling and shaking, your mouth might go dry, and you might become dizzy from the stress of the situation. The body becomes “hyped up” by your reaction to the job, and your senses go into a sort of overdrive that is unlike the depression of the system that happens when you suffer from clinical depression.

Depression disorder actually slows the body in some ways, making you feel sluggish rather than ready to run or fight, and hopeless rather than actively panicked or fearful. If you have been suffering from anxiety attacks, the attacks themselves may lead into depression because of the hopelessness that you feel at the hands of the attacks and because of the fears that are associated with possibly having another attack.

If your anxiety symptoms have changed to include listlessness, disinterest in things that used to engage you, or feelings of hopelessness and self-loathing, then you may now be suffering from a depression disorder and should be treated accordingly for your medical condition.

Depression is not a constant state of being, nor is anxiety. You might think that because you have a good number of “good days” that your depressive days are just bad moments that will pass, however, depression can become worse over time if it is not treated and taken care of, and can lead to suicide if left untreated long enough.

Anxiety can worsen over time as well if it is not handled properly. There are ways to help with anxiety, even without medication. Therapies are different depending on the type of anxiety that affects you and on the level of anxiety that you suffer. For a phobia, you might be exposed at increasing levels to the thing that you are afraid of. Other therapies might require talking your problems out, and others might provide techniques to help you ride out your panic attacks and get on with life without letting them affect you more than necessary.

Depression treatments are also varied, mostly depending on your personal preference. Medication can provide you with an effective way of dealing with depression; however, medicine is not for everyone. If you are not interested in medication, then you might consider other kinds of therapies with a psychologist who has experience working with depression.

Depression and anxiety are related disorders that can have a significant impact on your overall health and quality of life if left untreated. However, both are manageable conditions that do not have to affect your daily life.

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ByAnxious Minds

Do Not Let Anxiety Get The Better Of You In Your Relationships

It can be tough to deal with managing your anxiety while in a relationship. Maintaining a relationship is tough enough let alone having to deal with your anxieties. As a result, here is a list of techniques and suggestions on what to do in managing your anxieties while being in a relationship.

In a relationship, we may sometimes encounter a scary situation that gets us all upset. When encountering these events, always remember to get all of the facts of the given situation. Gathering facts can prevent us from relying on exaggerated and fearful assumptions. By focusing on the facts, a person can rely on what is a reality and what is not.

Sometimes we get stressed out when everything happens all at once. When this happens, a person should take a deep breathe and try to find something to do for a few minutes to get their mind off of the problem. A person could get some fresh air or do something that will give them a fresh perspective on things.

Be smart in how you deal with your stresses in a relationship. Do not try to tackle everything all at once. When facing a current or upcoming task that overwhelms you with a lot of anxiety, break the task into a series of smaller steps. Completing these smaller tasks one at a time will make the stress more manageable and increases your chances of success.

Make a list of all the things that you enjoy in your current relationship. The next time you get anxious or fearful, look at your list and remind yourself of the good parts in being with that person. This technique will put your fears and anxieties in a relationship into perspective.

Sometimes, it helps to be able to talk to someone about our stressful situations. Talking to a trusted friend, counsellor, or clergyman can not only make us feel better, but they might be able to give you additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem.

Although I am a layman and not a professional I have interviewed many psychologists and clergyman and I have over fifteen years of experience in dealing with fear. Dealing with our persistent fears in a relationship is not easy, however, there are many helpful resources available to us if you look hard enough.

www.anxiousminds.co.uk

ByAnxious Minds

Depression Suicide: What to do if a loved one is Suicidal

Depression, characterised by erratic mood swings, loss of interest in hobbies and activities is a very serious emotional disorder affecting about 9.5 per cent of the nation.

Needless to say, it is could be a lot more fatal if a depressed person is heading towards suicide.

Therefore, here are some signs to know if your loved one is considering suicide as a result of depression.

Depression Suicide: Warning Signs to be Aware of

1. Mentions of Suicide or Death
2. Wanting to tie up loose ends or give away personal belongings
3. Engaging in reckless behaviours such as heavy alcohol and drug use
4. Withdrawing from family and friends
5. Erratic mood swings
6. Inappropriately saying goodbye.
7. Verbal behaviour that is ambiguous or indirect: (for example: “I want to go to sleep and never wake up.”, “I’m so depressed, I just can’t go on.”, “Does God punish suicides?”

Though the signs and warnings may vary from person to person, it is important that you are able to recognise such warnings and take some steps to help your loved one.

