Anxiety & Depression

"Prolonged mental health symptoms like anxiety and depressed mood can act like the proverbial canary in the coal mine to tell you that something is wrong. Trying to suppress the symptoms without looking for the cause is like taking a pain killer because you’ve got a nail in your foot!"

Anxiety disorders can include social anxiety, specific phobias, generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Anxiety is the body’s fear response and it can come in the form of worried or obsessive thoughts, physical symptoms like palpitations or behavioural avoidance, i.e. avoiding the things you fear. In the past, Doctors have prescribed medication for anxiety, panic and stress, but over the last few years research has shown that there are more effective ways of treating the anxiety that is ongoing.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been the standard psychological treatment for anxiety problems but there is now a new treatment, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT/Tapping).

EFT/Tapping (a.k.a. psychological acupuncture) has been shown in brain imaging studies to reduce activity in an area of the brain called the Amygdala. This area acts like the smoke-alarm for stress and when EFT is applied, the smoke alarm can be quickly turned off.

Dr. Peta Stapleton from Bond University describes what the science shows us about EFT for stress and anxiety in her Research Spotlight series.

To learn more about the anxiety and other mental health disorders go to Anxiety Online and Beyond Blue.

Depression

The word “depression” is used to describe many different but related experiences.  To many people, feeling depressed means feeling sad, “blue”, down or disappointed. These feelings are generally brief and have only minimal effects on everyday functioning. “Clinical” or Major Depression is a combination of emotional, physical and cognitive (thinking) states which are more intense and long-lasting, and have more profound effects on a person’s day-to-day functioning.

The person who is feeling depressed can’t just “snap out of it”, as much as they’d like to. Psychological treatment for depression not only provides a supportive environment for the depressed person to share and work through their difficulties, it can also teach skills and strategies to change thinking patterns and behaviours which may have contributed to depression or impeding recovery.

Research has shown that regular exercise is one of the best anti-depressants you can get.  Improving nutrition by eating a healthy diet based on real food and taking micronutrients, i.e. vitamins and minerals, when indicated has also been shown to improve depressive symptoms.

Getting adequate sleep is critical for good mental and physical health, and there is a circular relationship between poor sleep and Depression. Too little sleep over time can increase the risk for developing a depressive mood disorder, and people who are depressed often can’t sleep properly.

Sometimes people who are depressed sleep excessively (10 + hours ) and this can be as much of a problem as too little sleep. Many people don’t realize that putting their mobile phone on charge next to their bed at night is a serious sleep disruptor because it suppresses the release of the hormone Melatonin which controls our body’s sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm. The take-home message is to put your phone on flight mode at night and charge it outside the bedroom.

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Depression from Better Health

You can find out more about Depression and Bipolar Mood Disorders by going to The Black Dog Institute website or the  Beyond Blue website.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been the standard psychological treatment for depression but Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT/Tapping) has shown promising results in research trials. EFT/Tapping (a.k.a. psychological acupuncture) has been shown in brain imaging studies to reduce activity in an area of the brain called the Amygdala. This area acts like the smoke-alarm for stress and when EFT is applied, the smoke alarm can be quickly turned off.

Peta Stapleton from Bond University describes what the science shows us about EFT for depression in her Research Spotlight series.

Psychological treatment is also very useful for Bipolar Mood Disorders.  This condition, formerly known as manic depression, causes the person to experience abnormal or exaggerated mood swings which can last for days or weeks.  The moods can swing from being very elevated “high”, euphoric, manic, or even very irritable, to severely depressed where the person is unable to do anything because they feel so low and lacking in energy.

“No amount of anxiety can change the future. No amount of regret can change the past.”

Karen Salmansohn