Category : Depression

Five Things People Get Wrong About Anxiety And Depression

About 1 in 4 people in the United Kingdom suffer from a mental health problem each year, with two of the most common conditions being anxiety and depression.

Despite so many people suffering from anxiety and depression, many myths and misconceptions about these conditions still exist.

In this article, I’ll share five things that people get wrong about anxiety and depression.

By being aware of these mistaken beliefs, you will be in a better position to help the people in your life who have anxiety or depression.

The only way to treat anxiety and depression is with medication

While medication is sometimes used to treat anxiety and depression problems, it isn’t always required.

Many people suffering from these conditions respond well to treatments like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).

CBT is based around changing the attitudes, behaviours, thinking styles, and beliefs of patients.

It addresses the the underlying behavioural patterns and habits that are associated with depression or anxiety.

CBT sometimes involves the use of exposure therapy. Exposure therapy involves exposing the patient to an object or context that they fear, in a safe and secure environment.

Several other techniques can be used to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms including:

  •   Art therapy
  •   Practicing mindfulness
  •   Meditation
  •   Journalling
  •   Counselling
  •   Breathing exercises and relaxation techniques
  •   Visualisation 

Social anxiety is just shyness

Social anxiety disorder is one of the most common forms of anxiety.

It causes everyday social interactions to trigger irrational anxiety and self-consciousness.

People with this disorder tend to be fearful of social situations because they believe they might be judged by others or humiliated in some way.

Many people mistakenly confuse this form of anxiety with shyness.

Shyness is a personality trait that is similar to introversion.

A shy person may not be very communicative or confident, but they are not filled with the feelings of dread that people with social anxiety have in social situations.

Shyness is relatively common, while social anxiety disorder affects a small percentage of the population.

Social anxiety disorder is a much more serious condition because sufferers often turn to alcohol and drug use to mask their symptoms.

Depression is just sadness

It’s perfectly natural to feel sad once in a while.

Sadness can be triggered by everything from a sad story on the news to the loss of a loved one.

However, feelings of sadness should always be temporary.

Even if you are mourning the loss of a loved one, you should be able to function in your daily life within a few weeks.

This is very to depression.

When a person is depressed, they often experience feelings of hopelessness, guilt, anxiety, and sadness for many weeks, months or years.

In some cases, there is no obvious cause of these feelings to occur.

Your life may be going well, then suddenly you are so depressed it is difficult to get out of bed.

Depression can also affect a person’s physical body, causing unexplained pain, insomnia, weight gain or weight loss, excessive hunger or a loss of appetite, and fatigue.

Depression is much harder to deal with compared to sadness.

A sad person can still laugh at funny events and experience some pleasure in their lives.

Depressed people often find that all of the pleasure has been drained from their life — which leads to a loss of interest in the activities that are normally enjoyable.

Sadness should not require medical intervention as it typically lasts a relatively short period of time.

Depression is a much more serious condition and one which may necessitate counselling, medication, and lifestyle changes to fully recover from.

Depression and anxiety are always caused by past trauma

While some people have experienced a traumatic event that has contributes to their depression or anxiety — it is not always the case.

Depression and anxiety may be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain (usually serotonin imbalances), drug and alcohol abuse, personality disorders, or genetic factors.

In some cases, doctors are unable to identify the precise cause of a person’s depression or anxiety. 

Past trauma is not always a causal factor of either condition.

Talking about these things makes them worse

Some people mistakenly believe that feelings of depression and anxiety will only get worse if they are spoken about.

Unfortunately, bottling up your emotions can actually worsen the symptoms of these conditions.

When you talk with a supportive and nonjudgemental listener, you can unburden yourself of any persistent negative thoughts and feelings.

Talking about your anxiety and depression is always the best way to ensure you get the support you need.

Thanks for reading Five Things People Get Wrong About Anxiety And Depression.

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5 Surprising Symptoms of Depression

Depression is an insidious disease because its initial symptoms can vary greatly.

While most people with depression will experience obvious symptoms like persistent feelings of sadness or anxiety — that is not always the case.

