We live in a world that is filled with reasons to be anxious and depressed. And, by and large, these feelings states are actually adaptive and appropriate. In fact, anxiety is the body's normal alarm system that alerts us to danger. It can also provide us with motivation to stand up, brush ourselves off, and move forward. However, once the initial trigger(s) that caused these emotional responses have abated and the symptoms continue to linger, they can cause a myriad of problems such as a sense of dread, excessive worry and intense fear, and impair one's ability to function on a daily basis. It is important to assess the wide range of areas that got you to this point and also delineate the difference between day-to-day anxieties that would be NORMAL responses to a given situation versus ABNORMAL responses that are crippling and debilitating.
Indicators of anxiety can include: muscle tension, shortness of breath, shaking, tremors, increased heart rate, racing or pounding heart, dry mouth, dizziness, sleep disturbance, irritability and difficulty concentrating. If untreated, the symptoms can lead to panic attacks that can actually feel like and mimic a heart attack. Intense anxiety can lead to alienation of interpersonal relationships because there is a disconnect - a sense loss of control of the environment – because no one understands the agony.
Likewise, depression is a common symptom when you experience trauma or a loss of any kind. It colors that way you feel, affects your outlook on life, and can leave you feeling hopeless and helpless. Tangible grief (the NORMAL reaction to loss of a loved one, pet, job, home, or marriage/relationship) is different from clinical depression.
Depression can manifest in different ways. It can include: agitation and difficulty with decision-making, feelings of guilt, low self-esteem, lethargy, withdrawal, frequent crying, a fear of doom and gloom, and even thoughts of suicide. Suicide is a leading cause of death and must be taken seriously. If you are having thoughts of suicide, develop a safety plan that includes emergency contact numbers of friends and local emergency rooms. If you are in crisis call the NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) in the United States www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. They are open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Or if you are not in crisis, call my office at 954-779-2855 to schedule an appointment.
Coping with anxiety and depression can feel overwhelming. However, there are therapeutic techniques that can help you manage your symptoms and have a more quality of life. Also, while there are a myriad of prescription medications that are on the market to treat pathological responses/symptoms to anxiety and depression, there are also a mountain of side effects that accompany these drugs. There are, however, alternative forms of therapy (Complimentary Alternative Medicine) that offer many different options to prescription medication that may provide relief from pathological symptoms of anxiety and depression. And if you are being treated by a physician or psychiatrist, we will attempt to work closely together to find treatment options that are right for you and your needs.
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