What’s holding back mental healthcare access? There is a lot of information on the general issues that bar people from seeking help to treat their mental illnesses. Sure, there are people that have managed to access successful treatment, but a good number of those battling mental illnesses aren’t getting the help they need. This gap between patients and treatment trickles down to multiple factors.
Ideally, knowing all the reasons that are keeping you from accessing treatment could change your life. If you would like to know some of the reasons why accessing mental healthcare is tough, this is the post for you. It includes five of these barriers.
The points included in this post are not only an inside view of the mental healthcare industry but also evidence-based insights into why accessing treatment options have been a problem. It will answer the many questions in your mind right now.
Number One – Structural Barriers
Mental health issues are common all over America. While all states have been working on creating an environment favorable for mental health treatment, there still exists a large gap between access to treatment and the prevalence of the illnesses.
The Treatment Gap
The treatment gap is used to refer to the difference between the number of patients who need specific treatment and those who actually receive the care. Among the primary reasons for this large gap is the availability of unpredictable and insufficient data on the American population. This is exacerbated by the scarcity of resources for collecting this data.
According to the survey:
America’s weighted mean for the treatment gap for mental illnesses stands at 71.2%
The mean for the treatment gap stands at 57.6% for severe disorders
The mean for the treatment gap stands at 65.7% for critical to moderate disorders
In the case of severe mental disorders, the treatment gap is as follows:
5% in North America
9% in Latin America
4% in Mesoamerica
8% in South America
For severe to moderate mental disorders, the treatment gap increases substantially:
2% in North America
7% in Latin America
7% in Mesoamerica
1% in South America
Tackling the treatment gap that exists among alcohol and substance abusers is the biggest challenge for first-world countries such as America. The treatment gap among American adults is also exceptionally high, further adding to the global mental health disorder burden.
Poor Mental Health Policies
Policies are supposed to aid in meeting the needs of the population. Historically, America has been more than adamant in creating mental health policies aimed at helping people with war-related chronic mental health problems. This includes a centralized system of procedures that have been around since 1960. Services might no longer be available to the seriously ill citizens because the centralized approach didnât factor this target demographic.
The present situation concerning public health policies isn’t that different from the post-war one. Instead of targeting the population that needs them, today’s health policies are aimed at therapeutic services for outpatient settings. As such, this scenario results in inadequate resource allocation for the mental health sector.
Here are a few trends recorded in 2020, according to Mental Health America’s published article:
While most American have insurance, they lack treatment
The youth and adults lack treatment requirements
There is still a large proportion of the youth that goes unidentified despite struggling with mental health illnesses
Mental Health Professional Shortage
In general, America doesn’t have enough health professionals, but this inadequacy can be felt most in the mental healthcare sector. According to mental health resources, a good number of Americans, 89.3 million, live in federally designated areas of mental health shortage.
These statistics can be tied back to a variety of factors. Other than rural areas being highly deprived of diagnostic and treatment services, they typically lack access to mental health professionals. On the flip side, while urban areas have more health professionals, most have long waiting lists. Patients often have to wait for months before accessing these services.
This matter is further aggravated by government-sponsored and private insurance plans. Also, doctors often shy away from taking up mental healthcare careers.
The Organization of Mental Healthcare Services Is Fragmented
The fragmentation of mental health services makes accessing mental healthcare tougher for most people. Mental health services are referred to as ‘de facto’ in many areas. While people do report their problems, they often find themselves stuck in a maze of disorganization before they can get any help. This increases the urgency of having an efficient service system to facilitate direct contact with the community.
Some of the reasons for the disorganization of mental health services include:
Desperate administrative resources
Variation in eligibility criteria rules
Misconducted funding streams
When combined, these factors have created widespread artificial boundaries between the patients and access to treatment. It is rare for popular communities to offer their past and present medical histories for assessment. When these communities actually present this data, processing the examinations usually takes months.
A severe lack of mental health services is also common among large minority communities, which is why people who dwell in rural areas are known to commit suicide at a rate thatâs higher than their urban counterparts.
Ignorance of the High-Risk Population’s Treatment
Whenever reform and guidelines are being designed, the high-risk population is often neglected. Mental healthcare isn’t advanced enough to ensure that all aspects that require consideration are addressed. However, the leaders in advancement also use outdated and general approaches when making decisions on mental healthcare.
Here is some of the high-risk population that is often ignored during mental healthcare reforms:
Around 25% of this demographic claim that these Medicare restrictions bar them from seeking healthcare. Since the treatment offered to older people isn’t as receptive as that offered to other adults, most resist seeking treatment. Under Medicare, general outpatient medical services require a 20 percent copayment, while most outpatient mental health services require a 50 percent copayment. It also rigidly limits the lifetime hospitalizations to 190 days.
Suggested Citation: “9 Barriers to Effective Treatment and Intervention.” Institute of Medicine. 2002. Reducing Suicide: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. DOI: 10.17226/10398.
The under-diagnosis and under-treatment of the older generation also pose a greater risk to access to treatment. Since a good number of physiciansâ view depression and mental illnesses as part of growing old arising from anatomical, physiological, and psychological changes, special treatment considerations do not seem necessary for this group. However, this mindset can negatively impact the importance of seeking mental healthcare.
The reasons behind poor mental healthcare access are the same for the adolescent population; low utilization, limited access to care, low help-seeking behavior, and diagnosis problems have all contributed to the limited access to mental health treatment.
Another significant factor is that the unemployed status of most adolescents makes affording treatment expenses an uphill task. This age group also doesn’t adhere to appointments and follow-ups as required.
Number Two – Limited Awareness/Education About Mental Health
The lack of mental healthcare awareness can be quite consequential. Stories about mental health complications can be found everywhere, including in newspapers, media, and TV. The responsibility of spreading and understanding mental health awareness falls on the government, treatment providers, and family members. Why arenât people that struggle with bipolar disorder or chronic depressive disorder or schizophrenia getting the treatment they deserve? For those who do, why are treatment rates quite high?
The best excuse for this situation would be ‘Anosognosia’ â an inadequacy in self-awareness. If the person suffering from a mental disorder isn’t well-educated about their condition, they will have a lot of questions about their wellbeing. ‘Broken brain’ is a term commonly used to refer to people struggling with mental illnesses who have to deal with the continuous change in their brain or its damage without sensing that they have a mental illness.
50% of patients who are suffering from mental illness often don’t accept the fact that they have a mental disorder. While their health providers, friends, or family might try to inform them of their condition, it can be tough for them to understand or be mindful of their mental wellbeing. Addressing anosognosia is challenging since it is also a symptom of mental illness. Those who aren’t at home with their mental illnesses might react differently, including through:
Other than being uncomfortable to deal with at first, mental disorders do get worse with age and time. Those struggling with these illnesses may face pressure in the form of work, financial burden, memory loss, a decline in cognitive skills, and stigma, which can breed anxiety while socializing.
Fear and Anger
The experience of being told that you have a mental disorder is typically painful and terrifying. People react towards fear in a completely unpredictable way. For those with psychiatric disorders, it can be tough to take things positively.
The language used to address the different disorders could also be an issue to the point where people suffering from mental illnesses become susceptible to specific words. For instance, calling such people’ mentally disturbed’ can be humiliating and cause anger reactions.
Why Mental Health Awareness Matters
Mental health awareness and the awareness of existing healthcare choices are necessary for early diagnosis and for spotting red flags within a specific demographic. This awareness also speeds up recovery from mental disorders.
Knowledge of all things mental health-related could help those in need figure out how to access healthcare resources. In fact, half of Americans might not access healthcare resources due to not knowing how to go about it.
They may not be aware of the resources that exist for their specific disorder; non-profit organizations, insurance policies, government-sponsored low-budget insurance coverage, and funding all offer great opportunities for improved mental health for the population. However, the lack of education, cultural and language barriers, superstitions, and conservative mindsets hold back people from leveraging healthcare options and treatments.
Awareness offers both hope and a large recovery window. Attention to the possibilities of mental illnesses creates the perfect environment for decreasing comorbidities and improving how people approach life.
In the United States of America, a variety of organizations is working overtime to improve mental health awareness in their communities. These initiatives are targeted at improving the mental health of the population as well as increasing awareness of available treatment options. Some of these initiatives include:
Helpful Educational Resource for Mental Disorders and Healthcare In The U.S
CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
The CDC offers a rich source of data concerning mental health disorders. It has databases that are broadly based on public data and statistics. In recent years, the organization has been a huge advocate for mental health awareness. It has been promoting this cause by describing mental health to the public and outlining the benefits of mental health awareness as well as the available treatment options.
MedlinePlus is the service behind the most extensive medical library in the world, the ‘National Library of Medicine.’ The organization’s main goal is to offer high-quality information concerning health and wellness. By using English and Spanish, it achieves its goals of spreading healthcare awareness through all possible mediums. As an online resource, MedlinePlus is among the most trusted sources of information for individuals and their friends and family.
The U.S government uses this website as a one-step access door for a wide variety of mental health resources. Visitors can learn all things related to mental health by visiting the site. It targets a number of areas, including:
The general public
Health and emergency preparedness professionals
Government and business leaders
National Center For PTSD
This organization’s target demographic is American veterans, both men, and women. It claims to offer all employees of the VA respect, excellence, and a baseline of standards.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
NIMH has been one of the greatest champions of establishing evidence-based research on mental illnesses. As a leading federal agency in the mental health field, it falls under the 27 institutes of the National Institute of Health, which has been acclaimed as the world’s largest biomedical research agency.
In the coming five years, NIMH has created a strategic plan on how it wants to push mental health awareness forward. The plan includes (2020 updated):
Monitoring the trajectory of mental illnesses to establish the perfect way to intervene
Advancing the basic science of the brain, behavior, and genomics to understand mental illnesses better
Ensuring that people suffering from mental disorders can benefit from improved services and outcomes, and better knowledge to practice
Number Three – Racial Barriers and Social Stigma
The disorder isn’t the only complication that people struggling with mental illness have to deal with. While the disorder itself can be daunting to deal with, the whole experience is worsened by social stereotypes and prejudice.
Victims of mental illnesses are often robbed of both a healthy, happy life and access to mental healthcare facilities. They end up being deprived of adequate healthcare, good jobs, and access to freely available resources.
Why Mental Health Stigma Is Prevalent?
Stigma arises whenever the society or those closest to the victim term them as less desirable. It can be manifested in a variety of ways, including negative attitudes, ignorance, or discrimination. The victim is often referred to as ‘other.â
This stigma could easily be fueled by society’s negative attitudes and lack of awareness. In other cases, people struggling with mental illnesses often become society’s soft targets of violence in a variety of ways. For instance, people who have schizophrenia are often regarded as violent and a danger to others.
Five Common Societal Misconceptions About Mental Illness
1.Â Â Â Â Mental Disorders Are A Weakness
It is common for the mentally ill to receive a lot of backlash for their mental health status. Their condition often raises questions about their abilities, intelligence, and physical output. Such perceptions about them often lead victims towards a path of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness, which is often a big hurdle to their motivation to seek mental healthcare.
Also, seeking treatment for mental disorders is often regarded as a lack of mental strength. The truth is that mental strength isn’t affected by mental illnesses. In fact, many people dealing with mental health disorders are quite influential and are known to handle their condition incredibly well.
2.Â Â Â Â It Is Impossible to Overcome Mental Health Problems
Some contributing factors are non-modifiable, such as age, genetics, sex, and family history. However, it is quite possible for people struggling with mental illnesses to manage and recover from their conditions. A lot can be done to their daily living to lead them on the road of recovery. This includes:
Engaging in regular physical activity and exercise
3.Â Â Â Â Violence Is Normal for People with Mental Disorders
The media has made a significant contribution to the negative portrayal of the mentally ill. Mental illnesses have been tied to ghost possessions, domestic violence, spooky mental asylums, serial killers, and more.
Hollywood movies, news, and documentaries have easily earned the mentally ill a ‘crazy’ label. In reality, people struggling with mental illnesses tend to be innocent and polite and are often not the perpetrators of violence, but victims of it.
The ensuing backlash, false portrayal by the media, constant label, and linkage of mental illness to criminality have all contributed to creating an unsuitable environment for those with mental illnesses to recover or open up about their struggles.
4.Â Â Â Â Seeking Mental Healthcare Is Considered as a Sign of Failure and a Source of Embarrassment
Around 50% of Americans are embarrassed and hesitant to seek help, regardless of their mental condition. This can be linked to the myths, baseless opinions, and stereotypes that are constantly exchanged within society. Mental health disorders are far from being a choice. Seeking mental healthcare should be seen in the same light as getting help for other health conditions. It should be viewed as a choice to prioritize your health enough to seek treatment and enjoy a better life. Owning up to your mental disorder and seeking help is, in fact, a sign of strength, which shows you have the spiritual power and will to design a happier life for yourself.
5.Â Â Â Â Mental Health Practitioners Aren’t Doctors
Studies in the field of psychiatry and psychology are of great importance. These health professionals play a key role in diagnosing mental disorders, treating them, and coming up with advanced ways of managing mental illnesses. Psychologists cannot be called doctors until they earn their PhD. in their fields and get authorized licensure. Attending medical schools isn’t a requirement for them. On the other hand, psychiatrists have to attend medical school to completion and take licensing exams before reaching their degree. In both cases, these professionals are referred to as doctors after fulfilling the required criteria.
While there is a significant difference in salary and education, this difference neither takes away their title nor questions their expertise. The fact is that both professions have a significant role to play in decreasing mental health stigma and improving healthcare accessibility with an excellent prognosis.
Stigma Can Be Divided into Two:
Stereotype: The mentally ill are negatively perceived by society. (violent, different, weak, dangerous)
Prejudice: Rigidity towards these negative beliefs.
Discrimination: Often, this leads to the avoidance and withholding of common living opportunities.
On average, the American and European population has a very negative perception of people with mental health disorders. Even professionals in the mental health sector do practice some form of stigmatization.
Some of the general thoughts about mental health within the public domain are:
People struggling with mental illness should be isolated from society
The mentally ill are immature
Others should make the life decision of the mentally ill since they are incapable of making these decisions themselves
Double standards and discrimination in thoughts and opinions around the mentally ill are quite common. Family members might shy away from socializing with the mentally ill. An above-average portion of society will also have negative thoughts concerning marriages with the mentally ill. This public stigma hurts the chances of the mentally ill to access good jobs, free treatment options, safe housing, social club memberships, public parks, etc.
Stereotypes: Having a negative perception about oneself (feeling helpless, weak, and crazy, etc.)
Prejudice: Agreeing with and settling to the false beliefs of society
Discrimination: Failing to seek help and missing out on treatment opportunities
It is common for people living within a society that stigmatizes against them to endorse this backlash. With time, a mentally ill person might find themselves thinking that they inherently deserve less, and often lose hope for their future. Low self-esteem and dignity are significant contributors to the low rates of the mentally ill seeking resources and screening.
Studies show that the prevalence of mental health issues among African Americans is less than or equal to that of the other American ethnic groups. However, the outcomes for blacks aren’t anywhere close to being as good as those of the whites.
Number Four – Barriers in Primary Healthcare and Suicidal Detection
Globally, mental health problems are quite common. In fact, the morbidity and mortality rate has seen a steady increase recently due to inadequate primary care and screening for the mentally ill. Primary care plays a pivotal role in the detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of mental illnesses. Most people struggling with mental disorders complain about inadequacies in primary healthcare facilities and limited access to the available ones. According to a study conducted by De Hert and colleagues, the poor management of mental illnesses can be tied back to several barriers, which include:
Low Socioeconomic Background:
The unavailability of resources like aids, funding, family support, and insurance coverage hold back people from affording mental healthcare. One of the most significant problems for people with low socioeconomic backgrounds is that the mentally ill are often regarded as disabled and problematic. As such, these individuals have to primarily depend on their own financial abilities due to inequality, social stigma, and low self-confidence.
Some of the social experiences people have had with mental health make patients shy away from opening up to society and health experts. For instance, the media has been painting a terrorizing picture of common mental healthcare resources such as doctors and hospitals. Famous Hollywood movies have created the perception of the mentally ill being victimized through experimentation, torture, bloodshed, and violence. This negative image makes it tough for people with mental illnesses to believe that the real world is any different.
Service Provider Barriers:
Three factors drive the quality and capacity to address and treat mental health disorders:
Inadequate knowledge about the different mental health conditions among healthcare providers complicates access to mental healthcare. While there are diverse mental health disorders, a single disorder could affect two people in varying ways. Lacking the knowledge of the multiple aspects of the different disorders makes managing patients an uphill task. Education is necessary among doctors and nurses for them to deal with mental health emergencies with efficiency.
Scope of Practice
The scope of practice of a good number of healthcare providers excludes mental illnesses. While a physician will claim that they have a license to treat the body, they may emphasize that they don’t treat the brain. Such individuals believe that dealing with mental health issues is outside their scope.
Attitudes and Values:
A lot of people find dealing with new primary healthcare workers tough. Making a connection with them and opening up can be a challenge for most people. This especially holds true for people with a history of alcohol and drug abuse as they experience rejection from primary healthcare workers who might see them as “drug-seeking.”
