Depression is one of the most solvable diagnoses in Mental Health. Primarily, it is driven by the thought disorder of having expectations that are far too high and unreasonable for yourself or others. However, it has genetic components that can be overwhelming also.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression can show itself as:
- feeling lethargic
- being irritable
- having a lack of contact with self
- simply existing
- poor self-care
- feelings of apathy
- a constant nagging feeling
- seeking comfort (through something like food or shopping)
- becoming obsessive
- being frequently moody
- experiencing chronic sleepiness
- having a lack of concentration
- . . . and so many other symptoms. In young children, depression is usually manifested in the form of regular irritability.
Preferences Versus Expectations
To get a handle on what drives depression, we need to make our expectations conscious by writing them down and challenging them. Expectations come with a lot of weighted emotions that get in our way. (For example, if I expect a kiss goodbye when my wife is preoccupied, then I will probably dwell on the hurt and qu...
Anxiety seems to be becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society. The reasons for this are varied, but the reality of what we are experiencing is nonetheless, well, stressful.
What is an Anxiety Attack?
But what is an anxiety attack, exactly? And how can someone know if they are experiencing one?
An anxiety attack is an onset of symptoms in response to a trigger. It is the perception of danger rather than the presence of danger.
Here are some common physical symptoms of anxiety:
- Racing/pounding heart
- Shallow and/or rapid breathing
- Limb weakness
- Chest pain/tightness
- Knot or butterflies in stomach
And here are some other emotional or mental symptoms:
- A sense of impending danger
- A desire to escape
- Confusion/inability to think clearly
- Feeling panicky
- A sense of losing control
What's the Difference Between Anxiety and a Panic Attack?
These symptoms of anxiety tend to appear more gradually than those of a panic attack. A panic...
Being in my line of work, I often get friends and family approaching me about mental health questions. Sometimes specific, but sometimes very general as well and I notice some commonalities between them. Almost everyone wants to know about anxiety, and further, why it seems to be so prevalent in society today.
Are people getting "softer"? Is the world turning towards more and more depravity? Or are we just talking about something that’s always been there?
It used to be that a nervous breakdown was a sort of “snap” that the incredibly overworked person experienced. Shouting “I just can’t take it anymore!” they quit their job and stormed out of the office.
Maybe in the days that follow they began to lose sight of cleanliness and things fell apart. Whispers began back at the office, “did you hear what happened to Steve?” “He just couldn’t take the pressure I guess…” and then life went on.
This is the idea of the nervous breakdown we got from film and media. However, more and more I hear about individuals experiencing what they call a nervous breakdown and we begin to wonder why they occur. Where are all these nervous breakdowns coming from and is there anything we can do to help?
What is a Nervous Breakdown?
First of all, what are we ca...
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 18.1% of adults in the United States are affected by an anxiety disorder of some kind – that’s about 40 million people. However, when allowing for errors in misdiagnosis or those who do not seek treatment for anxiety, this estimate rises quite a bit, to approximately 30% of Americans in the United States being affected by an anxiety disorder.
These numbers are already quite astounding, but when we look at the research conducted by Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), we see that over the past decade, 54% of those with reported anxiety are women, while 46% are men. Thus, we can conclude that this is a massive issue that is plaguing Americans in general, but for whatever reason, we are seeing that the issue is perhaps affecting women on a greater scale than it is men.
What is an Anxiety Disorder?
An eastern philosopher is credited with a saying that I believe holds a great deal of wisdom – “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the moment.” – Unknown (widely thought to be Lao Tzu)
Obviously, there are multiple causes for depression in people, and biological co...
“Your Mental Health is more important than the test, the interview, the lunch date, the meeting, the family dinner, the soccer game, the recital, and the grocery-run. Take care of yourself.”
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states, “Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and adults. An estimated 44 million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders. Yet only about one-third of those suffering from an anxiety disorder receive treatment even though the disorders are highly treatable.”
It seems the word Anxiety is used quite often in today’s society. You may be wondering if it is even being used correctly in people’s everyday language or if they are meaning everyday worry. You might wonder if there is even a difference between worry and anxiety. Let’s take a look at these similar terms.
Worry is defined as uneasiness or allowing the mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. The American Psychological Association defines anxiety as an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, which accompany physical changes such as increased blood pressure.
They sound similar so let’s keep going. When an individual worries, they are able to decipher what they are worried about and pinpoint ...
The term “nervous breakdown” is often overused and ambiguous. It could mean anything from a bad day and being overwhelmed to a having a psychotic episode.
We often hear of celebrities “going through a nervous breakdown” when there are reports of erratic behavior or a significant change in the way they present themselves, but we may also hear a coworker proclaim “I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown” when circumstances are particularly chaotic at the workplace.
But what does the phrase "nervous breakdown" actually mean? It is first important to note that it is not a clinical term. A trained clinician will assess for symptoms that may lead to a diagnosis, and there is no “nervous breakdown” diagnosis.
Despite this, “nervous breakdown” is used as a blanket term, often in a context where the details of mental distress are not openly discussed. There is some shared sense of what the term means. If I were to conduct a small survey, it is likely that people generally would agree that a nervous breakdown indicates a point of abnormal psychological distress.
In order to label the change in behavior as abnormal, we must first have a sense of what is the standard behavior. From that point, what we see or experience as the norm is jilted by a “breakdown...
Many of us experience social situations that cause us anxiety. For some, meeting new people is a challenge. For others, just walking into a room full of strangers is uncomfortable. Because we like to avoid discomfort, most of us try to develop workarounds that allow us to be out in the world and forming new relationships.
When the anxiety begins to keep us from activities, interfere with work, or prevent us from participating in social gatherings, it may be time to look more closely at our social phobia, understand it and get help.
Social Anxiety Disorder
For the purposes of this discussion, it is good to have a sense for what an actual diagnosis of social anxiety disorder looks like, so we can better assess our own symptoms and determine whether or not we should seek the assistance of a mental health counselor. The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition), describes Social Anxiety Disorder as follows:
- Marked fear or anxiety about one or more social situations in which the individual is exposed to possible scrutiny by others. Examples include social interactions (e.g. – having a conversation, meeting unfamiliar people), being observed (e.g. – eating or drinking), and performing in front of other (e.g. – giving a ...