Depression & Anxiety disorders

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home

Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders characterized by significant feelings of anxiety and fear. Anxiety is a worry about future events and fear is a reaction to current events. These feelings may cause physical symptoms, such as a fast heart rate and shakiness. There are a number of anxiety disorders: including generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobia, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, panic disorder, and selective-mutism. The disorder differs by what results in the symptoms. People often have more than one anxiety disorder.

The cause of anxiety disorders is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Risk factors include a history of child abuse, family history of mental disorders, and poverty. Anxiety disorders often occur with other mental disorders, particularly major depressive disorder, personality disorder, and substance use disorder. To be diagnosed symptoms typically need to be present for at least six months, be more than would be expected for the situation, and decrease functioning. Other problems that may result in similar symptoms including hyperthyroidism; heart disease; caffeine, alcohol, or cannabis use; and withdrawal from certain drugs, among others.

Without treatment, anxiety disorders tend to remain Treatment may include lifestyle changes, counseling, and medications. Counseling is typically with a type of cognitive behavioral therapy. Medications, such as antidepressants or beta blockers, may improve symptoms.

About 12% of people are affected by an anxiety disorder in a given year and between 5-30% are affected at some point in their life. They occur about twice as often in females as males, and generally begin before the age of 25. The most common are specific phobia which affects nearly 12% and social anxiety disorder which affects 10% at some point in their life. They affect those between the ages of 15 and 35 the most and become less common after the age of 55. Rates appear to be higher in the United States and Europe.

 Panic Disorder

Characterized by panic attacks—sudden feelings of terror—sometimes striking repeatedly and without warning. Often mistaken for a heart attack, a panic attack causes powerful, physical symptoms including chest pain, heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath and stomach upset. Many people will go to desperate measures to avoid having an attack, including social isolation or avoiding going to specific places.

Phobias

Everyone tries to avoid certain things or situations that make them uncomfortable or even fearful. However, for someone with a phobia, certain places, events or objects create powerful reactions of strong, irrational fear. Most people with specific phobias have several triggers. To avoid panicking, someone with specific phobias will work hard to avoid their triggers. Depending on the type and number of triggers, this fear and the attempt to control it can seem to take over a person’s life.

Social Anxiety Disorder:

Unlike shyness, this disorder causes intense fear, often driven by irrational worries about social humiliation–“saying something stupid,” or “not knowing what to say.” Someone with social anxiety disorder may not take part in conversations, contribute to class discussions, or offer their ideas, and may become isolated. Panic attack symptoms are a common reaction.

Other anxiety disorders include: agoraphobia, separation anxiety disorder and substance/medication-induced anxiety disorder involving intoxication or withdrawal or medication treatment.

  • Panic Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Social Anxiety Disorder

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