We all feel anxious from time to time, but lately we have all been feeling anxious a lot more. Of course, you could justify your anxiety by looking at the state of the world. The economy is slumping, the dollar is falling, oil prices are rising, food prices are rising, the weather is getting worse everywhere. There are millions of reasons to be anxious in today’s world, but could it be something worse? Do I have an anxiety disorder?
The word Disorder in itself is enough to make you anxious. Words have a lot of power and often the word disorder implies something terribly wrong. Disorder itself is defined as a condition in which there is a disturbance of normal functioning. It sounds very clinical but the definition itself gives us the answer to deal with Anxiety!
Our biggest anxiety is that the anxiety itself is abnormal, strange, or possibly even insane. When saddled with the label ‘disorder’ we suddenly start to think of ourselves differently, act differently, and even become more anxious about what was once very simple. Without even realizing it we create more anxiety about our anxiety. This is what I call the downward spiral and it is not fun. There is only one way out.
Choice. If you read the last paragraph carefully you will see that we are choosing to think differently about ourselves. As soon as we decide there are reasons to be anxious, we become anxious. As hard as it might be to believe, your anxiety attacks start hours before you have them. They start when you start becoming afraid of having an anxiety attack, when you become afraid of being anxious around others, and even when you tell yourself that its hard to get over your anxiety.
Remember that Anxiety is NOT a disturbance of normal function. Anxiety is quite normal. The beast your fighting gets bigger every time you decide its bigger. Stop taking it seriously, stop fearing your own fear, and the beast disappears forever.
Dealing With Anxiety and Panic Disorder
Anxiety and panic disorder is a terrible, frightening condition. It can really ruin peoples lives. Attacks can strike at any time and can make it impossible for some to perform normal daily activities. Fortunately there are ways to treat this disorder.
Most people sho suffer from anxiety disorder will use medications to control their symptoms. These do work and lots of people feel very relieved after taking them. However medications only treat the symptoms and not the causes of the anxiety. They may also cause unwanted side effects.
There are a number of ways to control anxiety disorder naturally. Changing your diet may help. Avoiding coffee and drinking certain teas may help. Eliminating sugar will also have a positive effect both on your anxiety and your overall health. Drinking lots of water to keep your brain hydrated may also reduce anxiety. Studies suggest that dehydration of the rain can cause stress and anxiety.
Certain behavioral training therapies can also be effective. These work by teaching patient how to control their reactions to their anxiety.
By thinking positively you can also learn to control anxiety. Do not give in to anxious or negative thoughts, they cause anxiety. This can be a little challenging but there are ways to learn how to do this.
The best way to get the most effective treatment for anxiety and panic disorder is by talking to a professional. They will be able to give you various treatment options.
There are lots of different ways to get rid of anxiety disorder. By trying different approaches you should be able to find on that works for you.
6 Warning Signs of Depression
Depression is considered to be a health condition that is both physiological and psychological in nature. This means that it does not only involve the mind of the sufferer, but it also involves the body of the sufferer as well. This condition will affect how an individual thinks about themselves, others, and situations that occur in their lives. It will affect the emotional responses associated with these factors. It also has a large impact on the behavior of an individual. It is not at all unusual for an individual to experience physical complications as well as emotional complications. Here, you will be introduced to 6 warning signs of depression.
1. Individuals that suffer from depression will often feel varying degrees of sadness. Typically, the sufferer is unable to pinpoint exactly why they feel such sadness, but it is very real to them.
2. Many that suffer from depression will often find that they experience severe mood swings for no apparent reason. Many may experience irritability quite easily as well as varying degrees of frustration.
3. Most people that suffer from depression will find that they lack interest in the people, activities, hobbies, and locations that they once enjoyed.
4. Most that suffer from depression will experience issues with the natural sleep cycle. Many will find that they have a general lack of energy at all times. There are others that will have problems sleeping or staying asleep. Many patients will actually find that they sleep too long at one interval.
5. Cognitive impairments are quite common when it comes to depression. Individuals may find it challenging to concentrate or focus. Many will have problems making decisions. There are others that will display a high level of distractibility.
6. Many will lose their self-esteem. They may experience a lack of motivation or start to blame themselves for every little thing that is experienced. Many may even contemplate taking their own lives because they feel that their life is worthless.
If you or someone that you know suffers from depression, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Depression is a challenging condition that may be treated successfully.