Helping a loved one who is showing signs of Depression Suicide

If you believe someone is contemplating suicide do seek help immediately, however, there are a several suicide prevention web sites and hotlines available to help those in need, but in case these are not within your reach, you can try the following:

1. Cultivate Physical Closeness: Simple hugs, kisses on the cheeks, loving pats and compliments go a long way in healing a broken heart or depressed mind. Remember, sometimes the little things DO count.
2. If the person is acutely suicidal, do not leave him or her alone.
3. Remember: suicidal behaviour is a cry for help. Thus if someone contemplating suicide turns to you, it is likely that he believes that you are more caring and more informed about coping with depression, and more willing to help. This in itself is positive, thus it will be time to empower yourself to be what a suicidal person views you to be; stronger and you are.
4. Other steps to take include reassuring them that help is available and that with appropriate treatment they can feel better. Try not to patronise them by simply telling them that “everything will be fine,” or that “they have everything to live for.
5. Try to search the house for dangerous items such as guns and knives that could be potentially harmful.

In addition to the factors above, if you are of a spiritual inclination, this will be a good time to pray according to the framework of your faith. Indeed, prayer, when used effectively, can work wonders to aid in curtailing depression suicide.

Moreover, in the hopes that your loved one begins to show signs of improvement from the warnings indicating depression suicide, it will be great to start to include such drug-free approaches for depression treatment such as exercise: namely Yoga, a proper diet for physical health which in turn heals the mind and positive thinking and affirmations.

Naturally, we all would get concerned or frightened if a loved one seems on the brink of suicide resulting from depression, however as with all life’s problems, if we can catch it early and nip it in the bud, depression suicide can be prevented. If things may have gotten more advanced, then it may be time to seek professional help or as an alternative double up on our efforts to steer the loved one back to a positive outlook on life.

www.anxiousminds.co.uk

ByAnxious Minds

Depression Is A Real Illness

Because most people get depressed from time to time, there is that eternal question if depression is a real illness. The answer is: yes. The clinical one, that is. It has been said that about one out of eight United Kingdom residents will likely become clinically depressed.

Some experience it once in a lifetime, while others have multiple episodes. This is a fact: if a person gets depressed for the first time, there is a 50 per cent chance that he will fall to the same predicament again. And come the second time, there is the threat that he will go into a third depressing episode.

Depression is a real illness as it involves the mental, emotional and even physical faculties of the person. It is not just a transient sad feeling that will go away when one will it to. There are symptoms and signs as well as corresponding treatment. If not handled properly and immediately, it may escalate to worse conditions. Like any other illness, depression has also variations.

There are three types of depressive disorders: major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and dysthymic disorder.

Major depression is a culmination of all the symptoms and signs that intervene with one’s capability to act normally. It can happen once, but recurring episodes are possible.

Its less severe counterpart is dysthymia which is characterized by the same symptoms of major depression, only they do not totally interfere with one’s activities. A person who has the dysthymic disorder can suffer major depression sometime during his life.

Bipolar disorder is also a type of depression that involves drastic mood changes, from being very high one minute to severely depressed the next. The manic cycle can make the person hyper and overenthusiastic but it changes as soon as the depressed cycle hits. The depressed cycle encompasses all the symptoms of depression.

Because depression is an illness, there are symptoms. Again, they are the following:

1. Persistent “empty” feeling

2. Unbelievable hopelessness

3. Feeling guilty and worthless all the time

4. Lack or loss of interests in activities that used to bring joy to the patient and this includes sex.

5. Prominent fatigue

6. Has a difficult time making decisions

7. Development of sleep problems

8. Loss of appetite and drastic weight change or loss

9. Suicidal attempts and thoughts.

10. Pronounced irritability

11. Physical aches and pains that have no physiological basis

The good news is at the end of this dark tunnel called depression, there is hope. Treatment is available in three types: psychotherapy, antidepressant medicine and the combination of the two. There are also times when electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and light therapy are employed. We will discuss this in-depth in an upcoming article.

www.anxiousminds.co.uk

ByAnxious Minds

What Causes Depression?

Usually in our adolescence, we are exposed to many sudden and inexplicable mood swings as a result of our body undergoing various hormonal changes that prepare us for adulthood.

Aside from increased social pressures, the onset of menstruation, for example, introduces adolescent girls to premenstrual tension (or premenstrual syndrome) and the menstrual cramps, the former being a mixture of physical and psychological symptoms, including temporary weight gain, fluid retention, depression, fits of temper and the like.

Of these, depression is perhaps one of the most commonly identified conditions that both males and females attest to, particularly at the onset of puberty.