Some people will suffer from depression while exhibiting less obvious symptoms and they may not even realise they are suffering from depression.

This post will take a closer look at the more “surprising” symptoms of depression.

By being aware of these less common symptoms, you can improve your chances of identifying depression early on and taking action to stop it from progressing.

Unexpected weight gain

If you look in the mirror one day and suddenly realise that you have put on a lot of weight, it may be related to depression.

Weight gain is often associated with depression because being depressed can alter your eating habits and change your metabolism.

In some cases, depressed people simply eat more than normal because they enjoy the little bursts of serotonin that are released as they eat.

Serotonin is a feel-good neurotransmitter that is released in the brain when performing enjoyable activities like eating ice cream or chocolate.

Depressed people can temporarily gain some relief from their depression if it is caused by a serotonin deficiency.

Negative emotions like guilt, sadness, and hopelessness can also cause people to eat more.

Eating temporarily distracts the mind from these any negative thoughts.

Unfortunately, this can create a negative feedback loop where overeating creates feelings of guilt and these feelings of guilt make you overeat again.

Another reason for unexpected weight gain is that depressed people tend to be inactive.

They often skip their workouts, preferring to sit on the couch instead — which of course, leads to weight gain. 

You no longer feel “anything”

Most people suffering from depression will experience a wide range of negative emotions.

This can include feelings of dread, fear, sadness, anxiety, anger, hopelessness, or discontent.

However, some depressed people simply feel nothing.

They might be so numb or apathetic that nothing around them triggers any emotions at all.

The drive to be active and do things is gone, and they may become cold or distant.

In some cases, this can lead to the depressed person pushing away the people in their life that normally provide them with love and support.

Physical pain

While the symptoms of depression mostly affect the mind, they can also affect the body.

If you have been suffering unexplained joint pain, back pain or limb pain, it may be a result of depression taking hold.

Depression is associated with physical pain because the neurotransmitters that influence pain and mood are the same (serotonin and norepinephrine).

If these neurotransmitters are imbalanced, it can cause depression and pain to appear simultaneously.

Unfortunately, this also means that the more severe your depression becomes, the more physical pain you will be in.

Depression can also cause other physical ailments including gastrointestinal problems, sleep disturbances, psychomotor activity changes, and appetite changes.

You start drinking more alcohol than normal

Alcohol and depression have complex relationship.

When you drink alcohol, it can feel like the symptoms of depression have eased as alcohol ingestion shifts your focus away from your inner thoughts.

This makes consuming alcohol more pleasurable as you feel like you are giving your brain a “break” from the repetitive negative thoughts caused by depression.

However, excessive alcohol consumption can actually worsen depression symptoms and trigger dangerous depressive episodes.

Researchers have discovered that the link between alcohol dependence and depression is very clear.

One 2012 study performed in the United States found that 63.8% of people with alcohol dependency also have depression.

Alcohol dependency can extend the duration of your depression, deplete your energy levels, damage your relationships and impact your physical health — so it’s always important to be mindful of how much you drink.

Forgetfulness or indecisiveness

If you find that you are losing your keys more often or decision-making has become more difficult, depression may be to blame.

Depression can affect your cognition, which is the process of acquiring knowledge and understanding.

This can impact how well your brain performs common tasks like making decisions, remembering facts, and resolving problems.

The main reason why depression affects cognition is because it increases the level of cortisol in your body.

Cortisol is a hormone that is released when you experience stressful situations.

It puts the body into fight-or-flight mode — where you become physically and mentally prepared to either run away from the threat or to fight it.

Researchers have found that having high levels of cortisol in your body can eventually weaken or shrink a part of the brain called the hippocampus.

This part of the brain regulates memory and emotions.

If your depression has begun to impact the hippocampus, you may notice your cognitive performance declining.

Fortunately, seeking treatment for depression and stress can improve most depression-related cognitive problems. 

Thanks for reading 5 Surprising Symptoms of Depression. 

Do you have any of these symptoms? 

If so, talk to a loved one or a medical professional as soon as possible to obtain the help you need.