Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety — What Is It and What Causes It?
Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at some point in their life.
It’s the body’s natural response to stress and can be triggered by a variety of factors, including work, school, or personal relationships. For most people, anxiety is short-lived and manageable. But for others, anxiety can become chronic and severe, interfering with daily life.
Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental health disorder. They affect 40 million adults in the United States — that’s 18% of the population.
Anxiety disorders can develop at any age but are most commonly diagnosed in adolescence and young adulthood. Women are also more likely than men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
There are several different types of anxiety disorders, each with its own set of symptoms. The most common include:
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): GAD is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a variety of topics, including work, school, or personal relationships. People with GAD often feel like they are on edge and can have difficulty concentrating or relaxing. Physical symptoms of GAD can include fatigue, muscle tension, headaches, and gastrointestinal problems.
Panic disorder: Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent and unexpected panic attacks. A panic attack is a period of intense fear or discomfort that comes on suddenly and reaches its peak within minutes. Physical symptoms of a panic attack can include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating, and dizziness.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD): SAD is characterized by a fear of social situations, such as meeting new people, public speaking, or being evaluated by others. People with SAD often feel like they are being watched and judged by others, and may avoid social situations altogether. Physical symptoms of SAD can include blushing, sweating, trembling, and difficulty speaking.
Specific phobias: A phobia is an intense fear of a specific object or situation, such as heights, flying, or spiders. People with specific phobias typically go to great lengths to avoid the thing they’re afraid of.
Anxiety disorders can also be accompanied by other mental health disorders, such as depression. This is known as comorbidity. Comorbid anxiety and depression is common — approximately 50% of people with one disorder also have the other.
There are a number of potential causes of anxiety disorders, including genetics, brain chemistry, and life experiences.
People who have a family history of anxiety or other mental health disorders are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder themselves.
Brain chemistry may also play a role. Certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, are involved in regulating mood and can be imbalanced in people with anxiety disorders.
Finally, stressful life events or experiences can trigger anxiety disorders. These can include things like trauma, loss, or major life changes.
Additional Risk Factors for Anxiety
While anyone can develop an anxiety disorder, there are some risk factors that may make someone more likely to experience one, including:
Gender: Women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Age: Anxiety disorders often first develop in adolescence or young adulthood.
Family history: People with a family history of anxiety or other mental health disorders are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder themselves.
Life experiences: Stressful life events or experiences, such as trauma, loss, or major life changes, can trigger anxiety disorders.
Symptoms of anxiety disorders can vary depending on the specific disorder. However, there are some common symptoms that are seen in most types of anxiety disorders, including:
- Excessive worry or fear
- Avoidance of certain situations or objects
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Sleep problems
If you think you may have an anxiety disorder, it’s important to see a mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Treatment for anxiety disorders typically includes therapy and medication.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can be particularly effective in treating anxiety disorders. CBT involves working with a therapist to identify and change negative thinking patterns and behaviors that contribute to anxiety.
There are also a number of medications that can be used to treat anxiety disorders.
The most common type of medication prescribed for anxiety is a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines work by reducing the activity of certain chemicals in the brain, which can help to decrease anxiety.
However, benzodiazepines can also be addictive and should only be used as directed by a mental health professional.
If you think you may have an anxiety disorder, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are many effective treatments available that can help you manage your symptoms and live a normal, productive life.
Depression — What Is It and What Causes It?
Depression is a serious mental health condition, affecting 5% of the global population, that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It can impact every aspect of your life, from your relationships to your work performance.
Depression is more than just feeling down for a few days — it’s a serious medical condition that requires treatment.
There are a number of different types of depression, each with its own symptoms and treatments.
The most common type of depression is major depressive disorder (MDD), which is characterized by a persistently low mood that lasts for at least two weeks. Other types of depression include dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and bipolar disorder.
While anyone can develop depression, there are some risk factors that may make someone more likely to experience it. These include:
Genetic factors: People with a family history of depression are more likely to experience it themselves.
Life experiences: Certain life events, such as trauma or loss, can trigger depression.
Medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as thyroid problems or certain types of cancer, can increase the risk of developing depression.
Substance abuse: People who abuse drugs or alcohol are more likely to experience depression.
Symptoms of depression can vary depending on the specific type. However, there are some common symptoms that are seen in most types of depression, including:
- Persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness
- Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fatigue or decreased energy
- Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep
- Changes in appetite or weight
If you think you may be depressed, it’s important to see a mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Depression is a treatable condition, and there are many effective treatments available. These include therapy, medication, and self-care measures.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can be particularly effective in treating depression. CBT involves working with a therapist to identify and change negative thinking patterns and behaviors that contribute to depression.
There are also a number of medications that can be used to treat depression. The most common type of medication prescribed for depression is a class of drugs called antidepressants.
Antidepressants work by changing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, which can help to relieve symptoms of depression. However, it’s important to note that it may take several weeks for antidepressants to begin working.
In addition to therapy and medication, there are also a number of self-care measures that can help to ease symptoms of depression.
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting enough sleep
- Practicing relaxation techniques
- Connecting with friends and family
If you think you may be depressed, please get in touch with us. Depression is a serious condition that requires treatment. However, with the right help, it is possible to get back on track toward happiness and fulfillment.
Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine: A Holistic Approach to Mental Health
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health conditions.
They can have a profound impact on your life, making it difficult to function at work or home. While there are many different treatments available, including medication and therapy, some people may also benefit from a holistic approach to treatment.
The Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine offers a unique approach to mental health care. We believe in treating the whole person, not just the symptoms of their condition. Our team of experts will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that meets your specific needs.
We believe that everyone deserves to receive high-quality mental health care. If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, we encourage you to reach out to us today. We can help you find the treatment and support you need to live a healthy, happy life.
Contact us and make your appointment today!