Facts about Depression:
Depression that lasts more than several weeks begins to affect every aspect of life. The most common symptoms of long term depression include loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of overwhelming sadness or fear, changes in appetite (weight gain or loss), disturbed sleep patterns (insomnia or sleeping more than normal), changes in levels of activity (restlessness or significantly slower movement), fatigue (both mental and physical), lowered self-esteem, and thoughts about death or suicide. Depression can effect children, teens, and adults.
Recognizing Signs of Depression:
Everyone gets sad or down at one time or another. But for many people, depressed feelings persist for weeks, months, and sometimes years. Like diabetes or heart disease, depression is a serious medical condition that can grow progressively worse if left untreated. Long-term depression interferes with how well we succeed in the world and how we relate to our colleagues and loved ones. Long-term depression darkens our thoughts, drains our energy, and drags at our work life and special relationships.
Depression affects approximately one out of every ten adults in the U.S. Fortunately, depression is highly treatable. The approach depends on the type of depression. Health care professionals recognize four categories of depressive disorders.
This is the most severe form of depressive disorder. A greater number of symptoms are present and they are more acute than in other categories.
This is mild-to-moderate depression that results from traumatic events, such as a divorce or job loss.
This is a chronic, low-level depression that continues for years. Individuals with dysthymia may experience major depression when a life crisis occurs.
Depression (not otherwise specified):
This category is used by health care professionals when the symptoms do not match other categories.
Facts about Depression:
- Depression is highly treatable, yet only about one-fifth of the more than 18 million American adults suffering from a depressive disorder are currently under the care of a physician or a psychologist.
- Studies indicate that 54 percent of the American population believes depression is a personal weakness, and 41 percent of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help.
- Depression may develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetic makeup, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
- Depression is commonly misdiagnosed and under-treated.
- Depression can mimic physical illnesses and cause fatigue, muscle tension, sweating, nausea, cold hands, difficulty swallowing, jumpiness, gastrointestinal discomfort or diarrhea, and other physical symptoms.
* Data adapted from the National Institute of Mental Health
If you suspect that you might suffer from depression, complete the following self-test. Keep in mind: depression is a treatable condition. Over the past two weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following issues?
- Little interest in doing things you usually enjoy
- Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless
- Trouble falling/staying asleep, or sleeping too much
- Feeling tired or having little energy
- Poor appetite or overeating
- Feeling bad about yourself – perhaps that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down
- Trouble concentrating on things such as reading the newspaper or watching television
- Moving or speaking so slowly that other people notice, or the opposite – being so fidgety or restless that you move around more than usual
- Thoughts that you would be better off dead, or desires to hurt yourself in some way
- If you checked off any problems, how difficult have these problems made it for you to do your work, take care of things at home, or get along with other people?
If you answered yes to one or more of the above issues it might be worthwhile to make an appointment to discuss this with Susan at 805.987.7222.
Recognizing Signs of Anxiety
Some anxiety and fear is normal. It’s part for many people, normal fears can escalate into persistent, irrational fears that interfere with daily life. For them, constant anxiety and fear become an unbearable burden.
Like diabetes or heart disease, anxiety disorders are serious medical conditions that can get progressively worse if left untreated. Fortunately, anxiety disorders are very treatable. The remedy depends on the type of disorder. Most disorders fall into one of five categories:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Excessive, unrealistic worry that lasts six months or more
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Persistent, recurring thoughts or obsessions that reflect exaggerated anxiety or fears
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Exposure to a traumatic event
- Panic Disorder
- Severe attacks of panic for no apparent reason
- Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD): Extreme anxiety about being judged by others or
- Intense fear reaction to a specific object or situation (such as spiders, dogs, or heights)
Facts about Anxiety Disorders:
Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive worry about everyday things. Unlike those who are anxious from time to time, individuals with anxiety disorders are plagued by excessive worrying over a prolonged period of time – generally at least 6 months.
- Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting both children and adults.
- 19 million adult Americans suffer from anxiety disorders.
- Anxiety disorders may develop from a complex set of risk factors – including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
- Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of people suffering from an anxiety disorder receive treatment.*
- Anxiety disorders are commonly misdiagnosed and under-treated.
- Anxiety disorders can mimic physical illnesses – causing fatigue, restlessness, sleep problems, insomnia, muscle tension, sweating, nausea, cold hands, difficulty swallowing, jumpiness, gastrointestinal discomfort or diarrhea.
*Data adapted from the National Institute of Mental Health.
How do you know how anxiety is too much?
Are you bothered by at least three of the following?
- Excessive worry, occurring more days than not, for a least six months?
- Unreasonable worry about a number of events or activities, such as work, school and/or health?
- The inability to control the worry?
Are you bothered by at least three of the following?
- Restlessness, feeling keyed-up or being on edge?
- Being easily tired?
- Having problems concentrating?
- Muscle tension?
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or restless and unsatisfying sleep?
- Does your anxiety interfere with your daily life?
Having more than one illness at the same time can make it difficult to diagnose and treat the different conditions. Illnesses that sometimes complicate anxiety disorders include depression and substance abuse. With this in mind, please take a minute to answer the following questions.
Have you experienced changes in sleeping or eating habits?
More days than not, do you feel:
- Sad or depressed?
- Disinterested in life?
- Worthless or guilty?
During the last year, has the use of alcohol or drugs:
- Resulted in your failure to fulfill responsibilities with work, school, or family?
- Placed you in dangerous situation, such as driving a car under the influence?
- Gotten you arrested?
- Continued despite causing problems for you and/or your loved ones?
If you answered yes to one or more of the above issues it might be worthwhile to make an appointment to discuss this with Susan or Mark at 805.987.7222.
Improving Depression and Anxiety Treatment:
Most of the drug-based methods used to treat depression and anxiety include chemicals that either imitate a neurotransmitter or redistribute existing neurotransmitters. Many affect serotonin, and some affect other neurotransmitters like GABA, norepinephrine, or dopamine. Susan has over 20 years of experience in treating anxiety and depression.
Neurotransmitter function can also be supported with nutrient-based programs. Neurotransmitters are made from various components of food in a normal, healthy diet. Increasing the amounts of these dietary constituents can help maintain normal neurotransmitter levels.
While no program can guarantee success for everyone, it is worthwhile to effectively match a drug-based and/or nutrient-based program to the specific needs of the individual.
…Environmental and biological factors including stress, poor diet, neurotoxins or genetics can cause imbalances in the levels of neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain. These imbalances can trigger or exacerbate anxiety and depression symptoms.
Take Charge of Your Health
If you are struggling with depression, anxiety & panic disorder or other mood disorders, call 805.987.7222 for an appointment. This could be your first step toward a happier and healthier tomorrow!.