Barriers to Suicide Detection and Management:
In the United States, suicide has grown into a significant concern. Mental health disorders and suicide attempts often go hand in hand.
What Are the Mental Health Disorders Associated with The Risk Of Suicide?
Some of the mental health disorders that result in suicide include:
Here are some of the problems that hold back suicide detection:
Most countries have embraced a grim suicide detection strategy. In most cases, this involves conducting primary health surveys on depression and assessing the probability of suicide occurring among the target audience.
While there are a variety of tools that can help screen suicide, their applicability is often questionable. Having conversations with the patient about their condition as well as their family and medical history is often the best alternative.
People who fit the following description often have a high risk of suicide:
People struggling with more than one chronic disease
People whose first-degrees biological relatives have a history of depression
People living in impoverished home environments
The geriatric population that lives alone
Often the sensitivity and availability of the screening tools aren’t always at 100%. Picking the ideal screening tools trickles down to a variety of factors, including personal preferences, availability, time consumption, and other factors.
The fact that screening tools are also known to lead to false-positive results is also a major drawback. This can lead to high medical care costs, which could complicate the lives of people who lack private insurance.
Number Five – Financial Barriers
The adverse effects of economic and psychological issues have had a significant role to play in the increasing burden of mental health disorders around the world. According to recent research, about 56% of the population with depression and 86% of people struggling with alcohol abuse go untreated due to the high cost of accessing treatment.
Globally, the inability to afford mental healthcare treatment is the main cause of treatment denial. Many of America’s insurance companies, especially Medicare, either allocate inadequate resources or completely fail to cover mental healthcare services. Reversing this is largely in the hands of authorities, caretakers, and the policymakers.
WHO has already confirmed the significant threat that lies with mental illnesses? Millions of Americans find accessing psychiatric healthcare challenging. Often, those who access the care often have to go through a maze of fragmentation and financial obstacles.
Some of the main reasons behind these financial issues include:
Insurance companies’ high rate of denial of care
Health insurance networks lacking mental health experts
Mental healthcare facilities demanding high out-of-pocket costs
These issues will exist, whether the person seeking mental healthcare has private or public insurance coverage. Here is a list of the opportunities for healthcare treatment offered in the United States and the financial aspect that hold them back:
Ideally, having insurance coverage is meant to make accessing treatment easier. There is a scheme under the American health system that allows all deserving populations to access treatment under a specific insurance plan.
Many insurance sources under this scheme do cover mental health treatments. For instance, employers can provide insurance to their employees. As for young people (those below the age of 26), they can always rely on the coverage provided by their parent’s employer. On the other hand, college students can enjoy low-cost insurance provided by the school’s state.
The Financial Drawbacks of These Insurance Options
A good number of these plans might exclude mental health conditions from their coverage. Despite the government trying its best to be strict, many insurers could exclude previously diagnosed illnesses from their coverage. In other cases, the mentally ill might struggle to afford common insurance plans, with some working under employers who don’t offer insurance!
For people who canât access insurance through family support, school, or work, there is always the option to access government-sponsored plans through:
Affordable Care Act Marketplace
Medicare And Medicaid
The U.S government sponsors Medicaid and Medicare. These services are provided based on qualifications, disability status, income, and age. For you to gain access to the service, you will need to work with a social service agency to fill social security disability applications.
The Limitations of Medicare:
Limited Providence of Facilities
Other than the popular Medicare plans to have a variety of financial restrictions, the services that you can access under the insurance are limited to a specific budget. For a majority of these plans, you will need to pay higher fees if you can only access out-of-network healthcare providers. While other plans can give more choices, they often come with a high price tag that is difficult to afford.
State-Specific Limitations on Coverage
Although Medicare services can be accessed throughout America, the advantage plans will often be strictly restricted to specific areas or states. This will prove to be disadvantageous to the demographic that travels frequently; their health insurance might not work outside their residential area.
The Additional Cost of Healthcare Coverage
At face value, Medicare looks like a reasonable plan that comes with premium charges that are automatically deducted throughout the project’s many parts. However, it might have user-specific hidden charges. These charges could include specialist visit copays, add ups on the advantage plans, and drug deductibles.
Free Clinic and Health Services
While insurance will cater to most parts of healthcare, there exist a couple of cost-free options. These options are easy to obtain through Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). However, you need to meet stringent requirements to gain access to these services.
Another popular option is to reach out to local non-profit organizations. While some therapists under these organizations can offer their services at no cost, such opportunities are often luck-dependent.
What Are the Possible Issues?
Cost-free options are often offered by healthcare candidates like part-time workers, observers, and trainees. These candidates might fail to match the quality services and treatment regimens offered by experts. People seeking treatment for their mental health disorders could easily experience a lack of professionalism and malpractice.
Funding for The Mentally Ill Working Population
Finding employment as a mental health patient is often a struggle. However, job seekers can always leverage the disability quota for a chance at landing minimum role jobs. The government also provides supported employment options and vocational rehabilitation services. The former offers people with mental illnesses an excellent opportunity to make enough money and afford their treatment.
In order to get supported employment, you might have to contact mental health agencies. Your employment could be restricted to specific sectors, such as teaching the mentally ill. Once you are employed, your employer will take the responsibility of eliminating any barriers to how you work. Often, this involves stringent supervision to ensure high levels of quality and create an ideal corruption-free environment.
The Difficulty of Maintaining Jobs With Mental Disorders
It is often difficult to find and maintain jobs with mental illness. While 60% of Americans suffering from mental illnesses are ready to work, it can be surprising to learn that their unemployment rate lies at 80%. Sure, seeking a job with a mental illness can be a great idea, but the underlying illness could complicate relating with others in the workplace.
There is a diversity of barriers to accessing ample care for mental health disorders, with most of the above-listed obstacles having several contributing factors. The ensuing stigma and lack of healthcare access could arise from both the society or the patient himself. The ultimate goal is to work on ways for breaking these stereotypes and barriers to eventually allow victims to enjoy a healthy and functional life like the rest of the population.
Now that you have learned enough about mental health care aspects, you can do your part to change this narrative. Whether you or your loved one have a mental illness or not, you are always welcome to seek care at Mango Clinic. Feel free to leave a comment and visit this site anytime for more knowledge. Book an appointment today!
Did you know that it is a normal occurrence to experience anxiety and depression at some point in life due to the irrational dread of everyday situations? While you may group it generally as a mental health disorder, anxiety and depression is an umbrella term defining psychiatric disorders manifesting in the form of extreme fear, panic attacks, selective mutism, social anxiety disorder, and agoraphobia. Whenever such conditions are persistent, severe, uncontrollable, and capable of disabling you from undertaking daily activities, it turns out to be a serious medical condition with a similar level of seriousness as physical illnesses such as heart attacks.
One of the facts about the condition is that it is different from the normal experience of nervousness, causing reactions that may be out of proportion. Depression and anxiety may manifest in the form of emotional symptoms, physical symptoms, or a combination of both. Specific symptoms that you should watch out for include:
Poor sleeping patterns
Feelings of agitation
Feelings of worthlessness
A persistent low mood
Lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
A sudden decline in appetite
What Causes Anxiety and Depression?
Although anxiety is caused by a build-up of stress in most cases, your children may develop the condition due to the use of certain medications, and perhaps this is why approximately 8% of the children develop the condition from an early age. Specific medical conditions that may bring anxiety include diabetes, thyroid problems, diabetes, chronic pain, rare tumors, and certain heart diseases. These conditions will cause anxiety and depression because they drive you to a state of flight or fight which is associated with extreme stress. If you have attempted to withdraw from drugs and substances of abuse, this could be a cause of anxiety and depression as well, rendering it necessary to seek addiction help alongside treatment for the two conditions. You should understand that it is one of the most prevalent mental health issues, affecting up to 30% of adults in life. It is worth noting that anxiety and depression occur separately in most circumstances, but almost half of the people diagnosed with anxiety end up developing depressive symptoms, which renders it difficult to treat the combined mental health conditions.
How about the Role of Genetics in Anxiety and Depression?
Genetics plays a contributory role in the development of this condition, especially if one or both of your parents suffered from the condition at any point. Genetics is even more influential whenever it is combined with environmental experiences such as the trauma of losing your loved one. If you underwent any form of abuse while growing up and it was repressed without professional mental help, this could also work alongside genetics to contribute to the two conditions.
There are Natural Remedies which Mitigate or help in Managing Symptoms of Anxiety
It is evident through medical research and therapy that even 20 minutes of physical exercise occasionally could help in easing pressure and subsequently reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety such as extreme fear. Meditation is also recommended as another natural remedy, alongside foods or diets which could help you in reducing such symptoms. If you consume clean and healthy foods that contain probiotics, Omega-3 fatty acids, and b-vitamins, you are likely to experience less severe symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Anxious? You are more likely to be Sensitive and Reactive to Changes in Facial Expression
If you are depressed or anxious, it is more likely that you will be quick to notice and react to changes in facial expression, especially in social situations. It is associated with the perception that people have noticed your mental health problem, but statistics indicate that you are less accurate in most of the cases. It should not be a cause for social isolation because, with increased visibility, you will benefit from greater social support, considering that there is no shame in seeking help.
Anxiety and depression are treatable and sometimes manageable, although the speed of recovery differs from one individual to another. It is a fact that only one-third of the people suffering from these conditions receive proper treatment and education, a direction that you should avoid because it could exacerbate the condition from mild to severe. There are a variety of treatment options, including medical therapy using antidepressants. The lifestyle choices that you make will also determine how well you manage the conditions, and the most preferred include:
Exercising with friends
Seeking greater social support
Engaging in meditation
Eating meals with plenty of nuts and Omega-3 fatty acids
Conclusively, depression and anxiety are not conditions that should push you into social isolation because the mood swings in such a state only exacerbate the condition. Professional advice is your portion of healthy living, even when battling with depressive symptoms. It is time to book an appointment with Mango Clinic and mitigate the conditions through our multi-modal strategies.
More often than not, constant stress leads to its more debilitating ally: anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 31% of Americans will have anxiety disorders at a certain point in their lives. Also, adults and teen women are at a far higher risk as compared to men.
Whatâs the Difference Between Anxiety & Depression?
Briefly, anxiety entails an excessive feeling of worry, whereas depression applies to extreme feelings of hopelessness and/or worthlessness. Whatâs more, subjects can have both conditions (anxiety and depression) concurrently.
Feeling out of control over a situation can cause stress, anxiety, or else depression. Yet, recognizing their differences can help you make the right diagnosis and lead to the correct treatment.
Stress describes a feeling of physical tension or an emotional response to an event. It can stem from any situation or thought that elicits a sense of frustration, anger, or nervousness. Stress is your bodyâs response to a challenge or demand.
Once your mind gets these threatening signals, it releases a flood of chemicals that may overwhelm the rationalâa more evolved part of your brain referred to as the prefrontal cortex.
Next, neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine stimulate the amygdalaâa considerably primal part of your brain designed to prepare your bodyâs âflight or fightâ reaction when youâre facing adversity.
Another biological process that takes place involves a blend of nerve and hormonal cues that trigger your adrenal glands to discharge two hormones; adrenaline and cortisol.
As a result, your heart rate may increase, while your breathing rhythm becomes shallower to prep your body to react to a situation.
Typically, this makes it a challenge to reflect with relaxed emotions, measured logic, and restraint the prefrontal cortex offers.
In the past, this complex process was considerably beneficial to our lives. But today, the presence of daily stressors serves to threaten the intricate balance of our mental health.
When stress continues uninterrupted for long periods, it no longer serves itâs initially intended biological purpose of alerting you. Instead, its function becomes corrupted (chronic), a situation that is relatively difficult to turn around.
Grinding of teeth
Without treatment, chronic stress can potentially increase a subjectâs likelihood of developing high blood pressure (BP), heart conditions, diabetes, and weight issues (obesity).
Experts also consider chronic stress as a causative agent of autoimmune diseasesâlinking it to a weakened immune system that leaves you more vulnerable to opportunistic infections such as colds, among others.
Anxiety and stress have identical physical and biological attributes. But here are the differences;
Stress-induced neurotransmitters and hormones mostly will stay ramped up, and the subjectâs mind gets stuck in repetitive worrying
Panic-driven thought loops
Anxiety is a normal reaction to a situation when you feel pressured, or to some extent, fearful due to unknown elements or perceived danger.
But the condition becomes a clinical concern when the feeling fails to subside even when the threat dissipates and subsequently begins to interfere with your daily functioning and interactions.
Discerning the context is critical. A physician will conduct a thorough evaluation of the patientâs existing environment and current circumstances to interpret better their feelings and experiences based on their reality.
Multifaceted interaction of social, psychological or even biological factors
Adverse life events, including grief, trauma, loss of livelihood, health concerns
Its debilitating impact on people can lead to loss of ability to function in many areas of their lives, in particular work and relationships.
According to the World Health Organization, depression is a leading cause of disability globally. Similarly, the disorder is detrimental mainly when it contributes to suicidal thought or planning.
Weight loss or gain
Mentally, the condition manifests itself in the following manner:
Feeling of hopelessness
Where the subject tends to feel like a burden, theyâre also less likely to engage or reach out to others and may end up withdrawing socially.
Individuals with depressive conditions can also have ruminative episodes alongside feelings of guilt, leading to an impaired ability to think, concentrate, or form memories.
Over time, researchers have moved away from only considering depression as a biochemical imbalance of neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
As such, the understanding shifts to a more complex view of the condition that includes considering changes in electrical activity in the brain involving the interactions between neurons and nerve cells. This assessment is because depression reduces the ability of neurons to interact with each other.
Due to the disparities in thinking, treatment for depression differs on an individual basis and may involve a blend of medication and therapy.
As with many other conditions, certified medics tailor stress, anxiety, and depression treatments to a specific diagnosis. Meaning the physician designs the treatment plan to help the subject manage and limit the symptoms of each of the above disorders, and often simultaneously.
Overall, stress, anxiety, and depression list among the most common human experiences. Regardless of your experience with these feelings or disorders, one thing you should know is you can seek professional help. Youâre not alone. Reach out to us at Mango Clinic for mental health problems!
Mental health is an integral part of oneâs emotional, psychological, and social well-being. When your mental health is poor, it will impact every aspect of your life. Mental stability determines how we handle stress, interact with others, and make choices in life. Whether you are a child or an adult, being healthy mentally is important.
So, whatâs the relation between psychology and mental health?
Psychology is a branch of science that looks at peopleâs behaviors and mental processes. It entails training and knowledge of aspects such as development, motivation in life, experiences, emotions, cognition, personality, and social behavior.
Additionally, psychology looks to understand the impact of biology, behavior, and social factors on oneâs health. Once you study psychology, you will develop problem-solving skills, communication skills, personal therapy, and conceptual reasoning.
So, whatâs the role of a psychologist in all these?
A psychologist is a mental health specialist whose main role is to understand how biological, behavioral, and social behavior factors influence oneâs health. These experts are equipped with training and knowledge that help them understand peopleâs behavioral and cognitive processes. Through that, they can figure out why the body dysfunctions. They use words and therapy to counsel people.
We have compiled a list of the leading authors in psychology who are bringing a revolution into the world of mental health.
Table of Contents
#1. Dr. Phil McGraw
Dr. Phil McGraw
Dr. Phil McGraw, better known as Dr. Phil, is one of the most trusted mental health experts in the United States. His daytime talk show has won numerous awards for its contribution to mental health.
The trailblazing show is a comprehensive forum where people share experiences and seek advice on various issues. Besides being one of the most popular talk show hosts, Dr. Phil is the author of nine best-selling books.
They include Relationship Rescue, The Ultimate Weight Solution, The 20/20 Diet, Real Life, Best Self, among others. His books have been published in 39 languages and have sold over 33 million copies worldwide. Heâs one of the most popular faces of modern-day psychology.
Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist whose focus is on researching visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations.
Heâs also a professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. Heâs a contributing writer for the New York Times and the Atlantic. Heâs also written ten books that include: The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and the Sense of Style.
In recent years, heâs added these two books to his list of work: Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.Â He loves researching on language and cognition.
Jacob Dean is a scholar and holds a doctorate in Psychology (Psy, D). He also holds a masterâs degree in forensic psychology and clinical psychology. He has helped people heal from mental health problems through the provision of psychotherapy to patients.
He offers outpatient therapy to both individuals and groups. His area of specialization is conducting a psychological assessment and coming up with a treatment plan to help recover from the mental health issue.
Simon is a firm believer in positivity and is loved for his optimism. He believes that the future is bright and that everyone can contribute towards building it. He has dedicated his life to making the world a better place.
His vision is creating a world where most people can wake up feeling inspired and safe. He believes that people should feel happy about the work they do daily. Heâs the author of several best-selling books, including Start With Why, Leaders Eat Last, Together is Better, and The Infinite Game.
Daniel C. Dennett wrote his first book, Content, and Consciousness in 1969. The popular book was followed Brainstorms in 1978 and Elbow Room in 1984.Â In 1987, he wrote The Intentional Stance and followed it with Consciousness ExplainedÂ in 1991. His other literary works are Darwin’s Dangerous IdeaÂ (1995),Â Kinds of MindsÂ (1996), andÂ Brainchildren: A Collection of Essays 1984-1996Â (MIT Press and Penguin, 1998).
Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness, was published in 2005 by MIT Press.Â His most popular books are Breaking the SpellÂ (Viking, 2006),Â Freedom EvolvesÂ (Viking Penguin, 2003), andÂ Darwin’s Dangerous IdeaÂ (Simon & Schuster, 1995), Heâs a university professor and a co-director at the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University.
Charles Joseph Sophy is a psychiatrist in America. Heâs a frequent guest on Dr. Philâs TV show and is a member of the showâs advisory board. He also frequents other TV shows to discuss matters on psychology and life issues.
He has also appeared on leading media platforms such as CNN and Today. Heâs the medical director at Country of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services. In 2010, he published the book Side By Side The Revolutionary Mother-Daughter Program for Conflict-Free Communication.
Heâs also a childrenâs mental health expert on Video jug and addresses topics on ADD and ADHD, among other mental health issues in children.
Daniel H. Pink has written books on a wide range of topics, such as workplace dynamics, creativity, and behavior. Heâs the author of six thought-provoking books touching on business and human behavior.
His most popular book is New Yorkâs bestseller, When and A Whole New Mind. His other bestsellers are Drive, and To Sell is Human. Dan has received numerous awards, and his books have been translated to over 40 languages. He has sold over three million copies and lives with his family in Washington, DC.
Jeffrey Guterman was born on 26th April 1958. Heâs a leading mental health specialist in the United States of America. Heâs also the author of Mastering the Art of Solution-Focused Counseling that was published by the American Counseling Association (ACA) in March 2006.
He successfully completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in 1980 and graduated from Boston University. He proceeded to study a Master of Science degree in Counselling Psychology from Nova Southeastern University, which he completed in 1991. He received a Ph. D in family therapy from the same university in 1992.
Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist and has been named Whartonâs top-rated professor for seven years in a row. Heâs an expert at guiding people on how they can remain motivated and find meaning in life. He believes that people should live generous and creative lives. Heâs been named as Fortuneâs 40 Under 40 and is considered one of the worldâs top 10 influential thinkers on management.
Heâs written four New York best sellers which have sold over 2 million copies around the world. His books have been translated to over 35 languages. Some of his best-performing books include Give and Take, Originals, Option B, and Power Moves. His books have topped the best selling list on Amazon, Apple, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times. His work has been praised by Richard Branson, Bill and Melinda Gates, Malcolm Gladwell, and Malala Yousafzai.
Jonathan Haidt received a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. He has taught at the University of Virginia for 16 years in the Department of Psychology. Heâs now a social psychologist at Stern School of Business at New York University.
Heâs the author of several books:Â The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom; The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion; and The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions. Heâs also co-authored Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure with Greg Lukianoff. Two of his books are New York’s best sellers.
Dan Ariely is a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. The Israeli-American professor is also an author of three New York best sellers, namely, Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth about Dishonesty.
He has also written Dollars and Sense, Irrationally Yours. Ariely is a leading behavioral economic expert at Qapital. His TED talks have been viewed over 15 million times. Heâs also the founder of The Center for Advanced Hindsight, a research institution. He has also written a short TED book, Payoff, and is a columnist on the Wall Street Journal.
Dr. Andrew Mendosa is a licensed psychologist in California. He has over 15 years of experience in mental health and forensics. He works as a behavioral expert in correctional centers such as jails and juvenile justice settings. He has also worked in psychiatric hospitals and emergency departments. Heâs an expert in juvenile and adult psychology.
He has worked for many years dealing with matters touching on workerâs compensation. Heâs a trained expert on substance abuse and assessment of suicide risk. Heâs given testimonies in federal and state law cases. At the moment, heâs a board reviewer at the California Board of Psychology.
Daniel Goleman is a well-known psychologist around the globe. Heâs often talking to professional groups and business audiences Goleman is a journalist on science matters and has often contributed to the New York Times. He wrote the New York bestseller, Emotional Intelligence, in 1995.
The book that remained a best seller for one and half sold over 5 million copies and is available in 40Â languages worldwide. He has also written books touching on creativity, self-deception, creativity, transparency, and ecological crisis.
Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis is an ordained minister who works with marginalized people nationally and on a global scale.
Sheâs a professor atÂ Pepperdine University and has served as a past president of the Society for the Psychology of Women. She has contributed greatly to research on psychology and helped formulate policies on how various associations should honor the profession.
Her works include Tweets for the Soul: When Life Falls Apart, Thriving in the wake of trauma: A multicultural guide, Mangos and Manna and The Birthing of a Lioness. Sheâs also a recording artist and has sang the CD Sky: An upbeat black girlâs song.
Sheâs also an editor and co-editor on books talking about sexual violence and spirituality and womenâs lives. She bases her work on understanding the disciplines of gender, spirituality, culture, and psychology.
Dr. Travis Langley is best known for his book, “Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight,” which looks deep into the psychology of Batman, his friends, and enemies. His other books include “Wonder Woman Psychology: Lassoing the Truth,” “The Walking Dead Psychology: Psych of the Living Dead,” “Doctor Who Psychology: A Madman with a Box,” “Captain America vs. Iron Man: Freedom, Security, Psychology” (with a foreword by Stan Lee), and “The Joker Psychology: Evil Clowns and the Women Who Love Them. Heâs a professor and psychologist at the Henderson State University.
A Scientific American columnist described Richard Wiseman asÂ ââŠone of the most interesting and innovative experimental psychologists in the world today.â He has sold over three million copies of his books. He has made keynote speeches to various top organizations such as the Swiss Economic Forum, Google, and Amazon. Heâs the only person in Britain who holds a Professorship in the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.
He has lots on Twitter and was named by the Independent as one of the top 100Â people who make Britain a better place for people to live in. Heâs a social media influencer with hundreds of videos on Youtube, which have garnered over 500 million views. He has a television show, Brain Games, and is a common face on the media.
Dr. Amy Cuddy is an expert in behavioral science of power and presence. The social psychologist is a best selling author and a lecturer at Harvard University. Her first book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges (Little, Brown, & Co., 2015), is a best seller on New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and USA Today.
The book is available in over 35 languages. It also secured a âSpotlight Pick of December 2015 on Amazon. The New York Times Sunday Book Review described her book as concrete and inspired written in a simple but ambitious manner. At the moment, sheâs writing her much-anticipated second book, Bullies, Bystanders, and Bravehearts, that looks at the psychological effects of bullying. She hopes that through the book, people will be brave on such matters.
Dr. Henry Cloud is a New York Times bestseller with over 45 books under his belt. Heâs a leadership expert and clinical psychologist.
New York Times dubbed his book, Integrity, as the âthe best book in the bunch.â His other book, Necessary Endings, was referred to as ââ âthe most important book you read all year.â Another of his books, Boundaries For Leaders, is highly recommended for leaders.
His latest book, The Power of the Other, debuted on number 5 on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller list.
Dr. Keely Kolmes is a public servant and sits on various boards and committees. She founded Open Minds: Psychotherapists Affirming Sexual and Gender Diversity.
She has served at an advisory capacity for the Without My Consent and The Alternative Sexualities Health Research Alliance. Since 2013, she served on the Ethics Committee of the California Psychological Association.
She served as the Vice-chair in 2018 and became chair in 2019.
Emma SeppĂ€lĂ€ is a Science Director of Stanford Universityâs Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. In 2016, she wrote The Happiness Track.
Sheâs also a co-director at the Yale College of Emotional Intelligence Project. Sheâs also the Faculty Director of the Yale School of Managementâs Womenâs Leadership Program. Sheâs appeared as a guest several times on Good Morning America.
Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, NPR, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, VOGUE, ELLE, CBSNews, Oprah Magazine, Fast Company, U.S. World and News Report, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Inc, Huffington Post, ABC News, Business Insider, SELF, GLAMOUR, and the World Economic Forum. She as featured in a documentary called The Altruism Revolution and What You Do Matters.
Shawn Achor knows too well the connection between happiness and success. Having spent 12 years at Harvard, Achor has created a brand that advocates for wholesome mental health.
His research on mindset was featured on the cover of Harvard Business Review. In contrast, his TED talk has a whopping 13 million views. He also has a lecture that has aired on PBS and has reached millions of viewers.
He has worked with lots of Fortune 100 companies and offered his expertise to the pentagon and White House. His two books, The Happiness Advantage (2010) and Big Potential (2018, are New York best sellers. His Happiness Advantage is a hit when it comes to corporate training on psychology.
Leah Klungness, Ph.D., is an authority on issues of relationship and single parenting. Sheâs a co-author of the award-winning book, The Complete Single Mother 3rd Edition, which offers comprehensive insight to single parents.
Having been a single parent, she gives first-hand information about her experience. Sheâs also a trained psychologist and elementary school teacher. Sheâs a regular contributor to US News & World Report. Leah has also appeared on TV and talk shows such as Good Morning America.
Dr. Jessica Taylor (FRSA, Ph.D.) founded and owned VictimFocus, which is a business that provides research and consultancy in mental health, forensic, and feminism. The VictimFocus Academy and VictimFocus Blog are vocal about these issues.
Sheâs a prolific writer, and her blog reaches over 1.2 million readers each year. She uses theories in psychology, sociology, criminology, and psychotherapy to create materials. Though controversial, she offers some critical thoughts about deep things happening in society.
Her work is often described as controversial or critical – Jessica prefers the latter but accepts the former. She has a critical view of practice, research, policy, and interventions used in sexual violence and VAWG. She utilizes theory and evidence from forensic and social psychology, psychometrics, criminology, social work, sociology, mental health, and psychotherapy to create modules, campaigns, resources, and research that aim to cause debate, reflection, and critical thinking about some of the world’s trickiest social issues.
Dr. Melanie Greenberg is a practicing clinical psychologist with offices in Mill Valley and San Francisco. She also uses videos to reach out to millions of other people. Sheâs experienced in helping her clients manage stress and negotiate life transitions.
Sheâs a reputable researcher and has published over 50 articles on popular journals such as The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. She has given keynote speeches at different conferences such as the American Psychological Association and the Society of Behavioral Medicine.
Sheâs also contributed to writing some chapters in Positive Psychology: Exploring the Best in People, Handbook of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, and The Writing Cure.
Lynn S. Zubernis, Ph.D., is a professor at West Chester University in Philadelphia. Sheâs authored or edited seven books that include a counseling textbook. Her books cover topics on the impact of pop culture on peopleâs lives.
The clinical psychologist has a new book; Family Donât End With Blood: Cast and Fans on How Supernatural Has Changed Lives, which was released in May. Sheâs the voice of Fangasmâs social media.
Scott Barry Kaufman is one psychologist looking to explore how deep human potential is. Heâs lectured on topics of intelligence and creativity at top universities such as New York University, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Whether heâs teaching, writing, or broadcasting his podcast, Scott is passionate about sharing his enthusiasm for psychology. Heâs the host of the Psychology Podcast that has clocked over 10 million downloads.
His writing has been featured in appeared in The Atlantic, Scientific American, Psychology Today, and Harvard Business Review.
Tara Brach has a Ph. D in Clinical Psychology with a dissertation that took a deeper look at meditation as a form of therapy used to treat addiction.
She has written several books such as booksÂ Radical Acceptance (Bantam, 2003),Â True Refuge: Finding Peace & Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart (Bantam, 2013)Â andÂ Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of R.A.I.N. (Viking, December 31, 2019).
Sheâs also the founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, DC (IMCW),Â which is among the top non-residential meditation centers in the U.S. She hosts and talks at workshops at the center and around Europe.
Philip George Zimbardo is a leading psychologist in America and a professor emeritus at Stanford University.
He rose to fame for his Stanford prison experiment that he did in 1971 that later received lots of criticism from ethical and scientific viewpoints. Heâs written introductory books for students in Psychology.
His notable works include; The Lucifer Effect, The Time Paradox, and The Time Cure. Zimbardo is also the founder and head of the Heroic Imagination Project.
Valerie Burton wears many hats; sheâs an author, mother, speaker, life coach, and counselor. Sheâs made it her lifeâs goal to help people find happiness and achieve mental resilience.
She believes that one can pull out of any situation that drags them down and achieve their greatest potential. She has written twelve books on the topic of personal development. Sheâs the founder of The Coaching and Positive Psychology (CaPP) Institute.
Sheâs dedicated over 15 years of her life researching on various aspects of mental resilience, positivity, and courage. She has written books such as Itâs About Time, Successful Women Think Differently, Brave Enough to Succeed, among others.
Donât ignore the signs of mental health problems and seek professional help right away. Mango Clinic has an experienced team of healthcare professionals that provides top-notch mental health. Book your appointments today.
Nearly one in 12 U.S. adults reports having depression, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Additionally, around 40 million adults in the country are affected by anxiety disorders every year. Although there are many ways to treat these mental illnesses – therapy, medication, exercise, and diet, not everyone is able to access the treatment due to different reasons. Among them, insurance, traveling, work, and financial constraints.
Fortunately, clinicians and medical technology experts are working round the clock to develop mental health solutions that people can access conveniently and affordably. One groundbreaking innovation we have witnessed in recent years is the emergence of mental health apps. These tools are helping affected people to receive support remotely, talk to professionals, and try out different therapy methods. Here are some of the best anxiety and depression apps.
Moodpath is a top-rated depression and anxiety app that provides a mental health assessment. This test helps you decide whether to visit a mental health specialist. The app asks you at the moment questions for a period of 14 days to weigh whether you need to talk to a professional. It also comes with many features that can help you work on your mental well-being.
Branded as Appleâs app of the year in 2017, this tool can help you in your journey to mental health. It aims to reduce anxiety, boost your sleep patterns, and make you feel happier. It pays attention to four essential areas; meditation, breathing, sleep, and relaxation. It has a variety of programs that help you destress and feel calm. Some include music, nature sounds, meditation methods, and breathing techniques.
Happify is a free app that aims to boost your positive emotions. It improves your well-being through exercise programs and games. All its programs are backed by mental health research. It tries to deliver a personalized solution to your problem and works towards reducing your worry. It also has some easy-to-digest scientific content that can add value to your fight against stress and anxiety.
Youper allows you to harness the power of artificial intelligence to battle depression. It has an AI assistant that you can interact with anytime. The assistant asks some questions frequently that encourage you to take a look at your thought patterns and behaviors. After responding, the app gives you a solution that will help address what you are going through at the moment.
This app is designed to help people that are struggling with depression, stress, and anxiety. With this tool, you can identify your thoughts and behavior patterns that cause negative emotions and utilize it to turn around those unhelpful feelings. You can also use it to track your mood, meditate, engage in breathing exercises, set goals to challenge yourself, and track your progress.
Whatâs Up is inspired by the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Itâs targeted to people suffering from depression, but itâs also helpful to anyone dealing with stress, anxiety, and anger. It helps you recognize thought patterns that cause negative emotions in your life and assists you to reframe those thoughts. It comes packed with inspirational resources including techniques on breathing and exercising, and a journal to track your moods and thoughts.
7. Breathe and Relax
Designed by the National Center for Telehealth & Technology, this application is easy to use, intuitive, and appealing. The tool teaches a special breathing technique that is knownÂ to minimizeÂ the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and help relieve stress. The app can help manage stress, anxiety disorders, and PTSD. It also comes with rich resources like videos, reading materials, and charts to track your progress.
8. Panic Relief
Panic Relief was created by a Danish psychiatrist who has extensive experience in cognitive therapy. The aim of the app is to assist individuals in the midst of high anxiety or a panic attack. It has animations that will help you learn about panic attacks and teach you how to remain calm. Some of the skills it teaches include; progressive muscle relaxation, square breathing, and diaphragmatic breathing.
This app offers users a convenient, affordable, and confidential platform where they can tackle depression, anxiety, stress, chronic illness, and relationship issues. The app offers a free consultation that aims to connect you to a therapist who is best suited to handle your needs. The app has over 100 licensed mental health specialists. Once you upgrade to the premium version, you can discuss your issues with a professional counselor in a secure chat room.
Headspace is your pocket-size mental health companion. It uses mindfulness and meditation to help you become your best version every day. It has a huge library of resources to support you in your journey towards mental wellness and happiness. It teaches meditation techniques, breathing exercises, cognitive diffusion, and much more. Whether you are trying to cope and manage anxiety, stress, panic attacks, phobias, or relationships, this app will help you.
While there’s no substitute for speaking to your therapist, mental health apps can be effective in making therapy more accessible, affordable, and portable. These mobile tools not only supplement the current therapy you are doing, but they also help you explore additional ways to improve your mental well-being and boost your quality of life.
If you are experiencing anxiety or going through a difficult time in your life, the best option is to speak to a qualified mental health specialist before heading to an app store. To talk to licensed and experienced professionals and get the help you need without even leaving your home, book an appointment with MangoClinic today.
They understand your feelings, body language, the tone of your voice, and even your gestures. By merely looking at you, a pet can interpret your emotional state. So, letâs take a closer look at how an emotional support animal can help you cope with anxiety and depression.
