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COMMON MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

If you or a loved one could benefit from more assistance or to learn more about treatment for any of these mental health issues, consider calling Spero Creative Counseling Center today for more information or to simply speak to someone who may help.

 

DEPRESSION

Many of us go through periods in our lives when we feel disheartened, sad, or more negative than usual, but depression is more than this. When someone suffers from depression, they are plagued with unhappy feeling for periods of weeks or months to such an extent that it can often affect their daily lives and become extremely distressing. Some people regard depression as a trivial matter instead of a genuine health concern, but this is not the case. Depression is a serious illness with life-altering symptoms and it should never be considered as a sign of weakness or something an individual can control. Just like various mental health concerns such as bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, depression must be taken seriously. Fortunately, with the right support and treatment, it is possible for many people to make a full recovery and regain control of their lives.

It is important to remember that although treatment is available, it usually will take some time to work. Sometimes people may require long-term treatment to keep the symptoms at bay, and patients can experience recurring episodes of depression which may need further treatment later in their lives.

How to Determine Whether You Have Depression

Approximately five adults out of every hundred are diagnosed with depression each year. Sometimes, depression can be categorized as a mild instance which lasts for a short period, such as a couple of months or weeks, but episodes of major depression are also possible. Depression is an issue that affects many people in many different ways, causing a wide variety of symptoms that range anywhere from feelings of hopelessness and sadness to completely losing interest in the activities that used to bring you joy. The severity of the symptoms can also vary, as at its very mildest, you may only feel low in spirit, whereas other, more severe forms of depression could lead you to feel as though life is no longer worth living. These are some of the symptoms that are often associated with depression:

Core Symptoms:

  • Marked loss of interested in activities or pleasure from taking part in activities you would regularly enjoy.

  • Persistently low mood or constant sadness, with or without tears and weepiness.

Other Common Symptoms:

  • Agitation or slower movement

  • Feelings of inappropriate guilt, worthlessness and low self-esteem

  • Tiredness or loss of energy

  • Disturbed or irregular sleep in comparison with your typical pattern, including difficulty getting to sleep, waking early, or sleeping too much

  • A change in or loss of appetite

  • Consistent or recurrent thoughts of suicide or death

  • Various aches and pains

  • A lack of interest in sex, or reduced sexual drive

Most people suffering with depression experience a combination of at least five of the above symptoms, and this can cause them a great deal of stress, impairing their normal functioning and leading to further psychological issues such as panic attacks and general anxiety. It can be common for individuals to develop physical pain as a side effect of their depression, such as chest pains, headaches, and palpitations.

What Causes Depression?

Depression can arise as a result of many different factors, and one specific cause has not yet been identified. Anyone, or any age or gender can develop depression, although it has been noted that some people are more prone to it than others are. You may find that even without a particularly stressful event in your life, or worry that could lead to depression, you begin to suddenly develop symptoms.
An episode of depression can be triggered by traumatic or critical life events, such as bereavement, illness, redundancy, PTSD, or relationship issues. For many people, a combination of a generally low mood or negative disposition when mixed with a serious life problem, could lead to a spiral of depression.

What Treatment Options Are There For Depression?

Typically, treatment for depression involved a combination of talking therapies and medication. The type of treatment that is best suited for you will be recommended by a health care professional depending on your individual circumstances and the type of depression that you are suffering from. Without treatment, many people can find life with depression to be extremely difficult, causing relationships, home life, and employment to be affected. In some cases, there is a danger that depression could lead individuals to addictive substances such as alcohol and drugs, and severe instances of depression can inspire suicidal thoughts.

Antidepressant Medications

Much of the time, antidepressant medications are used to help with the treatment of moderate to severe depression. Although no medication will be able to change your circumstances or fix the underlying issues that may have led to your depression in the first place, they can help to ease some of the symptoms, such as poor sleep, low mood, and difficulty concentrating, helping individuals to deal more readily with their difficult circumstances. It is important to remember that antidepressant medications do not work immediately, and it can take up to four weeks for the effect to build properly.

Talking Therapies and Psychological Treatment

A great deal of research has shown that psychological treatments can be particularly effective in the treatment of depression and mood disorders. Usually, a combination of psychological treatment and medication can be more successful than choosing one treatment alone. Some of the most commonly considered treatments for moderate and severe depression include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy is based on the concept that particular ways of thinking can help to prolong, trigger, or enhance various mental health problems, like depression. By helping you to understand your thought patterns, your therapist will assist you in identifying unhealthy or harmful thoughts which could be worsening your depression. The aim of CBT is to change the way that you think in the hope that this will also have an impact on the way you feel and behave.

