What exactly are anxiety and depression?

Today, you hear a lot about people saying that they’re anxious or depressed. In fact, nearly one in five Americans say that they suffer from anxiety or depression — that’s about 40 million people. And seven of every ten women will experience depression at some point in life.

People who have never experienced anxiety often dismiss it by saying that everyone gets nervous or uncomfortable at some time. That’s true. And, they brush aside depression by saying that sadness is a normal part of our lives. That’s true, too. But anxiety isn’t normal nervousness and depression isn’t ordinary sadness.

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, apprehensive uneasiness, or nervousness. It’s an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear that’s often marked by physical signs such as feeling out of breath, sweating, and an increased pulse rate. Anxiety may include recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns that can become obsessions.

Depression involves prolonged feelings of sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration. Frequently, it includes significant changes in appetite and time spent sleeping. People who are depressed typically experience feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes may consider self-harm and suicide.

Some people think of anxiety and depression as lifelong conditions, and it’s true that there are those people who battle them from childhood on. But the reality is that they are usually not permanent conditions, and both are usually helped by therapy (sometimes in conjunction with medication). Generally, people who enter therapy because they feel anxious or depressed report better outcomes in as few as ten sessions. Trained therapists such as our professional counselors focus not only on helping people address their current feelings of anxiety or depression, but also on developing strategies to reduce the likelihood that those feelings will return in the future.

The sad news is that half of all people experiencing anxiety or depression will not seek help for it, for a variety of reasons that may include fear, shame, or a sense of resignation that nothing can be done to help them. The people who don’t get help will report lower marital satisfaction, increased divorce rates, and more missed work because of their symptoms. Many will attempt to alleviate those symptoms by turning to alcohol and/or drugs, which often leads to addictions and more severe problems.

If you think that you or someone you love is experiencing anxiety of depression, there is hope. One of our counselors can provide an evaluation and recommend the best way to proceed. There’s no shame in asking for help, and it’s the first step in moving toward the life you were meant to live. Don’t suffer in silence any longer. Contact us today to set a time to talk, or come to our anxiety/depression support this Wednesday! Call or text 317-790-9396 to register. And, if you would like one of our professionals to provide further education regarding anxiety or depression e-mail us at admin@caretochange.org. We are here to help you!