They Stimulate the Production of Neurotransmitters
Traditionally, people who suffer from depression and anxiety receive antidepressant medication. However, antidepressant medication increases serotonin levels. Research has established that spending time with pets stimulates the production of dopamine and neurotransmitters linked to love and bonding. This can be a double win for you since youâll feel less depressed, and your capacity to show love and affection will increase.
When you spend time with emotional support animals, youâll notice that they live in the moment without worrying about the past or the future. This is something that we humans should learn. Typically, our anxiety and depression arise from worrying too much about the uncertainties of life. Spending time with a pet will make you appreciate the joys of the present. Youâll even become more mindful of yourself and others.
Reducing Anxiety When Flying
Itâs common to see people flying with their pets. Contrary to what you might think, most of them donât do this to show off, but to reduce anxiety. For such people, having emotional support animals in-flight is vital since they make them less fearful about flying. Next time you see someone flying with a dog, you should keep in mind that itâs not always for ostentatious purposes.
They Add Routine and Order to Your Day
Many people who suffer from anxiety and depression donât have a daily routine. They end up getting stressed, anxious, and depressed because their lives lack order. This can be a thing of the past if you get yourself an emotional support animal. Most pets, more so dogs, need a regular exercise and feeding schedule.
Maintaining a consistent routine goes a long way in keeping the animals calm and balanced, and it also works for you. When you rear a pet, youâll also find yourself following a constant routine. No matter how anxious, stressed, or depressed you are, youâll always find yourself in better moods when caring for your pet.
Anyone who has ever stroked an animal knows how stress-relieving it is. Scientists recommend touch and movement as two healthy ways ofÂ managing stress effectively. Stroking an animal leaves you feeling less stressed and calmer, besides lowering your blood pressure. Moreover, the companionship of an emotional support animal offers comfort besides boosting your self-confidence.
They Provide Unconditional Love
People who suffer from anxiety and depression need to be shown, love. No one is better at this than emotional support animals. These furry companions can provide the unconditional love that you might be struggling to get from others. If youâre feeling alone, for instance, a pet will always be there to cheer you up and help you reconnect with the world. Creating a bond with an emotional support animal can help you have meaningful human relationships.
They Compliment Other Treatments for Anxiety and Depression
When it comes to treating most mental illnesses, no intervention works alone. A polygonal approach helps to achieve long-term benefits. Emotional support animals can get integrated into most treatment strategies for anxiety and depression to provide patients the much-needed relief. The animals are not therapy in themselves, but you can use them to manage some symptoms of anxiety and depression.
For instance, you can utilize an emotional support animal in mindful techniques to reconnect yourself with those around you.Â Trauma Resiliency TherapyÂ entails the use of emotional support animals as a resource to treat emotional highs and lows among individuals with anxiety and depression. This attests to the healing power of pets.
Animals Provide Social Support
Those who keep pets regard them as social companions. With time, youâre bound to develop a psychological bond with your animal. As you grow psychologically close to a pet, it will provide the wellbeing benefits that youâd get from socializing with other people. The psychological bond and daily interactions with your emotional support animal help to relieve your anxiety and depression even without talking to anyone.
Getting Your Emotional Support Animal Recommendation
Nearly 20% of American adults suffer from anxiety, whileÂ 7% battle depression.Â However, many donât know that they can manage their anxiety and depression by using emotional support animals. These snugly companions can help restore your health and wellbeing. ContactÂ Mango ClinicÂ today for help with acquiring an emotional support animal.
By now, you have discovered that depression may not be a state you can snap out of at will. This benign state of mental health guts down and takes all zest out of life. Unfortunately, in some cases, it may not be obvious to others that a person is depressed and in need of attention. Today we offer our support through these seven tested and workable ways to get your life back.
Depression affects everybody, from young children to the aged. Fortunately, these remedies come tailor-made to bring wellness regardless of the age group.
1.Â Medical Intervention
In many circles, people are oblivious to the fact that depression is a medical problem that requires intervention from a doctor or pharmacotherapy. Antidepressants are used to alleviate this emotional disorder. Depression is relatively widespread in society with one out of ten people in America using antidepressants on prescription.
An insight into the nature of these drugs highlights the most effective of them as well, as the accompanying side effects. Note that it may take several weeks before you notice any positive effects of these medications.
Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA)
These treat acute depressive disorders by increasing the production of serotonin and norepinephrine. They conversely reduce acetylcholine production and therefore balancing neurotransmitters to stabilize mood disorders. The drugs manage patients with an imbalance of neurotransmitters.
While under TCA therapy, many patients notice these side effects in varying degrees:
They sedate causing drowsiness
Dryness of the mouth
Low blood pressure and dizziness
Hives and rashes
Change in body weight
Common examples of these drugs are Amitriptyline, Doxepin, and Amoxapine. These drugs cause some level of dependency, even with just a few doses. This means that abrupt discontinuation of their use will cause withdrawal symptoms. For that reason, you should not use these drugs without a prescription and constant monitoring by a doctor.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Brains cells send out signals, which need a neurotransmitter like serotonin to deliver them to the target cells. The brain cells secrete the neurotransmitter and then absorb it and release it again to send out the next signal. This absorption and release of the neurotransmitter is a process called reuptake.
Depression inhibits the functioning of the parts of the brain that transmit signals using serotonin. These antidepressants block the reuptake process and facilitate the accumulation of serotonin to achieve optimum neurotransmission.
Of the side effects of SSRI use, the most worrying is the possible development of suicidal thoughts in some people. In rare circumstances too, they can lead to serotonin syndrome. Other common side effects include:
Few people use this class of antidepressants today because of their side effects. Notable of this is the dietary restriction where the drugs cause a severe reaction when taken amid the consumption of tyramine containing foods. If you are required to take these medicines, you must avoid foods and condiments like soy sauce, nuts, aged cheese and meat, and alcohol.
Another precaution is the occurrence of serotonin syndrome, a potentially fatal condition caused by combining MAOIs with other serotonin-boosting foods or drugs. They also contribute to the risk of developing hypertension. Other side effects include:
Skin reaction like a rash
Emsam, Phenelzine, Isocarboxazid, and Tranylcypromine comprise some drugs in this group. They work by inhibiting the effects of monoamine oxidase, which disintegrates serotonin. Without disintegration of serotonin, the neurotransmitter increases and eventually decreases depression.
Serotonin Syndrome manifests symptoms like:
Palpitations and rapid heartbeat
High body temperature
Lack of consciousness
These require emergency medical attention. Apart from the mentioned side effects of those antidepressants, you should notify your doctor of any other discomfort experienced while under their therapy.
2.Â Psychosocial Support
Dark moods love solitude. In such situations, keeping to yourself and enjoying your own company will not further your cause in your road to recovery. Hooking up with other people goes beyond dusting your social media profile and adding to your list of casual online acquaintances.
Suffice to say you can make some real and enduring friendships on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. However, mental health concerns call for supportive interpersonal relationships with people you meet with often.
Surrounding yourself with a warm and understanding circle of friends and family encourages conversations about issues that cause anxiety. With their reassurances and help find yourself suitable anxiety treatment and get new strength to face challenges that overwhelm your spirit.
Itâs understandable that you prefer to be by yourself or youâre feeling a bit rusty for the social scene. Have faith as we promise that these following tips will get you back on the show to rekindle old friendships and build new ones.
Have more family meals
Have you been turning down those persistent invites to the weekly family lunch or dinner? Sharing meals with your family enhances emotional adjustment that we need to cope with life. Experts emphasize that people committed to having about five dinners with their families produce better results at work and school.
Family dinners often provide a warm environment where family members unwind as they discuss their achievements and struggles of the day. What better way to find inner peace other than a hearty home-cooked meal relished with banter with people who allow you to be yourself? Such a stable family atmosphere provides an anchor for a person experiencing depressive feelings. Itâs a healthy way to deal with stress and depression.
Get back with old friends
Although making new friends is encouraged, old and trusted friends will serve better. They understand and tolerate your quirks and encourage you to keep your chin up. Besides, you have a lot in common. Make time in your schedule to join them for some chitchat or for a fun activity that you all enjoy.
Even if you may not feel confident to discuss your cloudy feelings with them, you will find those simple things like returning their calls, or going out to dinner, a picnic, or for an excursion in such a company lights you up considerably.
Exercise with a friend
Although the benefits of a workout done individually is an answer to good health, going for a jog or to the gym with a workout partner motivates you to maintain your exercise schedule. Workout companions become accountability partners encouraging each other to stick it out to the end.
Besides, studies show that the positive emotional effect of exercise done in groups or with a partner can prevail up to 24 hours after the session. You can also explore learning a sport or joining a team. The physical exertion relieves stress and pent-up tension.
Seek solace in others
Contending with depression is a state that one out three people in America finds themselves in through the course of life. This means that you are not alone in this situation. Confide in a trusted and sincere companion about your plight.
Sometimes it could happen that a personâs behavior could be the source of your distress. It would appear that talking it out with the person is a step towards healing. Unresolved issues can cause feelings of extreme desperation, even suicidal at times. Sharing our concerns with loved ones brings us emotional support and hope for a solution to our distress.
Many people in our society need our support and attention. We find channels of offering assistance by engaging in acts of charity through organizations in our neighborhoods. By engaging with the less privileged, we are able to divert our attention from introspection to noticing the unfortunate circumstances of others.
Also, the intrinsic reward of helping those in need bolsters self-confidence and makes us feel needed and appreciated.
The therapeutic nature of music depends on its genre. Soothing melodies lower cortisol, the stress-causing hormone, while loud and fast music pumps it up increasing stress and depression. This is an opportune time to sign up for that music class.
3.Â Appropriate Nutrition
The thought of your favorite comfort food is appealing. Often comfort food gets the unfair label of unhealthy food. Of course, we know the physical effects of poor dietary habits. These cause health complications like obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. These complications further increase stress and depression and can leave a big dent on self-esteem.
However, nutrition plays a role in mental health.Â Any factors that affect blood sugar or the cardiovascular system also affect the brain. This is because the brain also conducts metabolic processes for which it requires energy and nutrients.
Sometimes all it takes is a good meal to lift your mood. Nevertheless, there is more to food as an antidepressant. The food contains crucial depression-fighting components to become a source of healing.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Fats and oils do not make it to the healthy foods list due to the implications of bad cholesterol. This nutritional component builds up serotonin levels to balance your mood. Your body, however, needs portions of oils like the Omega-3, which you can find in select foods.
Seafood and fish
Tuna, salmon, and sardines top the list as the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. By the way that fishing trip will not only bring back your smile but will also bump up your omega-3 options. Apparently, wild-caught fish offer higher omega-3 content than canned fish off the shelf.
Hazelnuts, cashew nuts, and walnuts are a crunchy source of omega-3 fatty acids from the plant world. Study shows that people who consume nuts record scores of lower than 26% in depression prevalence tests.
These increase blood supply to the brain and keep you alert by improving your cognitive functions. You will get your share of flavonoids in dark chocolate and this explains the relaxing feeling from eating chocolate. Dark chocolate reduces depressive feelings by about 70% by boosting serotonin levels.
This is another serotonin booster. You will find ample amounts of tryptophan in:
Munching away at a banana or two daily lowers stress levels and depression and thatâs why itâs called the happy fruit.
If the thought of chicken breasts lights up your day then you are on your way to recovery. Regardless of the recipe you choose, your serving of chicken is white meat and a source of the recommended lean proteins you need to fuel your brain functions.
Zinc deficiency causes many anomalies in body functions. Of these complications is the inadequate production of neurotransmitters. Eggs are a rich source of zinc and proteins, probably the reason why they pick you up when you take them for breakfast.
Even as you consume these mood boosters, remember that a balanced meal in adequate portions goes a long way in maintaining your overall wellness. In addition to that, ensure you take plenty of water to flush out toxins. Body cells need hydration to perform their functions and for replication.
From that, you may find it advisable to explore the possibility of consulting a nutritionist for dietary advice that can help in overcoming depression.
4.Â Lifestyle Choices for Wellness
In our quest for good mental health, we cannot understate the role our lifestyle choices play in sustained wellness. Every step in our daily lives goes to painting the large picture of our mental health. If you repeatedly feel bogged down and deflated, it might help to look around you and see that some of these activities we take for granted can be the game changers you yearn for.
A session on the meditation mat
Many cultures have used meditation for centuries as a way of achieving mental balance. The calming effect of sitting in a quiet place or having a yoga session is a therapy proved to relieve stress and reduce the ravages of depression.
Neurologists found that meditation restructures and strengthens pathways used as neuronal circuits by the brain. It exercises the less used channels and in the end, it builds your overall mental abilities.
Some experts recommend meditation as an alternative in manipulating behavioral patterns. The brain exercise counters its deterioration, which would otherwise lead to mental issues like dementia, agitation, depression, and amnesia.
When you hear that books transport us to another world, that journey wouldnât come at a better time than when youâre trying to keep dark thoughts away. As you become absorbed in the content, it becomes a needed distraction from self-defeating thoughts.
Some books also contain information that boosts self-affirming thoughts to encourage you to take a proactive role in coping with your situation.
Research is ongoing on the role of books in restructuring the brain and enhancing the production of mood-boosting hormones. Whichever way, a relevant book can help you find inner peace and change your perspective for brighter days ahead.
Keep it real
Sometimes life can make us feel worthless when we commit our focus on competing with others. Chasing amorphous lifestyle standards set by social media posts can make us feel as though we do not measure up.
Avoiding such hype and not chasing fads and trends is one way of avoiding unnecessary mental torture. Consider switching off your social media handles and taking a fresh outlook on your life, including appreciating your achievements and dignity.
Also, such interactive platforms can expose you to trolling and distressing information. Ambition in life is good but in excess, it is a source of mental anguish and depression. Separate yourself from associations, whether online or offline that put excessive pressure on you to change your identity. Maintaining relationships that perpetually take the wind out of your sails will obstruct your road to recovery.
Are you getting enough sleep?
Inadequate sleep makes us grouchy. Any change in your sleep patterns should act as an alert that things are getting out of balance in your life. Adequate sleep rejuvenates the brain and assists it to regenerate. Sleep disorders play a part in the manifestation of anxiety and depressive tendencies.
Sleep disorders can exhibit insomnia exhibit as insomnia where you unwittingly become a night owl. Count on a sleepless night to keep you fatigued and irritable from the moment you step out of bed. On the other hand, a sleep disorder can manifest in excessive drowsiness or irregular sleep with periods of unexplained night awakening.
You can improve your schedule and surroundings to boost your sleep quality and reduce the latent period in these ways:
Making your bed and keeping your bedroom tidy and well aerated
Taking a short walk before bedtime
Adhering to a sleep timetable
Keeping the bedroom light dim or switching it off when going to sleep
Having a gentle massage
Limiting consumption of alcohol or stimulants like caffeinated drinks before bedtime, and instead of taking a soothing glass of warm milk
Switching off your phone to avoid interrupted sleep
Taking a warm relaxing bath and if possible with calming essential oils like lavender
As you can see, it does not take much to get yourself well-rested. However, if you still have difficulty sleeping, and it is affecting your life, you can talk to a sleep therapist or a doctor to explore other viable alternatives.
Take a shower
After a good nightâs sleep, what better way to get your brain back on active mode than a brisk shower. Not only is it refreshing, but it also encourages increased feelings of self-worth and self-care.
An appealing physical appearance improves mood greatly. You can consider hitting a spa, the barbershop, or a salon for some tender and loving care. You can also look in your closet for some attractive pieces to spruce your appearance, and throw some wow into your day.
Each day is a step
As you embark on your way to recovery, keep it at heart that this is a very personal journey. Move at your pace and exploit therapies that you feel work the best for you. You can keep a journal to chronicle your progress and to vocalize feelings and thoughts for relief.
However, avoid mopping around all day. Findings show that even small tasks like cleaning up your house, sitting out in the sun or under the stars, opening the windows to let in natural light, and any preferences you have in making your surroundings cozy boost wellness considerably.
Cook your way out of moodiness
Activities with goals in focus form a good therapeutic session. They heal the brain and encourage their stimulation. Cooking strengthens your brain to cope with stress. You must wonder how. For one, the aromas from food relax your brain. Also, the physical exertion of cooking activities, though mild, stimulates the mind.
The experience brings even greater rewards if you have company chipping in to help in preparing the meal and then cleaning up after. This is a chance for heartwarming and relaxing conversation as you spend quality time with loved ones.
Try some soothing tunes
We find most music uplifting and entertaining. Researchers take this a notch higher by recommending music therapy or a sound bath for depressive therapy. Soothing music separate from banging cacophony eases stress in the brain which releases alpha brainwaves.
If you can find music with about 60 beats per minute, experts say it would be best for promoting the alpha brainwavesâ production. Turn to your favorite tunes to lull or stimulate your brain depending on the cause of your low spirits.
Reconnect with nature
The feel of the wind in the hair, the tickle of grass under your bare feet, and the sun in your face- these are the small joys of life. You probably havenât noticed them in a while. Going for a walk and taking in the exuberating yet calming displays of nature is another way of protecting mental health.
Such exposure prevents or slows down the progression of mental illnesses like Alzheimerâs disease, dementia, and depression. These outdoor activities encourage the body to release endorphins which in turn reduce stress levels.
