Monday, March 05, 2018

This Year, Make Depression And Anxiety A Thing Of The Past

New Year’s resolutions run the gamut of difficulty. On the low end, one might tell themselves that this is the year they are going to start learning French – easy, right? Then, on the other end, there are those who promise themselves that this is the year they are finally going to shrug off their depression or anxiety – more difficult, to be sure.

But it’s not impossible, and by understanding the disorders in question, understanding the treatments available and the recourses for help, you can be well on your way in 2018 to making depression and anxiety a thing of the past. If you feel you may suffer from either depression or anxiety (or both), take care of your health in 2018 by seeking a psychological assessment and looking into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness.

Perhaps this article should begin with a quick definition of the two disorders (which some clinicians and researchers don’t believe should be considered distinct disorders, but rather two sides of the same coin). Depression is more than just sadness; it is an often pervasive feeling of lowness, accompanied in many cases with a loss of interest and pleasure in normal activities, self-esteem issues and a host of physical manifestations, like loss of appetite or difficulty sleeping. It can be, to put it tersely, a consuming affliction. And afflicting roughly one in six people in the developed world, it is not by any metric uncommon.

Anxiety, which accompanies about half of all people with depression, is characterized by excessive fear and worry, with most experiencing it in its generalized form: that is, with their anxiety directed not on a single thing (as in a phobia) but in a general, persistent, everyday way. It can be a very disarming disorder, causing sufferers to favour being alone or inside, sometimes shying away from normal social interaction.

As mentioned, the first step in tackling these disorders is to see a psychologist for an assessment, which, in addition to offering a better understanding of your possible disorder, can begin the process of treatment options and recommendations. Common options include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, which are similar (though not the same) forms of talk therapy that deal with the relationship between your thoughts, behaviors and emotions. Understanding how each of these things influences the others (often recursively) is a significant step towards mitigating negative feelings, and has been of great help to many people living with anxiety and depression. Another popular approach is mindfulness, a process that grew out of Buddhist meditation and has been widely embraced in psychology circles. Broadly, it involves focusing on thoughts and experiences in the moment, as they happen.

Depression and anxiety are common, and their effects are never easy. This year, start with achievable goals: seek out an assessment, and look into different forms of therapy. The year 2018 could be the year when you say goodbye to depression and anxiety for good.

This is a guest blog entry.

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