  • Interpersonal therapy. This type of therapy considers the idea that the personal relationships you are involved in have an impact on your mental state and mood. The therapist helps to improve your interactions with others and changes your thinking to improve your emotional state.

To learn more about treatment for depression or simply to speak to someone who can help, consider calling Spero Creative Counseling Center today for more information.

ANXIETY DISORDERS

Anxiety is a perfectly normal human emotion that every individual will experience at some point during his or her lifetime. There is nothing wrong with feeling anxious, nervous, or concerned when you are faced with a stressful situation in life, and many people experience episodes of anxiety when dealing with problems at work, taking important tests, making critical decisions in their lives or starting a new relationship. However, anxiety disorders are quite different, capable of causing enough discomfort and distress that they interfere with an individual’s ability to lead a normal life. Anxiety disorders are serious forms of mental illness, during which fear, worry and concern are crippling and constant.

Anxiety is often regarded as an abnormal response, or a disorder when it:

  • Persists after a stressful situation has diminished

  • Appears for no apparent reason, with no stressor

  • Persists even if the stress is minor

  • Seems out of proportion in consideration of the situation

What is an Anxiety Disorder?

There are many mental health disorders and conditions where anxiety is a prevalent symptom. It can appear in mood disorders, and even as a response to other illnesses. You may be suffering with an anxiety disorder if you find that the symptoms of anxiety interfere with your regular activities, or daily life. Approximately 18.1% of US adults over the age of 18 suffer with an anxiety disorder. There are four forms of anxiety disorder that are most regularly acknowledged by health care professionals, although it is important to recognize that some people experience symptoms and features from more than one type of disorder at once.

  • Phobias – Specific phobias are characterized by an intense fear response to a particular situation or object. Most of the time, the level of fear an individual experiences will be inappropriate in consideration of the situation, and it can cause people to avoid everyday interactions and activities to a disabling extent.

  • Generalized anxiety disorder – This disorder, also known as general anxiety, is recognized in people who experience unnecessary or excessive tension and worry, even in situations where there is nothing, or little to provoke an anxiety attack.

  • Panic disorder – People suffering from this condition experience sudden instances of terror that may strike repeatedly with no warning, known as a panic attack. Some of the most common symptoms of a panic attack include, palpitations, chest pain, sweating, a feeling of choking, or experiences that leave the individual feeling as though they may be ‘going crazy’, or having a heart attack.

  • Social anxiety disorder – Also known as social phobia, this condition involves an overwhelming degree of concern and worry regarding social situation, usually centering on nervousness around being judged or behaving inappropriately.

What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?

When you experience anxiety, you will typically notice feelings of fear and tension, as well as numerous physical symptoms, such as an increased heart rate, feeling of sickness, sweating, headache, chest pains, hyperventilation, tremors, or dry mouth. The physical symptoms that are caused by anxiety are caused by the brain sending various messages through your nerve pathways to various parts of your body, causing certain parts, such as your lungs and heart, to work faster. In addition to this, you will begin to release stress hormones, like adrenaline, into your bloodstream, which may have a further impact upon your heart, muscles, and even lead to panic attacks. Other common symptoms include:

  • Feelings of panic, uneasiness and fear

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Sweaty or cold hands and feet

  • Trouble staying calm and still

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Dizziness

What Causes an Anxiety Disorder?

Although the exact causes of anxiety disorders are unknown, it is important to establish that like other mental illnesses, they are not a form of personal weakness. Scientists are continuing to engage in research regarding mental health, and as they do, it is becoming clear that disorders are often caused by a mixture of factors, including environmental stress and chemical changes within the brain. Similarly, to depression, various environmental factors such as a significant event, or trauma can trigger instances of anxiety within people who may already have an inherited susceptibility to the development of anxiety disorders. Some studies have shown that anxiety can run in families, meaning that a disorder may be partially inherited from one or both parents.

How are Anxiety Disorders Treated?

The primary aim of any form of treatment for anxiety disorders is to help an individual reduce the symptoms that they experience to an extent that they are capable of carrying on with their daily routines in a normal fashion. The treatment options that will be available for you, or your loved one will depend largely on the type and severity of the condition you are suffering from.