A sedentary lifestyle attracts numerous health complications. Regular nature walks form part of the exercise that you need for better physical health and to clear the mind. Alongside nature walks, if your circumstances allow, you can engage in gardening or nature conservation activities to help you release pent up stress.
5.Â Â Psychotherapy Support
Of the many approaches advanced in the search for effective management of depression, psychotherapy is one of the most documented and approved options. Talking to someone lessens mental burdens, and it helps when the listener is a trained therapist.
It has evolved over the years and its presentation varies depending on the patientâs condition and responsiveness. Therapy can take about four months depending on the acuity of the problem.
This therapy explores different relationships to correct any dysfunctions in them that could be the cause of mental stress for a member. Most types of counseling dwell on the interpersonalÂ role of the client in a relationship and addresses matters concerning:
Distressing incidents like the loss of a loved one
Personal loss due to the removal of a significant aspect of personal life like loss of a job
Role alteration where you take on a new role due to a change in a relationship for example in a marriage or after a divorce
Role conflict where a relationship is weakened by the failure of a participant to take up the expected role in it, for example, an absentee parent or spouse
Therapy sessions can take any or a combination of the following forms:
In this scenario, the therapist convenes a group of individuals who present closely related emotional problems. The members take turns in discussing their situations and phobias. The therapist then addresses the concerns and guides with measures that will assist the members in overcoming what overwhelms them.
Group therapy encourages the cultivation of social interaction within the members of the support group. Out of such associations, members feel accountable to take charge of their recovery processes. Members also feel normal and encouraged when they freely share their problems with others in the group who are conversant with the challenges of coping with depression.
Though not so popular today, individual therapy gives the patient a chance at exploring issues they feel are private and need confidentiality. Such sessions also help in resolving personal conflicts and facing deep fears that may be the cause of depression.
Here, as the name suggests, the willing family members participate in the counseling session to help uncover the issues causing mental distress. Together they explore ways of supporting the depressed member to overcome.
Psychiatrists, counseling psychologists, and clinical social workers conduct therapy sessions after acquiring relevant training and certification.
Ancient medical practitioners of the Orient gifted the world acupuncture as a method of relieving many types of mental and physical discomforts. Not only has acupuncture been effective, but it has stood the test of time and is favored today as a therapeutic procedure.
An acupuncture session involves inserting hair-thin needles into specific points on the body and this facilitates relief. Through this thought process, the body is encouraged to heal itself by producing antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving chemicals.
In the case of depression, acupuncture brings about the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. In the end, it balances the mood and regulates behavior to ease depression.
Emotional Support Animal Therapy
Taking care of an animal as a pet brings emotional comfort and experts cannot understate the positive impact of a petâs unconditional affection on mental imbalances. Dogs, dolphins, and horses come highly recommended for the program.
The idea of emotional support animals is based on training an animal and registering it to provide specific support to people who have challenges in coping with daily responsibilities.
The challenges could arise from a physical or mental debilitation, or when a patient needs palliative care due to a chronic or terminal illness.
Authorities allow holders to travel with the animals. The certified professional in charge of your animal gives you an ESA letter of recommendation to allow you to take the animal with you even to animal restricted areas and without requiring a pet deposit fee.
Well, as the animal becomes a faithful and fun companion, the patient focuses on taking care of it which reduces introspection and depression. The animals, especially the canines receive training to assist the patient in running some errands. What better way to bring your smile back than playing fetch with your furry friend!
This is where a patient wears motion sensors that simulate 3D experiences which alter the perception of an authentic environment. They exploit three processes involving distraction, exposure, and training of the mind.
The 3D experience can be used to conjure pleasing and calming virtual settings as a distraction from negative thoughts. The training aspect of this therapy lets the practitioner use it to train the patientâs mind to unlearn negative responses to worrying situations. This premise holds that depressive behavior can be unlearned by exposing the brain to repeated acceptable stimulation.
Everybody wishes to lead a happy life full of vigor and productivity. The challenges of daily life can bog you down and cloud your emotions. Nevertheless, you can fight back these feelings by choosing to focus on positive aspects and believing that things will work out anyhow.
To do this successfully, you can engage in activities you enjoy to distract you from the overwhelming sadness.
Make a conscious choice to appreciate the many positive things going for you instead of focusing on the dark aspects of your life, even imagined ones.
Have some chamomile tea
What makes chamomile tea special? Unlike other types of tea, chamomile contains chrysin and flavonoids. These elements induce relaxation and sleep. Its other benefits include its functions as an:
Seek out happy larks
If you keep the company of gloomy people, their mood will rub on to you. Joy can be infectious and the kind of company you expose yourself to can gradually affect your mental health. Hanging around happy people encourages you to adopt healthy and positive behavior and attitudes that help you to sustain your recovery.
Taking some time from your schedule to go out for some groceries is another way of distracting yourself. The attractive array of fresh farm produce at the grocery whets your appetite and you can start visualizing your exploits when you get back to your kitchen. You see this takes away your mind from your depressive thoughts.
The shopping mall indulges your eyes with its variety of products of different sizes, colors, and shapes, aisles upon aisles of numerous options. What about going to your favorite boutique and trying on some clothes, and a stopover at the free makeover for your face. The possibilities seem endless and your joy abounds.
Avoid retrogressive habits
Avoid engaging in habits that provide momentary pleasure but backtrack your recovery. Taking alcohol or narcotics and engaging in binge eating later eat into your self-esteem and overall health. Such behaviors deepen your depression and expose you to addictions and other mental health problems.
In the end, you are in control of your destiny even if it does not feel like it. By committing yourself to a recovery schedule, you focus your will and effort into leading a happy and fruitful life. Remember too, that the quality of our lives affects those around us.
Fortunately, the road to recovery is sure and you will come out healthier and more positive of the circumstances in your life to enjoy your life fully.
Anxiety affects so many people worldwide that it qualifies to be labeled a modern plague. The mental disorder already contributes significantly to the rise of the global mortality rate. What makes it one of the biggest health concerns of our generation is that its effects can be felt deeply by the families and loved ones of the affected individuals.
Contrary to popular belief, anxiety is not just a mental illness that changes how your brain works. Its negative impact can be so severe that it affects all aspects of daily life.
Some of the notable first victims of anxiety are your self-esteem, economic well-being, day-to-day life, and finally, romantic and social relationships. Anxiety quietly escalates from a tool of personal torment to a chaotic force that wreaks havoc on a personâs entire livelihood.
As luck would have it, anxiety is not a problem that goes away if you ignore it. As a matter of fact, turning a blind eye to the problem always leads to severe repercussions. The first step to solving any problem, especially one as devious and persistent as anxiety disorder, is to learn all you can about it.
In this guide, I uncover the truths and realities of anxiety disorder to equip you with all the tools you need to rid yourself of the debilitating condition. In addition to its origins, causes, signs, and symptoms, I will discuss the various treatment strategies for anxiety, including the appropriate homeopathic and pharmaceutical avenues you can take to manage its symptoms.
By the end of this comprehensive anxiety guide, you will understand everything about the mental condition, including the underlying causes, triggers, and how it manifests. You will also learn how to effectively manage the mild, moderate, and severe symptoms of anxiety, and how to permanently break free from the vice-like grip of anxiety disorder.
Table of ContentsÂ
Chapter 1 â Anxiety and Its Historical Expressions
Chapter 2 â The Etiology, Pathophysiology, and Complications of Anxiety
Chapter 3 â Classification of Anxiety Disorders (And their Signs and Symptoms)
Chapter 4 â Self-Diagnosis and Screening Tools for Anxiety
Chapter 5 â Recent Findings from Anxiety Research (2020 Update)
Chapter 6 â How to Manage Anxiety without Medication
Chapter 7 â Treating Anxiety with Anxiolytic Drugs
Chapter 8 â How to Overcome an Anxiety Attack on Your OwnÂ
Chapter 9 â Anxiety Success Stories and Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Tidbits
Chapter 1- Anxiety and Its Historical Expressions
What is anxiety?
Why do we get anxious?
How long have human beings been dealing with the adversities of anxiety disorder?
This chapter defines and explains what anxiety is, where it comes from, and when it is classified as a disorder. It also touches on some famous historical expressions of the mental imbalance. It highlights the turning point of anxiety from a reflexive mental state that protects us, to a debilitating psychological condition that ruins our way of living.
What is Anxiety?
The clinical definition of anxiety is that it is a mental state that manifests emotionally as feelings of fear, worry, tension. And physically, like elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, and nervous behavior.
Why do we Get Anxious?
Anxiety is the mindâs natural response to pending danger. It is the brainâs way of signaling to the rest of the body that something terrible is about to happen, so we should be alert and prepared. Under normal circumstances, anxiety is a useful reflexive emotion that keeps us alert to external threats.
On the other hand, runaway anxiety is hugely destructive. Imagine being constantly terrified, fearful, depressed, or panicked. The emotional toll it will have on you is significant. However, anxiety disorder doesnât just affect us emotionally. Over time, it can have dire physical and mental implications.
Thereâs no quick and easy way to describe anxiety. It is an amalgamation of behavioral responses, fearful thoughts, and physical changes that emerge when our minds respond to a perceived threat.
It doesnât have to be a significant threat. You can get anxious before a visit to the dentistsâ office. You can also get worried when your boss calls you into his office abruptly. Anxiety is simply how our minds prepare our bodies for a threat it senses in our future. It can also be a response to a negative experience from our past.
The reality is that everyone gets anxious. In small doses, anxiety is vital to our survival. Think about it. Before crossing the road, you look both ways to make sure no vehicles are coming, and use a crosswalk to stay safe. That is anxiety driving you to keep yourself from harm, even if there are no vehicles nearby.
Anxiety is, therefore, an entirely rational response to perceived danger until it becomes excessive, intense, and out of control. This crucial defense mechanism that keeps us safe from external hazards suddenly starts to eat at our mental and physical health from the inside out.
Historical Expressions of Anxiety
To say that anxiety is a recent problem would be inaccurate. Throughout the civilized history of mankind, great minds have discussed anxiety disorder at length in an attempt to define it and understand it.
The great evolutionary theorist was no stranger to the workings of the mind. Darwin defined anxiety as the product of adaptive emotions. He suggested that anxiety emerges when our behavioral psychology evolves radically, hinting at mania and psychopathy as two prime examples of drastic emotional adaptation.
Cannon pinpointed the origin of anxiety to the thalamus, the part of the brain responsible for behaviors like anger, fear, and the âfight or flightâ response. Cannonâs expressions are in line with modern perceptions of the thalamus, which is the trigger for all emotions and is responsible for involuntary actions (like breathing), and organ functioning.
Russian physiologist Pavlov made historically significant contributions to the study of anxiety when he conducted experiments with a trained dog. He concluded that the brain could develop agitated behavioral patterns in the wake of excessive or constant inhibitory and excitatory stimuli.
Suffocation â The False Alarm Theory of Panic Disorder
This 1993 publication by Klein suggests that the cause of many panic attacks (which are a symptom of acute anxiety disorder) is the brainâs âsuffocation monitor.â The brain erroneously signals a lack of breathable air, which in turn causes the victim to hyperventilate, experience increased heart rate and blood pressure, and even lose consciousness.
The theory proposed that a rise in plasma CO2 levels and brain lactate was enough to send the body into a state of dyspnea and hyperventilation, even when there was no real threat of suffocation. This theory shows just how badly the mind can cause the body to overreact due to anxiety.
Why Anxiety is a Big Problem Today?
Before humans settled into civilizations, we were exposed to a host of environmental dangers as well as threats from other humans from different communities. Back then, the only real cause for anxiety was social isolation and poor grooming habits. We understood enough to know that we needed each other and that we needed to keep our bodies clean.
Fast forward to the 21st Century, where modern problems have morphed the leading cause of anxiety into a plethora of reasons. There is a lot more to be uncertain about in the intricate settings weâve created for ourselves. We have school fees to think about. The mortgage is due every month. Our relationships need work and attention. We are overwhelmed by the amount of work on our plate.
Anxiety has developed astronomically over the centuries and is now one of the biggest mental disorders on the planet. On our path to understanding it, we have gone back in time to gather evidence and examples. But the real secret to stopping anxiety is to learn how it affects the body and the mind at a personal level.
All this is covered in the next chapter, which explores anxiety and its effects on the human body. For further reading on the origin and history of anxiety, you can find a thorough publication here.
Chapter 2- The Etiology, Pathophysiology, and Complications of Anxiety
How does the body react to anxiety?
What are the changes that occur when in a state of anxiety?
What causes these changes?
To better understand how to manage the symptoms of anxiety, you first need to know how it starts. This requires a closer look at the origin of anxiety on your body and the effects it has on your physical and mental wellbeing.
This chapter will walk you through the underlying causes of anxiety, the symptoms that manifest first, and the complications that anxiety brings so that youâre in a better position to grasp the anxiety management strategies that we will talk about later in the guide.
What Causes Anxiety?
Think about the last time you were anxious. Was it the time you were confronted by a bully on your way home? Was it when you forgot your wallet at home only to find out at the check-out counter?
You might not remember precisely when it was, and thatâs okay. However, it is impossible to forget the sickening feeling of your stomach dropping when faced with a stressful situation. Thatâs how anxiety feels like, and everyone has felt it at least once before.
If we go with the American Psychological Associationâs definition of anxiety, which is âa future-oriented concern that cautions you to avoid stressful situations,â we see that anxiety is a response to an unknown threat that is yet to appear. You canât overcome anxiety if you donât know what youâre anxious about in the first place!
So, the first step to overcoming anxiety is knowing what causes fear. Thatâs what I will cover in this chapter.
In psychological circles, overthinking is also known as ârumination.â To ruminate is to go over something repeatedly, casually, and slowly. Animals known as ruminants are called so because they regurgitate food theyâve already eaten, and eat it again. In relation to the human mind, rumination can be described as the act of focusing all your attention on your distress and its consequences, but not its solutions.
Overthinking happens when you take even the slightest problems that you have and repeatedly visualize its consequences. In the process, your mind begins to exaggerate the problem, essentially turning that molehill into a mountain of depressive and anxious thoughts.
Overthinking is the leading cause of stress and anxiety. It can lead you to stress and obsess over the tiniest problems.
Just like ruminating on your problems is a bad idea, fixating on your achievements can be a slippery slope too. You may be an exceptional individual that is blessed with talents to help you achieve academic, romantic, and social success.
But when you become obsessed with achieving more out of your job, relationship, or academics, you put your mind and body at risk. Itâs okay to be an over-achiever, to work overtime, and to stay ahead of your peers.
However, it should never be at your healthâs expense. High expectations lead to overworking, and if you make it a habit, you might find yourself unable to relax. Being unproductive can cause severe spells of anxiety if you get into the habit of working continuously.
We live in the age of popularity where our value is determined by the quality and quantity of our interactions on social media. The need to please everyone can be overwhelming and is a present danger to our peace of mind.
Low self-esteem is the apparent result of the thorough scrutiny one receives on every text, status update, blog post, and the image they upload on the Internet. After a while, you begin to attach your value to how many responses you get on a post, or how popular your social media pages are.
We go through tremendous pressure to impress with each breath we take. It is then not surprising that social media is one of the biggest causes of anxiety in our era.
Living with a negative mindset is comparable to putting your mind in jail. Pessimism forces the best of us to dwell on negative thoughts and predict nothing but negative consequences for our actions. It is a dark, joyless abyss that continually puts your brain on edge. With an inability to calm down and relax, anxiety becomes inevitable.
Humans have evolved a sense of self-preservation so strong that we are incapable of living in bliss and harmony for our entire lives. The mind doesnât forget, and a traumatic past is sometimes the unexpected cause of a bout of anxiety.
We are all molded by our past, but as much as weâd prefer to let bygones be bygones, our brain is constantly reminding us of the traumatic events that shaped our present. This deep-seated fear of the horrible past repeating itself sometimes evolves into a vicious cycle that spawns a particularly ruthless form of anxiety known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which we will talk about in-depth.
Environmental Causes of Anxiety
Our surroundings are constantly changing in this fast-paced world. Itâs not easy to adapt to everything new immediately. Most people have trouble leaving their comfort zones, which is a natural response to the fear of change.
On the one hand, the changing world is our cue as humans to be braver and more excited about discovering new things. On the other hand, not everyone is mentally equipped to deal with change. Sometimes, our anxiety is a direct result of our environment changing at a pace that makes us uncomfortable.
Anxiety can be passed down through generations, much like hereditary diseases. If your family has a history of mental disorders like depression and anxiety, it might explain why you suffer from anxiety, even in the absence of the psychological and environmental factors weâve discussed.
Sometimes it all boils down to a chemical imbalance in your brain. This imbalance might be inherited, or it could be the result of a severe head injury. Trauma can change the way brain cells send and receive signals, making you more likely to react vigorously to small negative incidents.
Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Some drugs are known to exacerbate our natural anxiety. However, the most prominent drug-related cause for anxiety is withdrawal. Quitting a drug addiction thrusts your body into a state of withdrawal, which famously leads to extreme anxiety, depression, and even psychosis.
The Pathophysiology of Anxiety
On your path to understanding anxiety, you may have encountered various abstract descriptions of how the mental disorder is formed. The reality is there is a distinct physiological process behind the onset of anxiety disorder.
