Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety is often experienced by many individuals and this feeling in moderate proportion can actually help individuals remain vigilant and motivated. But when anxiety is excessive it can affect the normal functioning of individuals. Depression is characterised by intense sadness, despair and hopelessness in reaction to a situation or event. However when the sadness is excessive or disproportionate it becomes problematic. Anxiety and depression affect a number of individuals all over the world.

Anxiety is often characterised by worry about circumstances and life problems and those having anxiety often find it difficult to stop the worrying thoughts. Other symptoms associated with anxiety include heart palpitations, dizziness, nausea, dry mouth and diarrhoea. Anxiety and depression may be caused by certain risk factors that include severe trauma, childhood abuse, past history of depression or anxiety in the family, bereavement etc.

Anxiety and depression tend to occur together in many cases and were classified separately only much later. In many cases mild depression cannot be distinguished or differentiated from anxiety disorders. The diagnosis of these conditions depends on the severity of these conditions along with the order in which they are observed.

Anxiety and depression can be treated with medication as well as psychotherapy. The treatment plan for these conditions can be determined based on the symptoms, their duration and their severity. The medication in these conditions includes selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors for depression. SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants may be prescribed for anxiety as well.

Drug treatment may include prescription of benzodiazepines for treatment of anxiety. These are highly potent drugs that reduce anxiety quickly. These medicines are often prescribed for treatment of general anxiety disorder, social phobia and panic disorder. While opting for drug therapy in treating anxiety and depression it is important to understand these medicines may cause certain side effects and so any changes in the drugs should be made only under the guidance of the doctor.

Beta blockers may also be prescribed as a part of treatment for anxiety. These medicines reduce the symptoms associated with anxiety like sweating, palpitations and tremors. These medicines are often used to treat social phobias. However these drugs can cause side effects like sleepiness and so need to be taken only in the prescribed dosages.

Psychotherapy can be used for long term treatment of anxiety and depression. This therapy helps in identifying conflicts, defensive patterns and problematic thinking patterns. Faulty thinking resulting in anxiety can be identified through cognitive behavioural therapy and replaced with healthier thinking. Breathing techniques along with guided relaxation exercises can help individuals deal with the anxiety. Situational exposure to anxiety producing triggers can also allow individuals to heal effectively.

Therapy also helps individuals suffering from anxiety and depression to vent out their emotions in a safe environment. It allows individuals to deal with important issues like poor self worth, depressive beliefs and problematic situations. It is important to provide anxious and depressed individuals with positive reinforcement so as to improve their self esteem. A structured routine can go a long way in improving their self confidence.

Those suffering from anxiety and depression should also be encouraged to follow a healthy diet plan and to take plenty of rest. Exercise can also help in promoting feelings of positivity. These individuals should also be encouraged to write about their feelings as they often have problems expressing their feelings.

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