Debs Connell Psychotherapist & Wellbeing Coach
Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health conditions but the good news is both are very treatable.
Although anxiety and depression are two different classes of disorders, they share many of the symptoms and they commonly occur together. Many people with anxiety develop depression and vice versa.
Very low mood and dark thoughts are associated with depression, while excessive worrying is more associated with anxiety.
Depression is a mood disorder with a group of symptoms lasting for days, weeks or even months and significantly impact daily functioning. Symptoms can vary between one person and another.
Characteristic signs of depression include: feelings of sadness and hopelessness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping, feeling exhausted, a change in appetite, unexplained physical pain or aches and feeling like small tasks take extra effort.
Anxiety takes many forms, it can be crushing panic, flashbacks of post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety or show itself as a phobia. Symptoms can vary from mild such as dizziness, palpitations, feeling sick, sweating, headaches etc to causing debilitating physical symptoms such as muscle pain, fatigue, stomach problems and unpredictable moods and irritability. It may also affect your sleep and impact the ability to focus or concentrate.
Anxiety can make everything appear so much worse in someone’s life and prevent them from confronting their fears.
It is important to recognise that occasional anxiety is a normal response reaction to various occurrences in our lives. It releases the fight or flight hormones (cortisol & adrenalin) that are necessary at times, to protect us from harm. Anxiety becomes a problem when it impacts daily life.
A study conducted by Liverpool University psychologists, found that traumatic life events are the biggest cause of anxiety and depression, but how a person thinks about these events determines the level of stress they experience.
Although mental health problems can be triggered by traumatic life events or prolonged environmental stress, anyone can become mentally unwell.
Rumination, the tendency to repetitively think about something, plays a significant role in maintaining symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Thinking errors can cause and be caused by anxiety and depression. Thinking errors are faulty patterns of thinking or irrational beliefs that contribute to uncomfortable emotions which can impact all aspects of our lives.
Our thoughts create our feelings, feelings are not fact and thoughts aren’t always accurate! When you change the way you think, you change the way your body reacts. If we act positively it will reflect in our thoughts and be less supportive of negative thoughts.
Our experiences with anxiety and depression vary and so you may need to try different strategies to see which works best for you. Together we can find the tools and techniques that help you feel stronger and more in control!