Here is what you need to know.
When you encounter a wild animal or sink into a period of anxiety-fuelled rumination, you activate the bodyâs hormonal system. It is called the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal system. Triggering the hormonal system results in the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that puts your body in a state of hyper-alertness. It also inspires the release of another hormone, the corticotropin-releasing hormone, which releases corticotropin, another stress hormone.
All this is perfectly fine under normal circumstances. But, when your mind is continuously agitated, stressed, or anxious, a severe problem starts to develop.
The corticotropin-releasing hormone is vulnerable to genetic polymorphism. That means if activated too frequently, it can stay activated. Your body has mechanisms to check the release of the stress hormone because staying in a state of alertness is mentally and physically exhausting. However, repeated and prolonged spells of anxiety repress the gene that controls the release of stress hormones.
What follows is that your stress levels skyrocket, and with no inhibitors to dump the stress hormone out of your system, you continuously become anxious.
Anxiety would be almost non-threatening if the disorder stuck to the confines of the mind. Unfortunately, it doesnât. Anxiety interferes with the functioning of the sensorimotor system, which is responsible for our senses, motor responses, and nerve function.
Complications and Long-Term Side-Effects of Anxiety
Even though your anxiety may seem like an insurmountable issue on its own, it gets worse. There are grave long-term ramifications of anxiety, which can make the condition ten times worse. Here are the common complications and side-effects associated with long-term anxiety.
Anxiety and depression are what we refer to as âtwin problems.â One almost always accompanies the other. Despite their relationship, these two are interminably different and require different strategies and medications. Studies are still ongoing to prove that anxiety can lead to depression and vice versa.
That said, depression and anxiety share a number of symptoms, including:
Interrupted sleep cycles
Anxiety is responsible for a gastric disorder that affects about 20 percent of the American population. That disorder is known as involuntary bowel syndrome (IBS) and is characterized by sharp upper abdominal pain. Studies show that the majority of these people also suffer from anxiety.
The National Institute of Health Research estimates that 60 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from a long-term sleeping disorder. Problems like insomnia donât usually manifest organically. Sometimes they come as a side-effect of pharmaceutical drugs. However, in the absence of a blatant cause, anxiety is suspected as one of the leading reasons for disrupted sleep cycles and sleep disorders.
Chronic pain manifests in different ways, but only has a few causes. The leading cause of all illness is inflammation, and anxiety is one of the biggest inflammatory instigators in the human body. Unfortunately, most people treat their chronic pain as a separate issue, when, in reality, the problem that needs to be addressed is their anxiety.
Anxiety can cause erectile dysfunction in any male over the age of 20 years. The research says that it stems from the behavioral changes induced by anxiety, which is why some men find it challenging to sustain erections in stressful situations. Anxiety can impede any of the three mechanisms responsible for psychogenic, reflexive, and nocturnal erections.
To escape the vicious cycle of negative thoughts and fears, some people may opt for drugs and alcohol. Since none of these substances address anxiety at the root, they soon become a crutch that helps them to temporarily forget their problems. This behavior can easily lead to addiction and depression.
Anxiety disorder can be overwhelming to live with. The inability to turn off negative thoughts and feelings has a significant toll on the human mind. Sometimes, people view suicide as their only escape. Anxiety, at its most extreme, culminates in the horrific loss of life through suicide.
Can you pinpoint the cause of your anxiety?
Are you a victim of its side effects and complications?
Finding out if it affects you is a massive step in the right direction. After all, you canât treat what you donât have.
The next step is to identify the different types of anxiety disorders, which will help you develop a specific strategy to conquer it.
Chapter 3- Classification of Anxiety Disorders (And their Signs and Symptoms)
So far, Iâve touched on anxietyâs clinical definitions, historical expressions, etiology, pathophysiology, and complications. All this information has given you a better understanding of general anxiety.
Now, itâs time to sink our teeth into the details. Anxiety is further classified into:
Generalized anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder, and;
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Identifying the type of anxiety that plagues you is the key to learning how to manage its symptoms, and eventually free yourself from it.
Without further delay, letâs dive in.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
This type of anxiety manifests as extreme distress to even the slightest negative situation. A person with GAD will always expect the worst out of any situation, be it their job, family life, or future. The problems they obsess over may not even hold real-world implications.
To qualify for a GAD diagnosis, the person must experience this form of anxiety for at least six months, and exhibit the following signs and symptoms for at least three:
Feelings of impending danger
Increased heart rate
Females are twice as likely to suffer from GAD than makes. This type of anxiety starts to creep in at the end of childhood and can last all the way to your 30s and 40s. Most people with GAD can tell that theyâre overreacting but have no way to control their worrying. It is an unfortunate situation that often leads to escalated anxiety and, gradually, panic.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is a mental illness that is characterized by overthinking and compulsive behavior. A compulsion is an irresistible urge to do something even when you donât understand why youâre doing it. This form of anxiety is famous for causing intrusive thoughts and mindlessly repeated actions.
An example of OCD can be witnessed in people who bite their nails in nervous situations. They may be well aware that they shouldnât be doing that, but they cannot control the urge to do so anyway.
OCD manifests in very odd situations, from counting to organizing, cleaning, and even talking. For instance, if you have to wash your hands three times every time you use the toilet, or are compelled to arrange everything in your house to be parallel to each other, you may have OCD.
OCD can be further classified into four types:
Contamination OCD (where you donât want to touch objects for fear of contamination)
Rumination OCD (where you obsessively think about specific thoughts)
Checking OCD (where you repeatedly check on something, such as whether you turned the oven off)
Symmetry OCD (where you need everything around you to be in perfect symmetry)
OCD is, by far, the most diverse form of anxiety. As such, there are many symptoms to look out for. They include:
A need to count things
Extreme paranoia about people who are close to you
Unwarranted submissive behavior
Continuous body sensations (such as itchiness, heat, or cold)
OCD manifests during the teenage years. Like GAD, it is also more prevalent in women than in men.
PTSD comes after you experience or witness a traumatic event. It could be a car crash, seeing a murder, watching a loved one die, or even experiencing a traumatic injury. People who go through such trauma often have a hard time re-adjusting, and when this goes on for months, or even years, they can be diagnosed with PTSD.
PTSD prominently appears in the form of flashbacks, sleep issues, and night terrors. Most soldiers come back from the war with PTSD due to the graphic and inhumane nature of combat. In any case, symptoms of PTSD include:
Avoidance (of thoughts, memories, or other people)
Altered emotional reactions
Children who have PTSD may also exhibit the following symptoms:
Speech problems (slurred speech)
PTSD patients have to relive their worst moments every day. Experiencing these symptoms regularly can have a dramatic effect on a personâs day-to-day life, and it can alter their brain chemistry permanently. PTSD sufferers are highly susceptible to suicidal thoughts and may also be prone to violent outbursts, hallucinating, and even psychosis.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
SAD manifests itself as the fear of social environments. People with SAD may experience extreme discomfort in typical social situations. They find it hard to talk to other people or even visit crowded places.
SAD causes the brain to formulate negative assumptions about other people and the environment. This negativity culminates in fear of the non-existent. It is not uncommon for panic attacks to arise when a person with SAD is forced to stay in a social setting.
The physical symptoms of SAD are:
Despite its severity, SAD affects about 50 percent of people aged 11 and under, and up to 80 percent of people between 12 and 20. It is quite pervasive and, therefore, normalized, which explains why few people seek medical attention for the condition.
If you suspect that you have one of these four types of anxiety but cannot be sure, the next chapter is specifically for you.
Chapter 4- Self-Diagnosis and Screening Tools for Anxiety
Are you a victim of anxiety?
Most of us are, but we have no way of knowing that.
In this chapter, I provide a set of screening tools and information that will help you determine whether you have anxiety and the specific type of anxiety that you have. In addition to those, I will list down some general anxiety symptoms.
Common Symptoms of Anxiety
Even though anxiety is a familiar feeling, the symptoms of anxiety vary from person to person. The same can be said about the frequency and intensity of the symptoms. Your type of anxiety vastly dictates how you manifest the disorder. While OCD pushes you to compulsiveness, SAD might cause you to isolate yourself from the rest of the world.
Be that as it may, anxiety affects the body in a pretty standard way. As the instigator of the âfight or flightâ reaction, it may result in a few common symptoms for all people who have anxiety. These include:
Muscle tension â tensed up muscles are the first physical sign of anxiety. However, there is debate as to whether anxiety causes muscle tension or muscle tension causes stress and anxiety.
Panic attacks â people with a long history of anxiety are more likely to experience panic attacks, even if their anxiety is instigated by something minor.
Sinus tachycardia â this fancy term simply refers to an increased heart rate, which is a telltale sign of stress and anxiety. This condition progresses in severity the longer your anxiety is left untreated. It can, sometimes, even turn out to be life-threatening, causing cardiac arrests or otherwise interfering with the normal functioning of the heart.
Insomnia â Anxiety is part of the trifecta (the other two are stress and depression) that is notorious for causing sleep issues such as insomnia.
Constipation â Bowel movements can be affected by anxiety too. When there is no other cause for constipation, it may be possible that the problem is a psychogenic side-effect of anxiety.
Self-Screening for Anxiety Disorders
Self-evaluation is critical when determining whether you have anxiety and how severe it is. Below, I have compiled a series of precise questionnaires to serve as screening tests for all four types of anxiety disorders. These tests apply to people of all ages and health conditions.
It is essential to take part in the screening test before moving on to the other chapters, which will talk about the ways to manage your anxiety.
GAD Screening QuestionnaireÂ
Do you worry about several things over the course of a day? Has that been the norm for the past few weeks/months/years? (YES/NO)
Is your tendency to worry increasing in frequency and/or intensity? (YES/NO)
Is it hard to stop worrying once you get started? (YES/NO)
Do you obsess over the most insignificant things, such as arriving late at work? (YES/NO)
References-Newman, M. G., Zuellig, A. R., Kachin, K. E., Constantino, M. J., Przeworski, A., Erickson, T., & Cashman-McGrath, L. (2002). Preliminary reliability and validity of the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire-IV: A revised self-report diagnostic measure of generalized anxiety disorder. Behavior Therapy, 33, 215-233. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7894(02)80026-0
OCD Screening QuestionnaireÂ
Do you experience unpleasant intrusive thoughts or impulses? (YES/NO)
Are you always worried about germs? (YES/NO)
Do you experience shortness of breath for no apparent cause? (YES/NO)
Have you, in the last few days, experienced a sensation of weakness in the legs? (YES/NO)
Do you find it hard to throw out things even when you donât need them? (YES/NO)
Have you recently altered your eating or sleeping habits? (YES/NO)
Over the course of last year, were you arrested or fined as a direct consequence of alcohol or substance abuse? (YES/NO)
References-Goodman, WK, Price LH, et al. The Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS): Part 1. Development, use, and reliability. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 46:1006-1011 (1989). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV), American Psychiatric Association, 1994, Washington, D.C
PTSD Screening QuestionnaireÂ
Have you experienced/witnessed a life-threatening event that still makes you fearful today? (YES/NO)
Do you experience repeated feelings of distress, unpleasant flashbacks, or nightmares? (YES/NO)
Do you experience intense physical or emotional pain when you think of an event from your past? (YES/NO)
Do you actively avoid conversations and thoughts about a traumatic event from your past? (YES/NO)
Do you harbor negative beliefs about yourself? (YES/NO)
Do you feel isolated from other people? (YES/NO)
Are you in a continuously negative emotional state? (YES/NO)
Do you have problems sleeping? (YES/NO)
Do you have problems concentrating? (YES/NO)
References- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing
SAD Screening QuestionnaireÂ
Do you have an intense fear of social situations? (YES/NO)
Do you have trouble with social interactions? (YES/NO)
Do you feel extreme discomfort under observation? (YES/NO)
Does the thought of getting in a social situation make your heart pound? (YES/NO)
Is your fear of socializing a present feature in your daily life? (YES/NO)
Do you feel worthless and ashamed for no reason? (YES/NO)
Have you been arrested before for alcohol or drug abuse? (YES/NO)
Reference- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 1994.
If youâve answered yes to more than one question in each of the above questionnaires, you should consider seeing a primary care physician. These questionnaires only help you confirm whether you have anxiety or not. If you still feel uncertain, here is a more detailed survey to help you out.
This guide (2020 update) is merely a resource for all the questions and concerns you might have about anxiety. For a full diagnosis, visit a hospital for further evaluation.
The next chapter covers the most recent findings on the anxiety that are based on scientific evidence.
Chapter 5- Recent Findings from Anxiety Research (2020 Update)
This guide would not be complete if I didnât touch on some of the recent findings in the study of anxiety.
Iâve carefully selected a handful of relevant and recent studies with science-backed evidence to help you better understand how anxiety management tactics are changing.
This chapter is all about the most recent anxiety research (2020 update), including new findings and the latest anxiety management trends from around the globe.
Anxiety is a Major Contributor to Quality-Adjusted Life-Year Loss
The quality-adjusted life-year, or QALY for short, is a measure of the burden of living with a disease in relation to the quality and quantity of the life lived. If youâve lived one QALY, that means youâve spent a year in perfect health.
According to a 2020 Composite International Diagnostic study conducted by the World Health Organization in Singapore, GAD and OCD are two of the top five leading causes of QALY loss. Conclusions that were drawn from the study revealed that these two forms of anxiety are some of the worst mental conditions to live with and that they gradually lead to severe societal and psychological implications.
The study also revealed that mental disorders, in general, mostly affect females, young people, unemployed people, and people with low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Gamers Are at a High Risk of Anxiety
The gaming culture, which was already prevalent in Korea, Japan, and China, has now reached Africa. Gamers stand a higher risk of suffering from anxiety, according to recent findings. Despite the lack of prior statistics on the impact of video games in Africa, there is cause for concern following the results of a 2020 research.
According to the study, there is a notable rise in anxiety symptoms like sinus tachycardia, insomnia, depression, and panic attacks across different age groups and health brackets in Africa. It appears that Africa is wading knee-deep in an aggressive onslaught of gaming-induced anxiety that spawns from the increased accessibility to video game consoles like
The PlayStation and the Xbox.
Curiously, smartphone addiction faces the blame for Africaâs rapidly growing technology craze. The situation has deteriorated so quickly due to technology that a considerable portion of the population now suffers from anxiety disorders and a host of other mental illnesses.
Female Redheads Are More Likely to Have Anxiety
Even though only 2 percent of Europeans have red hair, science says that redheads are more likely to get anxiety disorders, especially if theyâre female. The explorative study showed that even though redheaded men were similarly prone to anxiety, females were more likely to experience a severe form of the condition in their lifetime.
How can this bias be explained scientifically?
Redheads are also known for their fair/pale complexions, which is indicative of low receptor activity. The receptor in question is the MC1R gene, which is responsible for skin and hair pigmentation. In redheads, this gene is suppressed, which is the reason behind the red color of their hair.
Red pigmentation has less protective benefits than black and brown pigmentation, which means redheads get exposed to more UV radiation than everyone else. Excessive exposure to UV rays causes undue oxidative stress on the cells, which can lead to permanent DNA damage.
The statistics went on to say that unlike their redheaded counterparts, women with black or brown hair and darker skin are less susceptible to mental disorders.
Anxiety during Pregnancy Can Lead to Complications
Pregnant women are often advised to avoid stress and for a good reason. Unlike the rest of us, anxiety and stress affect not only the psychological health of expectant mothers but also the health of the fetus. It also amplifies existing medical conditions, which can turn out to be dangerous for the baby.
How dangerous can anxiety be to a pregnant woman?
First of all, there is the risk of developing preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication that comes about as a result of high blood pressure. There is also eclampsia, a condition that causes seizures in pregnant women. You donât need a medical degree to know that that is dangerous to both the baby and the mother.
Doctors are more likely to recommend caesarian sections if the woman arrives at the maternity ward, looking tense and stressed out. There is an incredibly high risk of hurting the fetus during childbirth if anxiety is a present factor.
Anxiety is totally treatable in pregnant women. In fact, another study confirmed that taking anxiety medication while pregnant does not directly cause complications.
Early Life Stress is a Major Cause of Anxiety
A study has confirmed that early life stress (ELS) is a precursor to late-adulthood anxiety. Previously, late-adulthood anxiety was challenging to screen due to the cumulative negative effect of stress over the course of a personâs life. Anxiety becomes harder to diagnose the older we grow because there are several clinical and subclinical symptoms to observe.
However, these new findings reinforce the notion that ELS plays a significant role in instigating anxiety during our golden years.
What exactly does that mean?
To put it simply, ELS could be the result of child abuse, maltreatment, a death in the family, or divorce. The findings show that people with negative childhood experiences, including a problematic upbringing due to low socioeconomic status, are predisposed to get anxiety in their senior years. There is still a lot of research to be done concerning early life stress and how it links late age anxiety.
Apart from making delicious bread and warding off vampires, garlic has another unusual use: it soothes anxiety!
According to a study, antioxidant-rich vegetables can reduce oxidative markers in the brain. However, no human trials have occurred yet; the test was conducted on rats.
