Anxiety and Depression, An Introduction
Having studied anxiety and depression for over ten years, l want to start by giving you information to help you better understand anxiety and depression and the treatment options available. including hypnotherapy. Why do I speak of anxiety and depression together? Because eighty percent of people who suffer from anxiety also suffer from depression and vice-versa. Over time. anxiety can cause the body’s systems to become over-taxed and depression can set in: sometimes a person who suffers from depression can become anxious about his or her inability to make positive life changes.
What are Anxiety and Depression?
Anxiety: The symptoms of anxiety can affect the whole person, body, mind and soul. Common physical symptoms include generalized nervousness, shakiness, feeling off balance, nausea, pacing, rapid heartbeat and light-headedness. Mentally, one may suffer from racing thoughts and excessive worry.
Depression: Depression is a medical and mental disorder characterized by a range of physical and mental symptoms. These symptoms are different from just being sad or blue. Everyone feels sad from time to time for any number of reasons, including weight, smoking, addictions, family or other relationships. Generally, situational sadness goes away after a time. Situational sadness tends to follow stages, much like grief, as it progresses. The main difference between clinical depression and situational sadness. is that in clinical depression that sad, low feeling does not dissipate over time without treatment. A person with a low, depressed mood lasting over two weeks, may have clinical depression.
Anxiety and depression can be devastating emotional disorders, but proper and timely treatment can relieve over eighty percent of those who seek treatment.
- 22% of the population, more than forty million Americans, experience some kind of depression each year
- 12% of all women will be affected by depression in their lifetime
- 6.6% of all men will be affected by depression in their lifetime
- 80% to 90% of all depressed people who seek treatment improve significantly
National Institute of Mental Health
What the statistics don’t say is that a large percentage of people who experience depression and anxiety remain untreated. Many don’t recognize the symptoms, others “self-medicate” with drugs or alcohol, some don’t seek treatment and some are treated for their symptoms only, rather than their underlying problem. Recent studies show that anxiety and depression are on the rise, especially among single adults, women in poverty and adolescents. Natural disasters and tragedies understandably generate huge increases in people experiencing depression and anxiety, as well as an acute form of anxiety called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sadly, many people blame themselves or are blamed by others for their condition, leading to alienation and even suicide. More importantly, the numbers numb us to the fact that depression and anxiety cause real suffering in very real people.
There Are Many Kinds of Depression
Major Depression: Major depression lasts weeks to months, with an ongoing low feeling and the mental pain of being trapped in one’s own mind. A sense of desperation and inability to make one’s life work, often lead to suicide attempts. Other symptoms include reduced energy, reduced concentration and an inability to complete projects or even basic tasks. Hypnosis can work on the symptoms, plus the underlying causes, which may be biochemical, due to life changes, past problems or trauma.
Dysthymia: A depression that’s chronic and long lasting is called Dysthymia. Although its symptoms aren’t as severe as a major depression, it still keeps a person from functioning normally. Sufferers may feel low most of the time, but are still able to work and function within their family and relationships.
Bipolar Disorder: A depressive illness once ca]led maniacdepression, people with bipolar disorder cycle between feelings of depression and great elation. A high feeling, irritability, severe insomnia, and/or inappropriate social behavior characterize the manic phase. ln extreme cases, bipolar disorder can produce psychotic features. Evidence shows that bipolar disorder (like many other forms of depression and psycho-emotional disorders) may be largely inherited. Bipolar disorder often responds well to medication and psychotherapy is also helpful.
Post-Partum Depression: Post-partum depression is linked to extreme hormonal changes that occur after a woman gives birth. While symptoms can be similar to those of major depression, in extreme cases. PPD can produce psychotic features. Immediate and continued treatment is important, especially if the woman is planning further children.
Seasonal Affective Disorder: Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is prevalent during the winter months when there is reduced sunlight, especially in the more northerly environments of North America and Europe. The shorter days and the decreased natural light lead to an increase in psychological problems, depression and anger.
Some Quick Tips
Deep Breathing to Relieve Stress and Tension
This easy exercise can help you feel less stressed, more centered and ready to move forward. I’ve also included more exercises on improving your mindset in Chapter 5.
- Stand and place your palms against your belly, just below your navel.
- Take a deep breath and feel that breath travel down to the very bottom of your lungs and touch the top your stomach.
- Ask yourself, without fear, what your inner mind and body have to say.
- You don’t have to act on it, but let your inner mind or instincts tell you what you’re feeling, what you desire, need or fear.
- Now feel the energy or power that comes from acknowledging this deep feeling, desire, need or fear.
Developing a More Positive Mindset
There are many simple things you can do for yourself each day to feel better. Below is a list of things to help you develop a more positive mindset. Consider posting this list somewhere you can see it as a regular reminder to yourself to be more positive. Develop and nurture positive statements about your body, mind and spirit.
Source: Alan Eastman, DCH: Anxiety and Depression – Chapter 1
“This book is dedicated to you, the reader. Picking up this book and reading it shows that you are committed to your true inner journey towards healing. If you suffer from anxiety and depression, then this book is truly dedicated to you for the courage to keep going in spite of the vast criticisms from others in our society. Our society still puts a stigma on people who have anxiety or depression: remember it’s not your fault that you are hurting, however, you can make a decision to seek help despite what anyone says. Getting help means you are a strong person, it means that you wish to feel better. You can do it! I know you can. If you need help, follow the directions and do the exercises in this book, work with a professional counselor and you will be on your way to true health. Good luck and best wishes for your continued improvement.”
Alan Eastman, DCH