Depression commonly manifests physically, through stomach pains, headaches, disrupted or excessive sleep, and motor control difficulty. While the causes of depression are unknown, a predisposition for it runs in families and it can be triggered by trauma and adverse life circumstances. Depression is diagnosed more frequently in women and tends to display differently in women than in men.
People tend to suffer higher rates of depression after giving birth and in late fall. Depression and anxiety often exacerbate each other and people with depression commonly have difficulty concentrating on tasks and conversations. Some people abuse alcohol and drugs or overeat as a way of coping, causing them to develop other medical problems. Depressed people are also at increased risk for self-harm.
Depression is a mental illness which is characterized by prolonged emotional symptoms including:
Diagnosing depression involves a psychiatric evaluation and physical tests to determine whether a person’s symptoms are actually being caused by a different disorder. A person must have been experiencing symptoms for at least two weeks to be diagnosed with depression. Every case is unique and requires individual attention, but there are a number of effective complementary ways of treating depression, including:
- Talk therapy
- Adopting a healthier lifestyle
Anxiety, put simply is thinking ahead to the future or rethinking the past in a way that creates a physiological reaction in the body. Moving from a calm relaxed state into an aroused state indicates that your thoughts created a sense of fear or worry and caused the nervous system to move into a protective mode. As these thoughts gain traction the arousal can intensify and become physically uncomfortable causing increased heart rate, shortness of breath, muscle tension and nausea. Once we launch into this fight, freeze, flight, appease state we lose our ability to think clearly, our thoughts become exceedingly irrational and we lose our ability to cope in healthy ways.
Some anxiety is necessary and normal to motivate us to do things or make amends for the ways we handled something in the past. But if anxiety begins negatively impacting our daily lives or our relationships, therapy will help.
Anxiety can generally be treated without medication if new coping skills are implemented and practiced. Dietary changes and supplements may help and in some cases medication may help until healthy coping skills become a normal part of life.