After being divided into two groups, the first group received garlic treatment for ten days, while the other did not. At the end of the study, the garlic-treated group was observed to display less anxious behavior than the group that didnât receive any treatment.
What can we conclude from this?
Garlic can help manage anxiety symptoms due to its ability to cut down oxidative stress in brain cells. A healthy brain does not easily develop behavioral patterns that are consistent with chronic anxiety.
Exposure Therapy as a Promising Anxiety Treatment
When something scares us, our first impulse is to get as far away from it as possible. Exposure therapy sounds counterintuitive because it forces you to face your fears, which doesnât sound very fun.
However, it is practical, so that makes it an option worth considering. Exposure therapy is designed for people who want to get over their fears. And what better way is there to do so than to confront what terrifies you?
To avoid inducing even stronger bouts of anxiety (anxiety can escalate rapidly to a panic attack under sudden stress), exposure therapy occurs in a safe and controlled environment. Though the road to recovery is slow using this method, exposure therapy is extremely useful in eradicating avoidant behavior.
It also has a few different variations:
Virtual Reality (VR) Exposure
This type of exposure utilizes equipment to replicate the sounds, sights, and smells of the patientâs worst fears.
In Vivo Exposure
This method involves placing the patient in direct contact with the object that causes them anxiety.
This type of exposure encourages the patient to relive the traumatic events that cause them anxiety.
This form of therapy invokes memories of past events by simulating the physical sensations that the patient went through.
For this type of exposure, the patient is exposed to several objects of fear progressively based on the level of anxiety they inspire.
The patient is exposed to the object of his greatest fear first.
Objects of anxiety are introduced gradually after intermittent periods of relaxation exercises.
Why does exposure therapy work?
As people experience their worst fears over and over, they gradually stop being afraid of them. Exposure therapy weakens the haunting memory of a traumatic event. Over time, the memory and the feelings it inspires becomes less intense.
An unexpected perk of exposure therapy is that it re-instills a sense of confidence. Overcoming fear is a great achievement that empowers the person to be more capable of overcoming other fears and anxieties. It equips the patient with the ability to manage their mental health on their own.
Eradicating unwarranted fears is the whole point of anxiety therapy, and as far as that is concerned, exposure therapy is one of the most effective ways to manage anxiety disorder.
In the following chapters, we will dive a little deeper into the pharmacological and homeopathic treatments and anxiety management therapies used today. In order to gain complete control over your anxiety symptoms, you need to take action!
Letâs take a look at all the options that you have at your disposal.
Chapter 6- How to Manage Anxiety without Medication
Can you keep anxiety disorder in check without a prescription?
Undoubtedly, most people with anxiety have explored homeopathic options before going the pharmacological way. However, are you aware that non-pharmacological treatment can be just as effective in treating anxiety?
These therapies teach you how to relax and calm yourself out of a state of anxiety. Thatâs saying a lot. You see, most medicines alter your brain chemistry so that you donât feel anxious anymore. But with these homeopathic methods, you address your anxiety at the root of it and learn how to cope with it.
Do these methods help to suppress all anxiety symptoms?
For the most part, yes. For instance, you can use these anxiety management therapies to suppress:
Behavioral symptoms â these include overprotective behavior, aggression, substance abuse, and compulsive behaviors.
Cognitive symptoms â these are such as worrying, negative thinking, panic attacks, inability to focus, daydreaming, and obsessions with body sensations.
Physical symptoms â these may be sweating, elevated heart rate, lethargy, dyspnea, tense muscles, weakness, nausea, shivering, fluctuating body temperature, the urge to urinate constantly, blurred vision, and chest tightness.
Read on to see all the possible ways you can manage these symptoms of anxiety without using medication.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of psychotherapy used to treat not just anxiety, but a wide array of mental issues as well. The therapy works by helping the patient discover the origins of negative thoughts and impulses, which can help them detect the habits and thinking patterns that induce anxiety.
Why is it practical?
Because it helps you unearth the underlying reasons behind your anxiety, which can be the key to stopping anxiety attacks permanently. Not only does it help you manage the symptoms of anxiety, but it also prevents you from relapsing, helps you control your emotions better, and trains you to overcome your emotional trauma.
Are there risks involved?
No, thereâs nothing significant to speak of. However, it may force you into very uncomfortable situations with your therapist as you explore your mind to establish your objects of fear and overcome past emotional traumas. Letâs just say that these sessions can get really intimate.
How can you get CBT for your anxiety?
Find a qualified therapist. The higher their reputation is, the better for you.
Go over the expenses and payment plans first before starting the therapy.
Go over your symptoms as well as any other information that you may need to tell the therapist before you attend your first appointment.
If that sounds a little complex, here is a quick overview of the whole process:
First, the therapist listens to you to try to identify the main issues that plague your mind.
Then, they observe your thinking and try to interpret your thoughts to understand what you really mean.
The next step is the identification of negative cognitive patterns, which can be observed from the way you talk.
Finally, the therapist attempts to destroy all negative thinking patterns so that you can create new positive ones.
How reliable are the results?
Rather than address the underlying causes of your anxiety directly, CBT empowers you to deal with the symptoms and complications of anxiety without relying on anyone else. Over time, you become more adept at dealing with anxiety symptoms, which makes you more confident, happier, and optimistic about the future.
I touched on exposure therapy briefly in the previous chapter. Now, letâs take a more in-depth look at the treatment, including the conditions it treats and why it has such a high efficacy for anxiety management.
Exposure therapy can be used on the following mental health issues:
Like we mentioned, there are different techniques for exposure therapy. What will work for you depends on your anxiety and how well you respond to fear.
This type of exposure involves putting the patient in the situation that they fear most. For instance, if you have SAD, the therapy may place you in an environment that would typically make you fearful, such as a party. Most of the time, these environments are only simulations, so they give you plenty of room to adapt to their real-world equivalents.
Here, the patients are requested to imagine or think about all the situations and objects that make them anxious. After a period, they learn to cope better in the same stressful situations because they learn how to control the emotions that cause them anxiety. Also, repetitive imagination may weaken the actual memory of the traumatic event.
This method is particularly intense, and not recommended for all anxiety patients (some might react adversely to the sudden exposure of their worst fears). It is called the flooding method because the patient is exposed to the most fearful object first. On the upside, once the patient is able to overcome the most fearful stimuli, everything else is easier to cope with.
Regarded as the core concept of exposure therapy, systematic desensitization involves the gradual exposure of the patient to progressively more fearful objects as a means of helping them build a coping mechanism.
A sound coping mechanism can be a powerful tool to help you keep anxiety and its symptoms at bay.
Hereâs an example of how the systematic desensitization of a car accident victim might look:
Step One: Looking at pictures of vehicles and roads.
Step Two: Watching footage of cars driving and/or racing.
Step Three: Discussing the possibility of a test drive.
Step Four: Meeting at the physical location for the ride (could be an empty parking lot)
Step Five: Sitting in the driverâs seat, fastening the seat belt, and checking the mirrors, tire pressure, etc., but not driving. This step is essential to getting over a fear of driving.
Step Six: Driving a car for a short distance.
All these steps happen in different sessions or at the pace recommended by the therapist. The reason why this therapy is useful in that it teaches relaxation techniques, first and foremost. Secondly, it eases the victim into their fears slowly by slowly so that they donât get overwhelmed and relapse. Finally, it involves constant guidance and supervision, which makes the anxiety patient feel less alone, and therefore, less likely to feel distressed.
Breathing and Muscle Relaxation ExercisesÂ
Here is a simple way to calm your anxiety whenever it strikes using little more than your lungs.
Make sure youâre sitting comfortably. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Breathe in deeply. The hand on your chest, ideally, should not move or should move only slightly. The hand on your stomach should move more prominently than the one on your chest.
Breathe in normally through your nose as you pay attention to your hands. Ensure that the hand on your stomach moves even if it is only slightly (that means youâre expanding your diaphragm).
For a while, keep breathing slowly, but through your mouth this time.
Repeat this process as many times as you need to feel calm again.
You can also practice muscle relaxation to help you quell and anxiety attack.
Sit comfortably, then slowly inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth.
Ball up your hand into a tight fist.
Squeeze the fist as hard as you can and hold the position for a few seconds. Focus on the tight feeling as hard as possible.
Slowly unclench your hand and feel the tension as it dissipates. Your hand should feel lighter and more relaxed.
Repeat the exercise with different muscle groups (your biceps, your calves, your abs, etc.) until your heart rate drops back to normal.
Biofeedback offers a play-by-play of the events that lead up to an anxiety attack. This form of therapy helps patients understand how their bodies react when they start becoming anxious. When you get anxious, your body gives off a number of signs, which are not usually perceptible by the victim. These include:
Fluctuating body temperature
ECG and EEG changes
Increased heart rate
Monitoring their bodies for these signs gives them insight about their anxiety, including its triggers and how quickly it develops into a full-blown attack. Getting real-time peek at the inner workings of their bodies assists them to deploy relaxation methods rapidly before the problem escalates.
References- Beck, A. T. (2005). Anxiety disorders and phobias: A cognitive perspective. Basic Books.
The therapies weâve discussed are widely used today to treat the symptoms of anxiety. However, there is no guarantee that any one of them is 100% effective for everyone.
Sometimes, as is the case in severe anxiety disorder, medication is a necessity, not a choice. Some people suffer from such crippling anxiety that they canât leave their homes without medication. Such people may find relief in the next chapter, where we will discuss the best pharmaceutical drugs for anxiety management.
Chapter 7- Treating Anxiety with Anxiolytic Drugs
When all else fails, the only hope for anxiety management comes in the form of prescription medication. These are the drugs used to treat severe instances of clinical anxiety, so expect them to be potent, and to have a few side effects.
Today, benzodiazepines are the most widely used anxiolytic drugs. They are safer and more effective than other options, so this is probably the first thing your doctor will prescribe.
Types of benzodiazepines include:
Triazolam (short action)
Alprazolam (intermediate action)
Flurazepam (long action)
How Benzodiazepines Treat Anxiety
Benzodiazepines have sedative properties. They affect the GABA receptor, which is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the CNS (central nervous system). GABA receptors are scattered all over the nervous system and the brain. They can be found in the thalamus, cerebral cortex, and limbic structures.
These anxiolytic drugs slow down brain activity in lower doses. At higher doses, they can even have a hypnotic affect. Theyâve proven effective for treating symptoms that are consistent with PTSD, SAD, OCD, and GAD, as well as any anxiety-related phobias.
Benzodiazepines sometimes produce counterintuitive effects. Instead of making the patient calm and relax, they may induce agitation, mania, irritability, and even hallucinations!
Itâs worth mentioning that some demographics are predisposed to these unwanted effects. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, geriatric patients, and substance abusers are at high risk of developing complications from the medication.
Benzodiazepines have different durations of action to better suit the various strains of anxiety.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRIs are more commonly used as anti-depressants. They inhibit serotonin reuptake. Serotonin is the âfeel-goodâ hormone. In its absence, the brain can develop destructive thinking patterns such as the ones that lead to anxiety and depression.
SSRIs also come with milder side effects than most of the other anxiolytic drugs we will discuss. Some common SSRIs include:
How SSRIs Treat Anxiety
SSRIs stop the reuptake of serotonin, therefore leaving plenty of the happy hormone in your brain chemistry to combat stress inducers like cortisol. It takes about two weeks for the drug to exhibit positive results.
The other reason why this drug is so popular is that it works for about 80 percent of people with anxiety. The side effects, though mild, can still be uncomfortable to experience. They include:
Disrupted sleep patterns
Complications from drug interactions
Perhaps the most concerning side effect of SSRIs is Discontinuation Syndrome. When discontinued abruptly, SSRIs may induce intense withdrawal symptoms that are in line with some of the withdrawal symptoms observed with narcotics.
Patients may experience irritability, changed sleep patterns, nervous behavior, malaise, headaches, and flu-like symptoms when they stop taking the prescription abruptly.
Buspirone is considered more effective than most benzodiazepines. It is used to treat symptoms of anxiety-related disorders like GAD and OCD.
Unlike benzodiazepines and SSRIs, buspirone doesnât have anticonvulsant or muscle-relaxing properties. Most anti-depressants do, because these symptoms usually arise, either as a direct consequence of the disease or as a side effect.
Buspirone is often prescribed for acute anxiety and depression treatment. Even though side effects donât occur frequently, they are still a present concern. They include:
Minimal cognitive dissonance
Buspirone is suitable for people with a history of substance abuse because it has a low risk of dependence. Furthermore, there are few notable or threatening drug interactions inspired by the drug.
Barbiturates are incredibly habit-forming, which is why most of them have been replaced by benzodiazepines. Even though technically, benzodiazepines are still barbiturates, their binding mechanisms and sites are different.
Barbiturates are mild sedatives that can also induce hypnosis. Theyâre popularly administered to treat insomnia, anxiety, and nervous tension.
Lately, the use of barbiturates for insomnia has tapered down as better pharmacological and homeopathic remedies emerge. However, Butalbital, a barbiturate, works along with migraine medications to kill anxiety-induced headaches.
Antihistamines such as Hydroxyzine, Doxylamine, and Diphenhydramine offer sedative properties to help manage the symptoms of anxiety.
Although most of these drugs have side-effects too, antihistamines are widely available and accessible over the counter, which can be useful in emergency situations.
As we close the chapter, remember that it is not wise to take any prescription drug WITHOUT your doctorâs consent. Most of them can be addictive, plus they all come with a set of unpleasant side effects.
The next chapter talks about how to help yourself out an anxiety attack using simple but effective anxiety management techniques.
Chapter 8- How to Overcome an Anxiety Attack on your Own
Anxiety attacks can strike when you least expect them. If youâve been through such an ordeal, you understand how debilitating and uncomfortable a sudden attack can be.
This chapter is a secret key. A key that will help you unlock your own potential to stop anxiety attacks without anyone elseâs intervention.
These quick management guidelines can get you out of a tricky situation quickly and discreetly.
Be fully aware of the anxiety attack
The symptoms of an anxiety attack are consistent with those of a heart attack or angina. Your chest tightens, you feel dizzy and weak, and you start hyperventilating.
At this moment, your brain is unable to decipher whatâs happening, so itâs not uncommon for it to exaggerate the severity of the attack. The first time someone gets an anxiety attack, they may feel like theyâre dying.
However, it is crucial that you recognize the attack as it starts. The faster you believe that itâs all going to go away in a few minutes, the better you start to feel. Calmness descends once you convince yourself that it is nothing to worry about.
Start your breathing exercise immediately
Hyperventilation makes it incredibly hard to focus or calm down, and it is usually the first symptom of an anxiety attack. If you can get your breath under control quickly, then you can manage the rest of the symptoms just fine.
Breathe deeply and feel the air rushing into your chest and abdomen. Breathe in until your diaphragm feels tight, then slowly let it out through your nose. Draw it out as long as you can, donât just exhale at once. Repeat this severally until your breathing returns to normal.
Close your eyes
Anxiety is your bodyâs way of telling you that itâs feeling overwhelmed by stimuli. One of the first things you should do is close your eyes. Motion, colors, and visual stimuli are known to trigger more anxiety, and thatâs the last thing you want while in the middle of an attack.
Sit somewhere comfortable, or hold onto something while you stand, shut your eyes, and breathe the anxiety away.
Try your best to stay conscious of your surroundings. You might get a sudden attack in public, or worse while driving.
In a state of anxiety, brain alterations make you lose your sense of balance, vision, and reality. Itâs not uncommon to hallucinate under extreme anxiety.
By all means, keep yourself conscious to avoid further hurting yourself. Move your feet around, clench and unclench your hand, and do anything else that keeps you grounded in the present.
Find a focal point and divert all your attention to it
To quiet down an anxious brain, you need to minimize the number of external stimuli it gets. Pick a point anywhere in front of you and focus on it. Pour all your attention on it as if it is the only thing in existence. Analyze it thoroughly, detail from detail, and reflect on it for as long as you need to.
Anxiety usually dissipates when the brain focuses on something.
Try progressive muscle relaxation
If breathing isnât working for you, progressive muscle relaxation will. Start with your hands. Ball them up into tight fists, hold and feel the sensation, then let go and feel your muscles relaxing.
Continue doing this for your arm, your shoulder, your chest, and your torso and legs until your anxiety goes away.
Picture yourself in your happy place
Youâre no longer at the train station or coffee shop. Instead, youâre at that beach destination youâve always wanted to go to. Youâre at your sonâs graduation, or your daughterâs wedding, or witnessing your childâs first steps.
Your happy place can be anything you want it to be, it just needs to distract you from the present. Much of anxiety management is distracting oneself from the repetitive negative thoughts causing you grief.
Divert your attention from whatever is causing you anxiety, and picture your perfect day or dream destination. A diversion is the quickest way to quell anxiety before it even starts.
Try some light exercise
Exercise releases endorphins into the bloodstream. Endorphins are the enemies of cortisol and corticotropin, the two stress hormones. Light jogging or brisk walking can inject you with some much-needed endorphins to overcome your anxiety.
Keep in mind that your body is already stressed as it is. Your heart rate is probably through the roof, so donât engage in strenuous physical exercises at this time. Also, you may find it difficult to do anything particularly vigorous because of hyperventilation.
