Anxiety and Depression
We all know what it's like to feel "stressed out" or "blue"; it's part of the human condition. But when the stress or sadness lasts too long or is too intense, it may be time to see a therapist. Anxiety is a condition that arises out of fear; depression comes from sustained, unresolvable stress. They are different but interconnected (Charles Darwin once observed that fear is the most depressing emotion of all).
What depression looks like
Everyone is different. Some people are profoundly depressed and debilitated, even to the point of being hospitalized because of suicidal thoughts or an inability to care for themselves. Others have a longstanding, more chronic form of depression that allows them to work and even have some friends and social interaction but they still miss a great deal of pleasure in life.
People are sometimes surprised to learn that a person can have clinical depression without having the conscious experience of sadness or tearfulness. Anger may be more pronounced in such people. Cultural variations offer an explanation. For instance, in many families or cultures men are taught to suppress or deny the experience of sadness or a sense of hopelessness. Typically, these sorts of men are quite unaware that they are depressed. Instead, their depression is identified when they lament to their primary care doctor that they are fatigued or lack, "get up and go".
Treatment of Depression and Anxiety
Because no two people are alike, effective psychotherapy must be individualized. Temperament, history, environment, and coping skills vary from person to person; what works for one person may not work for someone else. Another problem is that the symptoms of depression interfere with the recovery process. It may be hard to exercise, for instance, if you feel lethargic, withdrawn, even hopeless. Or how do you get a good nights sleep, which is critical to good mental health, when sleeping problems are one of the common symptoms of depression?
Most people who come in for counseling have been struggling for a long time with their symptoms. Some struggle alone, others listen to media personalities or try advice from self help books and well meaning family and friends. But if you are suffering and not getting the relief you want psychotherapy is an effective treatment for many psychological problems. read more about psychotherapy here
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder is not just shyness and a fear of public speaking. It is a debilitating psychological disturbance that leaves a person resisting and avoiding all contact with others. Below are some questions to ask yourself
to help determine if you have Social Anxiety Disorder.* Since
psychological treatment is an effective treatment for social anxiety, consult a therapist if you answer yes to these questions.
Social Anxiety Disorder quiz
*adapted from Liebowitz Social Anxiety Disorder Scale test