Cognitive or behavioral therapy may be used in an attempt to improve coping mechanisms and change unhealthy thought processes which could be enhancing the symptoms of anxiety. Cognitive therapy is based on the concept that the way in which we think can fuel or trigger various mental health problems, such as anxiety or even major depression. A therapist will assist you in understanding your current thought processes so that you may be able to identify the harmful patterns which could be making you anxious. Behavioral therapy, on the other hand, aims to change the behaviors you engage in which may be unhelpful to your condition. For example, when you are suffering from a phobia, you may react to the feared object in a harmful way.

Antidepressant medications can also be used to treat anxiety even if you are not depressed. These medicines work by reacting with the chemicals within your brain such as serotonin, which could be involved in the production of anxiety symptoms. It is important to remember that after first starting an antidepressant, patients may feel their anxiety becomes worse for a few days before they begin to improve.

Please call Spero Creative Counseling Center today if you feel as though you or your loved one could benefit from further assistance and information regarding mental health issues or anxiety disorders.

TRAUMA

If you have been exposed to a traumatic experience at some point throughout your life, you may have found that the incident left you struggling with complex and upsetting emotions, anxiety disorders, phobias, a sense of impending danger, or reoccurring memories that frighten you, or disturb your regular sleeping pattern. On the other hand, you may find that you feel emotionally and physically disconnected from the world around you, and have trouble maintaining meaningful relationships or trusting other people. When terrible things happen to us, it can take some time to completely move past the pain that was caused so that we can begin to feel safe again. However, with the right support and treatment, you can begin to feel like yourself again and speed up your recovery.

Psychological and emotional trauma can shatter your usual sense of security and make you feel vulnerable in what appears to be a terrifying and generous world. Traumatic experiences can involve a threat to your safety or life, but any situation that overwhelms you, harms you, or damages you in anyway way can be considered traumatic, even if you do not suffer from physical pain. The more helpless or frightened an event makes you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized by it, and this trauma can manifest in various psychological conditions and disorders.

The Common Causes of Trauma

An event could lead to psychological disorders or emotional trauma if:

  • It happened during a vulnerable stage in your life, such as childhood

  • You felt powerless to prevent whatever it was that happened to you

  • The event happened unexpectedly and without warning

  • You were repeatedly exposed to the same threatening events

In some cases, trauma or PTSD can develop as a response to a single event that has a huge impact on an individual’s life, such as a natural disaster, violent attack, death, or accident. However, it can also arise as a reaction to consistent or ongoing stress, such as struggling with a chronic illness or living in a neighborhood that regularly experiences crime.

Risk Factors That Increase Vulnerability to Trauma

Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or other forms of lasting psychological damage such as depression. Some people can rebound relatively quickly from shocking and tragic experiences, whereas others may be devastated on a larger scale by events that seem to be less distressing on the surface. Various risk factors can increase a person’s susceptibility to emotional trauma. For example, an individual is more likely to be traumatized by an experience if they are already experiencing general anxiety, under a great deal of stress or have suffered from a string of recent troubles such as loss within the family. Individuals may also be more likely to suffer from trauma if they have been subject to traumatizing events during their childhood.

Therapy and Treatment for Trauma

When someone is suffering with the symptoms of trauma, they often feel as though they have been frozen into a perpetual state of fear and hyper-arousal. Your nervous system may feel as though it is working in over-drive, and the imbalance can lead to various problems in your quality of life and wellbeing. You may begin to experience panic attacks alongside various emotional and physical symptoms that make it difficult for you to carry on with life as normal.

Successful treatment for trauma must consider the imbalance in your emotions and help you to re-establish a sense of security within your life. Some of the following therapies can be useful in treating psychological trauma:

  • Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy

  • Somatic experiencing focuses on bodily sensations rather than your memories regarding the traumatic event, helping you to get in touch with the tension in your body so that you might better control your flow of energy into forms of physical release, such as crying and shaking.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you to carefully process and evaluate your feelings and thoughts about whatever it was that happened to you so that you can challenge unhealthy reactions in the future.

Choosing the treatment that is right for you will depend largely on your own experiences, preferences, and the severity of your trauma symptoms. If you feel as though you would benefit from help given by professionals trained to assist you through this difficult time in your life, please call Spero Creative Counseling Center today.