If you have it handy, an anxiolytic drug can help your anxiety deescalate if it comes unexpectedly. These are not the only anti-anxiety drugs out there, but theyâre generally more effective for most people.
There are a lot of ways to deal with anxiety. However, in a pinch, you will find that benzodiazepines are far more effective at quelling anxiety than herbal or homeopathic remedies. One such drug you can have handy at all times is Alprazolam, which is an FDA-approved anxiolytic.
Caffeine is one of the substances that are notorious for exacerbating anxiety symptoms. Consuming coffee or soda during an anxiety attack could spell bad news for you. It is, after all, a stimulant that sends the brain into overdrive.
Make sure your diet contains little to no caffeine whatsoever if you get frequent anxiety attacks. Foods like chocolate and beverages like tea, coffee, and soda may increase the recurrence and intensity of your attacks.
Call your emergency contact
In case an attack catches you off-guard, it is best to call someone that can help you immediately. Severe anxiety attacks can be crippling. You may need someoneâs help to get to a medical center, or to overcome the attack.
If you donât have an emergency contact, call emergency services. Either way, donât suffer on your own because some attacks can be horrendous.
Now you know what to do the next time an anxiety attack catches you flat-footed. Next, we take a positive turn to look at some of the anxiety success stories Iâve come across, plus some tasty tidbits about Emotional Support Animals (ESA) and what they can do for people with anxiety.
To wrap up our 2020 anxiety go-to-guide, Iâm going to share some real-life stories about people who overcame anxiety, as well as why getting an ESA could be the turning point in your battle with anxiety.
I have handpicked the stories that I feel would be most relatable to a broader audience, and that contain some of the strategies weâve discussed in the earlier chapters.
All of these stories are self-told. I am merely passing them on to you. So, if youâre ready for a happy ending, letâs dive in.
Success Story #1: Samanthaâs Victory over SAD
âBefore last year, I was a perfectly healthy person. I was not psychotic, and I had never experienced hallucinations before, either. However, things took a turn for the worse when social anxiety disorder (SAD) took hold of me and refused to let go.
Deep inside, I always had a deep fear of social settings. Going to parties was an ordeal I just couldnât handle. The mere thought of it gave me Goosebumps.
In retrospect, I should have known something was amiss when I looked at my high school attendance sheet. It was spotty at best.
When I turned 20, my family planned a surprise party. I donât know what was worse; the fact that they planned it in a public restaurant, or the fact that they invited what seemed like a million people to my birthday party.
I remember clearly how quickly my chest tightened at the sight of all those people yelling âSurprise!â with an assortment of party favors stacked around them. I couldnât breathe, and my legs were suddenly too weak to support me. When my vision started to blur out, I was certain that I was about to die.
That was the first of many anxiety attacks. Afterward, we went to see the family therapist, who gave me a screening questionnaire for social anxiety disorder. I was later diagnosed with an acute form of social anxiety.
The therapist was extremely helpful, and I owe my mental health to them. After some sessions, I opted for cognitive behavioral therapy as a means of getting over my anxiety. It wasnât working quickly enough for me.
Soon, I started practicing breathing exercises and muscle relaxation. I was desperate for an answer, and I nearly gave up until my therapist prescribed a benzodiazepine drug to help with my anxiety.
From that day, every time I could feel an anxiety attack coming on, I would pop a pill, and it would all go away. It was liberating. I soon began getting my social life back on track. I could meet friends from school and even visit public spaces like malls by myself.
20 therapy sessions later, we finally found the underlying causes of my anxiety. I had so much pent up negativity that I was projecting it on everyone I saw.
Iâm still attending therapy sessions, and occasionally taking a pill to stop an anxiety attack, but I am much more comfortable in social situations than I ever thought I would be. I am learning how to quell my attacks without medication, and soon, I will be completely capable of managing my anxiety using these self-taught techniques. I couldnât be happier.â
Samantha is a perfect example of how destructive social anxiety can be. She is a fighter, though, and so are you. Anxiety should not be left to dictate your daily life.
Success Story #2: Andrew Kicks Anxiety to the Curb
âMy life was perfect. I was a middle-aged man with two beautiful kids and a loving wife. I had a great job at the bank, my own house, and I made enough to live comfortably and travel the world with my family. All this turned to dust when, one day, I was fired.
At first, I was sure it was a temporary setback. However, the bills started to pile up. The house needed groceries. We had a mortgage to pay. We couldnât manage all that with just my wifeâs salary.
I donât know how it happened, but soon I was perpetually drunk. Alcohol was an escape from my overthinking mind. You donât become an addict overnight, but when you finally realize that you are, everything changes.
Shame drove me to act aggressively towards my own family. I felt hopeless, useless, and soon, my only way out looked to be suicide. If it wasnât for my patient, persistent, and caring wife, I would not be telling you this story.
As soon as she noticed my alcoholism, my wife was on blogs, message boards, and forums on anxiety management. She looked far and wide for a solution, and after consulting our insurance company, she signed me up for psychiatric sessions.
My family was nothing but supportive throughout. My wife somehow kept the house running on her income alone. Meanwhile, the therapist helped me discover a lot of negative emotions and thoughts that were the root of my anxiety.
Soon, I was taking exposure therapy to deal with my fear of financial instability and economic loss. My therapist also helped me discover that I was dealing with a lot of guilt, and I felt that I had let my family down.
In time, I quit binge drinking and took anxiolytics as prescribed. Later, I landed another job at a local bank and was finally able to take care of my lovely wife and children.
I couldnât have overcome anxiety without their love and support, and I strongly advise anyone who feels stressed to get analyzed before the problem swallows them whole.â
Getting evaluated is the first step toward fighting off anxiety disorder. Donât sit on your problems, thinking they will go away; they might just stay with you for life.
Before we get to our last success story, I should mention a few things about Emotional Support Animals (ESAs).
It was Sigmund Freud himself, the famous psychoanalyst, who observed that people who love animals and keep them as pets release endorphins in higher amounts than those who donât. Their mental health tends to be better too.
Mental health organizations recommend getting an ESA for psychological issues like anxiety. They can be instrumental in managing the more severe symptoms.
How can you get your very own emotional support animal? Itâs easy. All you need is an ESA letter, and this is how you get that:
Establish that you do need an ESA. Remember, ESAs are specially trained to provide emotional support. If you just want a pet, look into adopting from the shelter instead.
If you have a trained pet, you need to acknowledge that and let the concerned parties know as well.
Visit a licensed therapist for an evaluation. You can also apply for an ESA letter online, which is a different but straightforward process too.
Wait for your ESA letter in the mail.
Our next protagonist, Daniel, used the same approach to get himself an ESA for his chronic anxiety problems.
âI am happy to be able to finally talk about my condition, which has troubled me for years. I would be glad if I am able to reach out to other people like me who need help with their anxiety.
For as long as I can remember, anxiety has been a part of my life. Iâve struggled daily through strange negative thoughts, night terrors, and a cascade of never-ending stress. As I grew older, the condition only became worse. I would suffer such intense anxiety attacks that by the time they were over, Iâd be drenched in sweat, and my heart would be going a mile a minute.
I would spend hours on health blogs, then soon these hours would be spent in a therapistsâ office. Prescriptions followed, and though I did my best never to skip doses, the symptoms didnât seem to go away.
One day, as per my physicianâs request to participate in light exercises, I found myself in the park after a mile-long jog. I was sitting on a park bench, mulling over my dark thoughts, as usual, when suddenly I was broken out of my reverie by something warm and wet on my bare shins. It was a cute little dog.
Soon after, the owner, a flustered lady, came over apologizing profusely for the dog, which had apparently broken its leash. I waved away her apology, and we sat and talked for a while. She had three lovely Pomeranians. We talked about a lot of things, including her cute, furry babies.
After she left, it suddenly hit me: I had not thought of anything but dogs in nearly 45 minutes! Heck, I had even temporarily forgotten that I had anxiety! It felt like a miracle had just happened.
That night, I did my research about animals and anxiety. I was ecstatic. Apparently, animals could provide emotional support, which is what I felt with the nice ladyâs dogs at the park.
You can guess what I spent most of my next therapy session talking about. My therapist agreed, and through him, I obtained an ESA later. That same day, I adopted a trained, friendly, and very lively Dalmatian and named him Barney.
Since Barney came home, even my medication seems to be working at hyper strength. We are making a lot of progress with my therapist too. I rarely have time to overthink things, and Barney never lets me worryâheâs always ready to distract me with a few acrobatic runs around the house.
My only regret is that I didnât stumble upon ESAs sooner. I highly recommend anyone who feels like their medication or therapy has stalled to consider getting an ESA. It will change your life, I assure you.â
The ultimate guide for anxiety, unfortunately, ends here. Within these pages is all the information you might need to learn about your condition and do something about it.
Anxiety affects a lot of peoplesâ livelihoods, even without their knowledge. However, it doesnât have to. Knowing is half the battle, and with this information at your disposal, youâre halfway to victory against chronic anxiety disorders.
If youâre finding a reliable source to get your anxiety treated then MangoClinic is your safest bet. Schedule an appointment to seek assistance from our highly professional and experienced healthcare professionals.
Childbirth can trigger several powerful emotions ranging from joy and excitement to fear and anxiety. In some instances, it can trigger depression. As a new mum, you may experience âbaby bluesâ that is characterized by anxiety, mood swings, and difficulty sleeping. These typically begin after the first few days of childbirth and may last for up to two weeks. However, you may also experience more severe long-lasting depression known as postnatal depression. This condition is common in new mothers, and can also affect fathers or partners.
What is postnatal depression?
Postnatal depression, which is also known as postpartum depression, is a complex mix of emotional, physical, and behavioral changes that affect new mothers. Unlike baby blues, postnatal depression lasts more than a few days. If you experience the symptoms discussed below for weeks after giving birth, you should seek help. It becomes more evident that you are suffering from postnatal depression if the symptoms affect your day to day life.
What causes postnatal depression?
Not one factor causes the condition. However, one or more of the following issues may be responsible.
A history of mental health conditions like bipolar disorder or depression
The occurrence of a problematic event during pregnancy
An unwanted or difficult pregnancy
Being in an abusive relationship
Having a baby with special needs or health issues
Drug and alcohol misuse
Inadequate and unhealthy diet
Even if you do not have the above trigger factors, remember childbirth alone is a life-changing event that can trigger depression. It takes time to adjust to parenting, and being a new parent can be exhausting and stressful.
What are the signs and symptoms of postnatal depression?
When you have psychological issues, a third party should observe the signs and symptoms for you. If you do it for yourself, you might downplay or ignore the symptoms. Reach out to an expert if you experience the following symptoms or see them in someone else.
Constantly feeling guilty
Loss of interest in activities you would usually enjoy
Trouble sleeping. This could present as too much sleep or not sleeping enough
Thoughts about harming yourself or the baby
Difficulty concentrating and remembering things
Difficulty making decisions
Withdrawing from people
What are the treatment options for postnatal depression?
With early diagnosis, you can treat postnatal depression and continue with your daily life. Treatment options can be medicinal or non-medicinal.
If the depression becomes severe, a GP can sometimes use medicinal treatment. But, this option may not be necessary if the condition is detected early.
Mainly, your doctor might recommend antidepressants to help you sleep better and cope with feelings of hopelessness and irritation. Hormone therapy can also help you get out of depression. WithÂ hormone therapy, a physician will often administer estrogen alongside antidepressants.
However, some risks may arise with the use of hormone therapy, so ensure you first talk to your doctor about what is safest for you. Keep an open mind, and remember, it might take a little experimentation to master what works best for you.
Some of the non-medicinal treatments used to treat postnatal depression include the following:
Cognitive therapy to help you work out your thought pattern
Practicing a healthy sleeping habit
Practicing mindfulness and meditation
Getting out into the sunshine
Joining a therapy group
Eating well and routinely. Primarily, your medic will also recommend you take a healthy diet.
Talking to family and friends
Engaging in activities that you enjoy
How do you get help for postnatal depression?
Talk to your GP if you think that you are undergoing depression. Most healthcare providers have adequate training to detect postnatal depression. In instances where they cannot help you, they will refer you to someone who can. Do not struggle alone. Seek the help that you need. Remember, there is a range of support available and that being depressed does not mean that you are a terrible parent.
Postpartum depression can interfere with how you bond with your baby. You might experience inconsistencies in developing a healthy connection with your newborn. Else, you might also become less social and stop taking care of yourself. These will only make the situation worse.
To help cope with postpartum depression, lean on your loved ones for support when you need it, and create time to cater to your physical and emotional well being. If you are not up to chores and other physically and emotionally demanding activities, let them go. Use your energy to cater to basic needs for you and the baby.
Itâs no longer baby blues if it negatively affects your daily life and continues for weeks. Remember, you can also help someone else going through it by seeking help for them earlier.
If you are seeking medical assistance to deal postpartum depression effectively then you are just where you have to be. Book an appointment withÂ MangoClinic to gain professional help to win the battle against PPD.
Mango Clinic Miami is open to both South Florida locals and remote patients across the country. We are here to help people looking for relief via a variety of means, including Quillivant, a methylphenidate which can help all sorts of people. With this prescription medication, people are able to live their lives in a way that is both healthy and beneficial.
Who Is Quillivant For?
The pressures of life can lead some people not to be as healthy as they ought to. Sometimes things happen to us, and we do not notice the effects until later; by the time we notice, we may be accustomed to whatever is happening to us. Specific ailments can be with us all our lives, and we just learn to live with them, regardless of how they affect our quality of life. Other times things begin to happen in our lives that we are unsure how to handle, resulting in us feeling frustrated, and at times, frightened of what is happening. While it can be unwanted stress, it can sometimes be a disorder that we do not realize is a part of us. Even if we do recognize something is wrong, it can be hard for us to accept that, or admit that there is something in need of treatment.
Quillivant for ADHD
Among the disorders that can be treated with Quillivant is ADHD, which can be part of a person their whole lives, or it can show up later in their life. Those with ADHD are prone to feeling frustrated over feeling more agitated than usual, highly unfocused, and lacking in concentration. You might be paying attention to one thing, and then quickly turning your attention to something else, again and again. It can be highly problematic for the person with ADHD or adult ADHD, but it can also be disruptive for other people, such as coworkers and family members.
Quillivant for Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is another disorder that can be treated with Quillivant. While not as common as ADHD, narcolepsy is a severe problem for those who have it, as it leaves them exhausted throughout the day. In addition to feeling sleepy most of the time and desperately wanting to sleep, one with narcolepsy could actually fall asleep during their regular waking hours. This is something that could happen any time, even if you are engaging in what would typically be classified as an energetic activity. This means that someone with this disorder could fall asleep during a business meeting just as easily as if they were attending a party.
Thankfully, drugs like Quillivant are ideally met to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. However, you do not have to exclusively have either of these disorders to be prescribed the medication. Those who have similar ailments related to anxiety and stress are able to be prescribed, so long as they go through the legal means of being evaluated by a licensed doctor.
How Does Quillivant Work?
A reason why Quillivant can be widely prescribed comes from how it works on the body. For those who are looking to get a prescription drug of this type, their brain is acting unusual. What is going is that the brain is desperately seeking activity that it is unable to satisfy; this is why those with ADHD cannot stay focused. When your brain seems to be looking for something new all of the time, itâs because there is something wrong that is causing it to be perpetually unsatisfied. Quillivant helps the brain release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that allows the brain to go back to normal. What releasing dopamine does is give the brain the activity it was so badly seeking; by stimulating the brain, the user is now able to be focused again.
Among the many who could benefit from Quillivant are college students, who are known to take methylphenidate for its cognitive enhancement. Since school can be extremely stressful for many students, taking drugs like Quillivant allows them to stay focused and concentrated on their studies in a way they may not have otherwise. Thanks to these prescription drugs, students are able to keep their concentration and stay alert when studying and meeting deadlines, among other things. A high percentage of students who take methylphenidates are taking it legitimately, too, as the effects are highly beneficial to their studies.
Quillivant Risks and Side-Effects
For all the benefits one can receive from such drugs, it is always important to understand the risks involved.
There are also psychological effects, such as
Lack of self-confidence
Some of these psychological side-effects can be just as damaging as the physical, as an unhealthy mind can do a lot of damage for people already dealing with these disorders.
Quillivant Overdose and Addiction
It is also important for a person taking Quillivant not to let their body become tolerant of the drug. What this means is that the user has taken so much of the drug in question that their body is no longer feeling the effects. This can also lead to dependence, as the user will find themselves needing to take the drug frequently, which can be terribly damaging to the mind and body. All of this can lead to the worst-case scenario of overdosing, which is something that happens with users of prescription drugs. Those who do not take their prescription meds responsibly can find themselves in a situation where they might overdose, especially if they become tolerant and dependent.
For all the risks involved, Quillivant is still a very beneficial drug for so many with ADHD, narcolepsy, and other related ailments. It can be a great help for people with similar symptoms who want to lead a more healthy and regular lifestyle. If you would like to be prescribed Quillivant or a similar drug, get in touch with Mango Clinic. Visit our website to schedule your appointment with one of our licensed physicians.