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
- Breathing exercises and relaxation techniques
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.
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