Types Of Depression
Depression refers to a deeply felt sense of sadness or despair that tends to overwhelm a person. It may have started out as a dark feeling but has progressed to an illness that affects every aspect of the person’s life.
Clinical depression is different from having “the blues” in that it is all consuming and requires treatment. Depressive illness or clinical depression impacts on everything: sleeping, eating, and energy level, ability to work effectively, mood, cognitions (thoughts), judgment, and more. It can be viewed as both a psychological and physical condition.
There are several types of depression. In this article I describe 4 of the most well known types. Distinctions between the different forms of depression are important to understand because they help us to choose the best possible treatment.
Major depression is also known as major depressive disorder (MDD). A person who has this illness has been feeling deeply sad persistently for about 2 or more weeks. He is unable to enjoy himself even when doing things that previously gave him pleasure. He has lost interest in most everything and seems listless and flat. When interviewed, people with MDD will likely report feeling hopeless and unable to get motivated. They often feel as if they are sinking deeper and deeper and are unable to control the descent into oblivion.
People of any age can become victims of MDD. However, it will often strike those between the ages of 25-45. In addition MDD can frequently run its course in 6-9 months. This type of depression can be a one time event but once it strikes there is a good possibility that it will happen again, perhaps several times in a person’s life.
Another form of depression is known as dysthymia. This type of depression often begins early in a person’s life, frequently in childhood, and continues throughout adulthood. It is a milder form of depression and is diagnosed when someone has been feeling sad, unhappy, irritable, generally withdrawn and disinterested in life for 2 or more years.
People with this type of depression often have a hard time remembering if they have ever felt “happy”. They are frequently critical of themselves and seem never to have any fun. Since this condition is chronic the person’s low mood can go unnoticed, appearing “normal” for him.
It is usually when the individual becomes more severely dysthymic that he seeks treatment. Sometimes his mood is so disturbing to a spouse, friend or family member, they insist he get help. Other times he may get so disgusted with a fruitless, unhappy life that he becomes self motivated to seek it out.
Dysthymia seems to affect twice as many women as men. Depression in general has more female than male victims.
This type of depression is also known as manic-depressive disorder. It is characterized by significant mood swings that that interfere with a person’s ability to function. Shifts in mood are often so severe that the person’s entire life is affected by them.
Bipolar Disorder is different from other depressions in that the person has experienced at least one or more manic episodes. When a person is having a manic episode he can seem to go on non stop. He needs little or no sleep, his speech may be rapid and his ideas change very quickly, he can become grandiose or belligerent and might even cause himself or others physical harm. Since these symptoms are episodic and may appear years apart, the person may go untreated for a long time.
This condition will often appear early in one’s life and is likely to be chronic. Manic episodes are frequently followed by a drop into the black hole of a major depression. These cycles can occur many times causing enormous disruption and wreaking havoc on the individual and his family.
This is a type of major depression that can strike a woman after childbirth. It is thought that the dramatic hormonal changes that take place both before and immediately after a baby is born may trigger a depression. Postpartum depression affects about 10% of new mothers, but is more common in mothers who have had some prior depression.
This depression is made more tragic because a new mother’s emotional world is turned upside down and her dreams of enjoying the joys and wonders of motherhood completely destroyed. As a result of the many changes that take place in a woman’s life once a baby is born, there are many factors that can contribute to this kind of depression.
New mothers routinely experience lack of sleep, feelings of being overwhelmed, high degrees of stress, loss of identity and feeling less attractive or desirable. A mother may resent her new child, feel irrationally angry towards it and, at the same time, feel horribly guilty for having these feelings in the first place. If these feelings persist they can weaken her defenses and create more potential for postpartum depression to occur.
Treating depression early and effectively can prevent it from becoming more severe and lasting longer. The type of depression a person is suffering with will determine the best choice for treatment.
Major Depression and Dysthymia can be treated with both psychotherapy and medication. Most people respond well to these in combination. Psychotherapy should focus on learning coping strategies, problem solving skills, challenging negative mindsets and changing critical as well as pessimistic thought patterns. Improvement comes when a person begins to feel empowered and more in control of his life (and emotions).
Supportive therapy should also be used to help address painful feelings of hopelessness and despair. However this type of therapy should be a part of the treatment and not the only method.
Medication is an option with major depression. Antidepressant medication can often help to relieve the painful impact of symptoms such as the inability to concentrate or sleep, inability to work, control emotions or make decisions necessary to effectively conduct everyday life.
