Anxiety and Depression

When people suffer from a form of negative emotion, this can manifest itself as anxiety – it puts us in a place where we feel uncomfortable. Quite often, in our daily lives, we experience situations where we feel uncomfortable and/or lack confidence in our ability to deal withan event or external stimuli – these feelings make up the meaning of anxiety.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

When we are in an uncomfortable situation the body itself may feel a trigger of the fight or flee response, most often, it is the latter and we find that the heart rate gets faster and our bodies prepare to deal with the perceived threat. It is important to note that the real meaning and purpose of anxiety is self-preservation and is therefore an emotion of importance. However, if someone has a high disposition to an excess of feelings of anxiety, then this can lead to symptoms, both mild and severe, of a number of general anxiety disorders. Taken to extreme, this can be phobias, panic attacks and unfounded fear bordering on terror, when confronted by a “trigger”, related to past events.

Panic attacks have the associated symptoms of high pulse rate, breathlessness and dizziness that can be quite severe; whether the trigger is rational or irrational, to the sufferer of anxiety panic attacks, the perceived danger is very real in terms of their automatic nervous response system.

It is not uncommon for young people to suffer from forms of social anxiety – a fear of going to unfamiliar places or meeting new people, meaning that they try to avoid such situations. Quite a common and less severe form of anxiety is the fear of public speaking.

Whatever the nature or origin of both mild and severe symptoms of anxiety, there are a number of ways they can be dealt with to minimise their impact on day to day activities.

Here is what the meaning of social anxiety is for some:

What is depression?

Everyone has good days and bad days. It is common for all of us to have days when we are a little depressed, but that does not necessarily mean we are showing signs of clinical depression. But, imagine going to bed, waking up and feeling as if you have not had a good night sleep at all. Those with depression endure this every day. With depression, the brain does not synthesize the same brain patterns (waves) as the patterns that those without depression make whilst asleep. Little wonder that they have very little energy and no amount of sleep can refresh them.

The meaning of depression, in a clinical sense, is when a person suffers feelings of acute sadness, grief, severe anxiety, with accompanying low self esteem and low self confidence. It is not a matter of being able to “pull yourself together” as directed to do so, in years gone by; depression generates a very low mood with lack of desire to engage in any productive activity. There are many symptoms, but the most common ones are very low self-motivation to engage in activities they once enjoyed, eating disorder (loss of appetite or actually eating too much; there is a general malaise with accompanying pessimistic and negative thoughts. Many of these result in the person not wanting company and becoming more socially isolated, with the more severe thought process leading to a belief that life has no more meaning, leading to thoughts of suicide.

What about the science of depression

Take a look at this short video that makes particular reference to neurogenesis:

Bi-polar disorder

Bi-polar disorder used to be called manic-depression with mood swings from euphoria to abject sadness. Other types include major (clinical) depression and dysthymia. For all depressive disorders there are medications available to control and aid recovery. However, many of these drugs have bad side-effects resulting in lack of energy and weight gain.

Current thinking is looking at other ways to help aid recovery and lower drug intake – a number of these have origins in bio-feedback such as using galvanic skin response when using simple connection to the computer and getting the brain to control degrees of relaxation in the user, to guide a “space-ship” through clouds and obstacles. As the user becomes more proficient the degree of difficulty is raised. Trials in the USA have shown that this has helped those suffering from depression to create normal brain rhythms whilst asleep and to reduce drug dependency.

As with all things, medication should be taken as prescribed by your physician and any other alternative therapies also undertaken having first informed your doctor/psychiatrist.

Many of the mental health tests for psycholigical disorders are covered in our Mental Health First Aid Training