Anxiety and Depression
You’ve noticed some changes lately. Maybe you feel sad, hopeless, or don’t get any joy out of activities that used to be fun. Sounds like depression, right?
Maybe that’s not all. Sometimes you’re worried, afraid, and just plain uneasy. Isn’t that a sign of anxiety?
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health concerns in our society. They are often experienced as a complex set of emotional and functional challenges.
Anxiety and depression are not the same, but they often occur together. It is not uncommon for people with depression to experience anxiety and people with anxiety to become depressed. There is also overlap in some of the treatments, so it is beneficial to learn about both conditions.
Depression is a common mental health problem that affects people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds. About two thirds of adults will at some time experience depression severe enough to interfere with their normal activities.
Women are twice as likely as men to become depressed partly due to hormone changes occurring pre-menstrually, at menopause, during pregnancy or after childbirth.
Although everyone occasionally experiences low mood, these feelings usually pass after a couple of days. When a person has clinical depression, these problems can become chronic or recurrent, interfering with daily life. Depression causes symptoms such as low mood, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, anxiety, irritability low self-esteem, disturbed sleep or appetite, weight change, tiredness, lack of motivation, concentration or libido, physical pain, and suicidal thoughts.
Depression is likely to result from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors. It may be triggered by stressful events, such as bereavement, illness, relationship problems or financial difficulties.
Anxiety is the feeling of fear or panic. Most people feel anxious, panicky or fearful about situations in life, such as money problems or exams but often once the difficult situation is over, you feel better and calmer. Sometimes the feelings of fear or anxiety continue after the difficult situation or sometimes you may feel a stronger sense of fear than other people and this is when anxiety becomes a problem and can affect you doing every day things.
Symptoms of anxiety include feeling frightened, nervous or panicky all the time. You may also feel down or depressed and have difficulties sleeping and eating, be unable to concentrate on things and feel tired and irritable. Physically you might have palpitations or a racing of your heart, dry mouth, trembling, faintness and you may experience stomach cramps or diarrhoea.
Traditional Chinese Medicine – Acupuncture
Acupuncture originated in China and has been in use for more than 2,000 years and practitioners claim that by inserting tiny needles into specific areas of the skin, they can affect the meridians – or channels of pain – that run up and down the body, blocking pain.
Previous research has shown that acupuncture can help ease anxiety by acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the ‘analytical’ brain, which is responsible for anxiety and worry.
Reflexology is a system involving massage or a degree of pressure in certain areas of the body that is used to relieve tension, stress, anxiety, and other ailments. This system is based on the theory that there are specific places called “reflex points” on the feet, hands, and other areas that are linked to helping restore proper functioning of internal organs. It is certainly an alternative, non-mainstream treatment for anxiety that has evolved from ancient Chinese therapy.
The therapy is rooted in the touching of “reflex points” or “reflex zones” to stimulate various body organs. When these organs become stimulated via massage or pressure, this therapy is supposed to help restore the body’s natural energy flow so that it can maintain balance in both physical and mental functioning – promoting relaxation. One of the most common uses for this type of therapy is to help treat stress and anxiety.
Additionally it may help to increase blood flow to the extremities, slow down heart rate, and decrease blood pressure. This massage work in this type of therapy is soft and has minimal pressure and feels soothing to the patient. The nice thing is that for people looking to chill out and not take medication, this could be a promising natural treatment.
Being in nature can reduce anxiety and depression and increase pleasant feelings. Looking at a scene of natural beauty, people describe their feelings with words like calm, beauty, happiness, hope, and aliveness. Being connected to nature not only makes people feel better emotionally, it reduces blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones—all signals of stress and fear.
So when you are fighting anxiety or feeling down, find a park or greenspace and go for a walk or go outside and work in your garden.