Antidepressants work by increasing the availability and level of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters carry information to the different parts of the brain. These chemicals and their levels of availability affect the range of moods we experience.
In severe cases of depression where other forms of treatment have not helped, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be recommended. In this type of therapy electric current is passed through the brain of the patient while under anesthesia causing convulsive seizures to occur for about 15 seconds each. ECT has been shown to be effective, especially as a treatment of last resort, but its side effects can include some memory loss and disorientation.
The treatment of Bipolar Disorder will most likely include medication. As explained in the previous article, this is a very serious and disabling mental illness. It is chronic and manic episodes followed by depressive episodes are likely to recur if treatment is not ongoing.
Lithium and anti-convulsive medications such as Depakote, Lamictil and Neurontin are often used in combination to achieve mood stabilization. Getting the patient on the best combination of medication is both science and art and can be trying for the patient and his family.
People with bipolar disorder are sometimes discouraged by the difficult task of keeping their moods in check over long periods of time. The patient sometimes complains that the edge or “high” he used to enjoy feeling has been replaced by a different mood, one he may interpret as being flat and boring.
When this occurs he may stop taking the medication and go back to “cycling” through his moods again. That is why long-term counseling that includes the monitoring of the patient’s medication, moods, sleep patterns and general health is often critical in maintaining control over bipolar disorder.
Postpartum Depression has similar symptoms to major depression. If left untreated the consequences of postpartum depression can be sever. The attachment bond that is so important for a child’s healthy development will likely not occur if mother is not getting the help she needs.
Treatment here should be multifaceted and involve the entire immediate family. Counseling should educate the family members and enlist them to help more around the home. Individual therapy is necessary to help the mother learn and implement the coping skills that are so important for her new role.
The option for medication needs to be weighed against the severity of the depression. If a mother is breast feeding for example, taking medication can be dangerous to the health of the baby. The same problem exists when hormone replacement therapy is recommended.
With proper treatment postpartum depression will often lift in a matter of months.
In addition to getting professional help there are several things a person can do to improve his mood.
Exercise: Any activity, however mild it might be, can lift the spirit. Studies have shown that regular, vigorous exercise can be as effective in lifting a depression as medication.
Friends & Family: Having one or more close friends or family members to confide in and spend time with helps to prevent isolation. Force yourself to do things with friends.
Reduce stressors: Limit your responsibilities and only do tasks that won’t overwhelm you.
Postpone making big decisions: Your objectivity and judgment are most likely to be affected by your depression. Refrain from making important decisions until you feel better.
Eat well: Don’t overindulge in junk foods. Too much sugar can send you into a downturn. Force yourself to eat fruits, vegetables, “good” carbohydrates and protein.
Although it is quite normal for most students to feel some level of stress and anxiety during examination days, yet in some cases where anxiety begins to hamper exam performance, it becomes a major hindrance. Test anxiety is caused due to many reasons, such as lack of preparation due to inappropriate time management, poor study habits, and inability to organize information. Along with that, constant peer and parental pressure to perform well and the dread of failure can wreck havoc in the lives of students. A fallout of this stress is Test Anxiety Disorder.
Test anxiety may even infuse certain bodily changes in the students like perspiration, stomach upset, fast heartbeat, tension in the muscles, headache or sweaty palms.
Test anxiety leads to mounting nervousness which distorts the reading, understanding, organizing, retrieving and answering as well as performance skills of the people. The only way to cope with it or combat it is by studying hard, learning and practicing on a regular basis and avoiding laziness, procrastination and day dreaming. One should learn to focus and concentrate on the material that is being read and should never forget to relax that is, take long deep breaths along with proper sleep or rest, so as to stay rejuvenated. There are certain means through which the power of concentration can be increased. The most effective ones are to choose the right environment where noise, interruption and distraction are at a minimum. Lighting, comfort, temperature and neatness must be properly maintained.
Whenever confronted with test anxiety, one must try not to think about fear and be focussed about what one is supposed to do. One should try remaining relevant, relaxed, calm and composed. Imbibing a positive attitude can really work wonders and hasten the healing process of an individual. Some anxiety is normal and inevitable. One must learn to steadily cope with it and keep oneself distracted and busy. However, if it persists for a longer period of time, then seeking psychological help wouldn’t be a bad decision.