Depression and anxiety
Pathways Plett specialize in helping people recovery from depression and anxiety disorders. Addiction is very rarely coupled without the unwelcomed intrusions of depression and anxiety disorders. Depression, even in the most severe cases, is highly treatable. As with many illnesses, the earlier that treatment can begin, the more effective it is and the greater the likelihood that recurrence can be prevented.
A depressive disorder is not a passing blue mood but rather persistent feelings of sadness and worthlessness and a lack of desire to engage in formerly pleasurable activities. A complex mind/body illness, depression can be treated with medication and/or therapy. Therapy is the longer term solution for the two, often providing the better outcomes.
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health concerns in our society. They are often experienced as a complex set of emotional and functional challenges. It is an illness that comes in many forms—from major depression and seasonal affective disorder, to dysthymia and bipolar disorder. Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. It interferes with daily life, normal functioning, and causes pain for both the person with the disorder and those who care about them. Anxiety and depression are not the same, but they often occur together. It is not uncommon for people with depression to experience anxiety and people with anxiety to become depressed.
Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
Not everyone who is depressed or manic experiences every symptom. Some people experience a few symptoms of Depression and Anxiety, some many symptoms. Severity of symptoms varies among individuals and also varies over time. Some of these symptoms are characterized as follows.
Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
Insomnia, early morning awakening or oversleeping
Appetite and/or weight loss, or overeating and weight gain
Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain.
Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
- Problems sleeping
- Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- An inability to be still and calm
- Dry mouth
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Muscle tension
Which is it, addiction, depression or both?
But which came first, the depression and anxiety or addiction? This is a commonly asked question about depression and anxiety. How often we hear the words of, ‘I think my daughter is addicted because she is depressed, and then vice versa. Which came first out of the bunch we may never know. If we look and try and understand which, but can’t find an answer, we generally treat the client for both sets of symptoms. This we call treating a comorbidity disorder. You see, in the end it doesn’t matter which came first, the chicken or the egg. They are both more often than not symptoms of a deep underlying set of emotional issues.
People with substance use disorders usually have symptoms of depression and anxiety. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2007), people with mood or anxiety disorders are twice as likely to be diagnosed with a substance use disorder. The reverse is also true: Compared to the general population, people with substance use disorders are two times as likely to be diagnosed with a mood or anxiety disorder (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2007).
In one study, about half of patients admitted to a drug treatment program for cocaine claimed pre-existing depression and anxiety, indicating that rather than seeking out therapists, these people sought out drug dealers [source: Goleman]. In another study, doctors estimated that 10 to 20 percent of alcoholics begin drinking to feel better because of depression [source: Schmeck]. Self-medicating depression may also be a factor in Internet addiction as well [sources: Phillips; Young, Rogers].
Other studies, however, seem to find that the addiction precedes the depression. For example, one study considering risky behaviors in adolescents found that taking drugs and engaging in sex at a young age predicted an increased likelihood of depression, but depression in the youngsters wasn’t a good indicator of whether they would turn to drugs or sex [source: Hallfors et al.].
Suggestions to Begin Treatment
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change! Be cognizant of the way you think, and what you think. Then try and understand why you think the way you do. Past hurts or trauma, genetic tendencies and predispositions, and life itself can add up to be quite overwhelming at times. When this build up happens, it’s time to seek help with depression and anxiety, and or addiction, or however else it decides to will out of your system. Best suggestion we can give, is try not to go it alone. Try not to be tempted to sweep things under the rug; the truth will out! Sooner or later. Deal with your issues as best you can, and don’t keep secrets. Rather risk talking to others. Trust, risk and share.
Some ways to start to take care of your brain (and the rest of your body) are listed below. Although they are simple, when used together they can be most effective.
1) Breathe………..slow exhalation helps relax the body
2) Move your body
3) Spend time in nature
4) Get regular, replenishing sleep
5) Spend time with supportive friends/family
6) Accept imperfection
7) Eat real/functional foods and drink lots of water
8) Meditate (sitting or moving) or take regular time for self-awareness practice
9) Practice forgiveness
10) Practice gratitude daily
More importantly, think about what you want for your life. Be realistic. Speak to people. This life is short at the best of times, so we need to be sure we go after what we want to achieve in this lifetime. Living a good quality, peaceful and happy life is something not to be missed. Research shows that with the right treatment and medication this better life is more than possible for most. Stay focused on recovery and ask for help. Get into a good addiction and or depression and anxiety programme for a couple of months if you have to and turn your life around. No matter what the issue has manifested as, either being overweight or underweight, addicted, depressed, anxious, paralyzed with fear or just downright stuck, we can help get the momentum going again.
For help with depression and anxiety issues please get in touch with Pathways and we will assist you with any questions and queries that you may have + 0044 533 0330