Dealing with Anxiety and Depression

Posted by on November 12, 2015

I ran into an interesting post last week documenting a discussion on anxiety and depression, called

Ask an Expert: All About Dealing with Anxiety and Depression

AnxietyI have summarized the questions and answers here under 7 major headings for your convenience.  The questions are from ordinary people and the answers are from  Dr. Ken Carter, a professor of psychology at Oxford College, Emory University.  You can read the original  post at the link above.

Many of my clients are dealing with these issues and they find hypnosis very helpful in putting in place the routines such as exercise, mediation, good sleep habits, as well as addressing social anxieties and trauma.  With hypnosis, initial relief from symptoms can come quickly, making it easier to then focus on the underling causes. Enjoy the summary.

Symptoms:

Can’t make friends –  Have you tried any group counseling? Groups can be a wonderful way to get honest and comfortable feedback. Also, non counseling groups are a great way to meet people. Find an activity that you like and see if there’s a group you can link with. That might be a great start.  Whatever you decision, keep trying in a way that makes you feel comfortable.

Social Anxiety – The right professional could really help you to be able to fight your social anxiety. A good counselor won’t judge you, but they’ll help you to figure out the best way to be a better version of yourself.

Nightmares – As you continue mindfulness and mediation training, they  should decrease.  Don’t worry about them too much unless they make you fearful of going to sleep or you can’t go back to sleep.  (Ed note: in which case you should deal with those issues.)

Dealing with Stressful Times:

Job searches can be stressful. Just remember that they aren’t looking at you as a person, just a potential job candidate. It’s easy to take it personally. Be sure to do self care along the way. Maybe talk with others looking for a job for some positive chat time…not too much complaining about the job market.

Am I Really Depressed or just sad and bored?

When people say they are depressed they are mostly talking about their mood. Major depressive disorder (clinical depression) is a mood that goes on for weeks and weeks and have have physical and emotional symptoms that can be very difficult. A mental health professional can help to distinguish between just being sad and clinical depression.

Treatments:

Exercise – Very helpful, but not enough for the clinically depressed

Mindfulness Training – A lot of evidence that mindfulness and meditation can really help control the amygdala, the part of the brain that’s involved in fear processing

Drugs – Most psychiatrists are trained in medical interventions.  Psychologists are trained to do therapy.  There’s an old joke…don’t be surprised if you go to a barber that you leave with a haircut.  So treatment really depends on severity and the clients preference and individual goals.

Clinical depression or major depressive disorder can often be treated with medication or therapy.  Diet, exercise and mindfulness help, as do being around friends, optimism, and eating well.  Not to say you can’t be doing these things and still get depressed.  Certain people are just more likely to get depressed.

Get a prescriber with a good history and be sure to share with them any family information, including different medications that have worked well or not.

Technology –  Lots of cool tools and apps to keep track of mood, sleep, thoughts, etc.  On the other hand not having technology around can help us connect with others!

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – teaches you to analyze your thoughts and look for evidence. Sometimes we think things or get worried about things despite the fact that there is no evidence to support it. A licensed counselor can help you to analyze those kinds of assumptions. There are also books that can read. ( Ed Note: Cognitive Behaviour Hypnotherapy is also helpful.  See my video about this here)

Relationship of Depression to Other Things:

Relationship to Depression and Migraines – Not Sure

Relationship to hormonal and chemical imbalances – Certain depressions are really caused by medical problems – so not really depression, just looks like it and so anti-depressants won’t help.  Example – underactive thyroid

How to Be Supportive:

Just being a good friend and checking in on them might be a good way to go. “Hey, I just wanted to check in on you to see how you are doing” might go a long way.

Understanding more about what depression is like may give you insight.  Try this blog post: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.ca/2011/10/adventures-in-depression.html

How to Find a Therapist:

That can be tough and it can be confusing. What’s really important is a good fit. If you are comfortable ask someone you trust if they can recommend someone.

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