Depression is a serious illness..
The most common mental health diagnoses in the US are: Depression (see link at bottom of this page for more information) Alcoholism and Social Anxiety
Primary symtoms of depression are:
Loss of energy
Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
Loss of enjoyment or pleasurable feelings
Difficulty making decisions
Increased need for sleep or... insomnia
A change in appetite causing weight loss or gain
Thoughts of death or suicide
The trouble with Depression !
Not only is the experience of the symptoms above trouble enough, but many who find themselves depressed also find that their thinking, perceptions, and ability to take action is impaired in serious ways.
1. the depression feels permanent (no relief in site)
2. there is a high degree of self-blame (it is my fault)
3. the general view of life is painted negatively (everything is bad)
4. discouragement / passivity - why try because my efforts will only fail?
Should I take medication?
This is a complicated question and best discussed with your doctor or a psychiatrist. Medication combined with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been proven to be quite effective. Milder forms of depression often respond well to psychotherapy. NOTE: two other conditions are often thought of as clinical depression: boredom and unresolved grief over significant losses (even if the loss was many years ago). Medication designed to treat organically based depression are often ineffective for these two conditions.
Should I see a psychiatrist?
Many doctors are experienced and comfortable treating mental and emotional problems. A psychiatrist will usually offer a more comprehensive evaluation and have more experience with the specific medications that are used.
Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman. Take a moment to review video above of Dr. Seligman
or visit their website at the link below.
Are you anxious?
Some common symptoms are:
Focus on "negative possibilities"
Restlessness or a feeling of being "edgy"
A pounding heart
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Panicky feelings, desire to get away (Fight or Flight)
Trouble falling or staying asleep
Painful shyness around others - can only relax when alone
Paralyzing self critical conclusions and blame
These are exaggerated reactions of a natural coping, risk management, survival process. Anxiety can cause you to feel out of control. Avoidance is a primary coping strategy for decreasing the tension, but is at best a short-term strategy.
Better strategies include learning how to externalize one's attention (instead of being so trapped inside all the time), learning to be in the present and getting your thoughts back to the objective facts. Thinking changes from obsession with "what-if" negative possibilities to"what-is" reality awareness.
In counseling participants learn about:
the physiology of anxiety and the effects of adrenaline
that millions of Americans have anxiety (most feel alone with their worry)
the effects of distorted thinking and tragic imaginations - the "what if" syndrome
the life limiting damage done by “anticipatory” worry
and the steps one can take to begin to regain control.
This work includes the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, hypnosis, humor (which many who battle anxiety have in abundance) and other strategies.
A popular relaxation technique involves taking a slow deep breath, holding that breath for a count of one-two-three. Then exhale slowly. Repeat 3 times with normal breathing between each repetition.
Please feel free to contact me if you have suggestions or experiences I can also pass on to others.
Note: Useful link