Although most people experience sadness, loneliness, fear, or anxiety every now and then, their level of anxiety and depression often increases in difficult life situations like divorce, job loss, or death of a loved one. Feelings of anxiety and depression are normal reactions to stressors in life. However, there are some people who are unable to deal with everyday life because of these intense feelings and often have an anxiety disorder or clinical depression. People who concurrently experience anxiety disorders as well as depression and are looking for a cure can actually be treated. The causes for anxiety and depression can be biochemical, genetic, psychological, emotional, environmental, and social.
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress; however, when it becomes excessive or life-disturbing it may be classified as an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders have symptoms that include uneasiness, fear, worry, fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty in swallowing, trembling, twitching irritability, sweating, and hot flashes.
Depression is a condition where a person experiences sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, and discouragement. The person is unmotivated or uninterested in life, cannot cope with taking care of self, family, spending time with friends, going to work, and doing household chores. Symptoms also include sleep disorders, shifts in appetite and weight, irritability, anxiety, pain, gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, fatigue, loss of energy, feeling of guilt, difficulty with memory, and concentration, and suicidal thoughts. There are three main types of depressive disorders. They are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder.
Medications for anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder must be taken strictly under the guidance of a mental health practitioner, because antidepression medications can have significant side effects. While they are helpful in correcting the chemical imbalances in the brain, sometimes lifesaving antidepression medication is not a cure and must be used in conjunction with therapy, exercise, and self-help strategies. The most well-known antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors also known as SSRIs. Zoloft and Prozac are some well-known antidepressants. Other medications given for depression include dual-action antidepressants, atypical antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anticonvulsants, tricyclic antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Medications for anxiety include benzodiazepines, which are also called tranquilizers and antidepressants. Antidepressants can actually make bipolar disorder worse or trigger a manic episode. People with bipolar disorder should take specific treatments, which differ from antidepressants and also help deal with the manic episodes.
Other behavior changes that can aid in fighting depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder include:
- Getting into a gentle daily schedule and routine
- Setting small simple daily goals which are achievable
- Increasing the number or the challenge of the daily goals after seeing improvement
- Adding exercise to the daily routine as it boosts endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals
- Watching out for overeating
- Including omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and tuna and folic acid foods like spinach and avocado in diet
- Ensuring adequate sleep and sticking to healthy sleep patterns
- Taking on small responsibilities
- Using logic to challenge negative thoughts
- Trying to do something new and trying to have fun
Medications may be able to treat and reduce symptoms of depression but they cannot change the underlying contributors. They are not a cure and will not change the contributing conditions like a pessimistic outlook, unhappiness at a job, or a bad relationship. This is where lifestyle changes are important.
Therapy can sometimes work just as well at treating depression and bipolar disorder as depression medications. Medications stop working as soon as you stop taking them, whereas therapy gives emotional insights and coping skills to deal with depression long term. Therapy also helps with trigger identification and employing healthy behavioral skills, and this can sometimes feel almost like a cure. Sometimes the symptoms of bipolar disorder and depression are so severe that medications are required to boost the mood up to a point where the person is receptive to therapy. Other effective treatments for depression and bipolar disorder, besides therapy include exercise, relaxation techniques, stress management, meditation, and support and self-help groups. Therapy used for anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder includes cognitive behavior therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy.
© Newsmax. All rights reserved.