Depression is a term we colloquially use to pertain to any particular period of prolonged sadness and lethargy. Colloquial use would even allow us to call depression any ‘low’ point in between periods of ‘high’ or happiness. A popular one-liner, which many of us are familiar with, even goes as far as saying that depression is in fact simply anger without enthusiasm.

However, the real essence of depression is the fact that you can’t simply ‘snap out of it’, and that it has the capacity to disrupt your daily activities. It is characterized by prolonged sadness, anxiety, unusual mood shifts accompanied by a degree of irrational thought, pessimism, and is responsible for changes in the way we eat, sleep, or interact with other people that in effect incapacitates us from participating in productive activities.

Depression is deemed a disorder that requires treatment and attention first because it may be a cause for withdrawal from society as it gives a semblance of suffering, pessimism, and low self-esteem. Secondly, depression may cause changes in physical behaviour (like eating or sleeping) that may disrupt regular daily activities or may be mortally dangerous for whoever suffers from it. It may also, in effect, harm interactions with other people, particularly those within the atomic community (like family and friends).

Lastly, the accompanying decrease in rational thought causes some people to eventually result in thoughts of harming oneself or even suicide.

Should you find yourself potentially exhibiting that degree of depression, it is best that you seek immediate help from a professional. The reason is that the many forms of depression, each varying in degree of abnormality it lends, are currently treatable. It will also allow you to accurately determine whether you may simply be suffering from a common or minor depression, which is a mild but similarly prolonged form of depression, or a severe or major depression.

What is severe or major depression then? Severe or major depression, which medical experts also call clinical depression, unipolar depression, or major depressive disorder, is a sort of depression that necessitates medical treatment.

This is because severe depression is thought to be a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. This particular brand of depression is recognized as possibly hereditary by many psychiatrists and specialists.

Doctors detect severe depression by particular behavioural patterns that emerge. The first is that of a constant feeling of sadness or anxiety. This may be accompanied by feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. Another is when you feel lethargic, tired, or without energy despite the fact that you did not engage in any physical activity of any form alongside a feeling of restlessness. You may also feel a decreased capacity to concentrate and make decisions.

The more ‘telling’ signs that accompany the previous symptoms, which may be attributed to seasonal hormonal imbalances, strenuous physical activities, or physical sickness for non-depressive individuals, have a more or less social implication to them.

If you are suffering from severe depression, you may have a feeling of being uninterested in usual activities or hobbies and you may eventually withdraw from them. Changes in your appetite may also emerge, leading to drastic weight loss.

Another change is in sleeping habits, which may imply difficulty in sleeping, waking up too early, or sleeping too much. With these physically notable changes and the previous general symptoms is a prevalent feeling of inadequateness, hopelessness and guilt. Altogether, these may lead to thoughts of suicide or obsession over death and dying.

The fact that depression can happen to anyone including you, should be enough impetus to better understand depression. Understanding that people around you (and there are many of them) suffer from depression will both allow you to better interact with them, or, should you be suffering from it as well, allow you to benefit from support groups or other people who can better help you deal with the disorder and stop you from succumbing to it.

www.anxiousminds.co.uk

ByAnxious Minds

Can Depression Be A Sign Of Something More?

Have you taken more than one antidepressant but are still feeling depressed? Are you frustrated that your depression keeps coming back? You are not alone. Many people are first told that they have depression or anxiety when, in fact, they actually have a different medical condition. Of these people, one in two will first be told they have depression, one in four will be told they have anxiety.

Why Does Your Depression Keep Coming Back?

There are a number of reasons why symptoms of depression may persist despite taking medication. One of these reasons may be because patients don’t always remember to tell their doctors about all the symptoms they’re experiencing. For example, patients may talk to their doctors when they feel down or depressed and are looking for relief. They may not talk about the times when they’ve felt really good or energetic. In fact, patients often think about these times as their “good times” or “normal times.” This is important information that can help your doctor make a correct diagnosis and provide treatment that may help you feel better.

Help Your Doctor Help You

Getting a correct diagnosis is the first step to finding a treatment that is right for you. Bipolar depression is a form of depression that requires a different kind of treatment. If you have questions about bipolar depression, be sure to talk with your doctor. Several treatments, including some new medications, along with support from your doctor, can help people manage their symptoms over time.

What Is Bipolar Depression?

Bipolar depression is one part of bipolar disorder, a chronic-but treatable-illness. Sufferers usually have episodes of depression (“lows”) and episodes of increased energy, racing thoughts or anxiety (“highs”). Untreated bipolar depression can affect an individual’s ability to function at work, participate in social activities and maintain relationships. Getting an accurate diagnosis and the correct treatment can help patients with bipolar depression manage their symptoms and lead productive lives

www.anxiousminds.co.uk