ANXIETY and MOOD DISORDERS
Anxiety is a normal emotion. It’s your brain’s way of reacting to stress and alerting you of potential danger ahead. Everyone feels anxious now and then. For example, you may worry when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision.
Occasional anxiety is OK. But anxiety disorders are different. They’re a group of mental illnesses that cause constant and overwhelming worry and fear. The excessive anxiety can make you avoid work, school, family get-togethers, and other social situations that might trigger or worsen your symptoms.
Some common causes of anxiety include:
Anxiety disorders can run in families.
Some research suggests anxiety disorders may be linked to faulty circuits in the brain that control fear and emotions.
Stressful Life Events
Life events often linked to anxiety disorders include childhood abuse and neglect, a death of a loved one, or being attacked or seeing violence.
Drug withdrawal or misuse
Certain drugs may be used to hide or decrease certain anxiety symptoms. Anxiety disorder often goes hand in hand with alcohol and substance use.
Some heart, lung, and thyroid conditions can cause symptoms similar to anxiety disorders or make anxiety symptoms worse. It’s important to get a full physical exam to rule out other medical conditions when talking to your doctor about anxiety.
Reactions to Food & Environment
Risk Factors for Anxiety Disorders
History of mental health disorder. Having another mental health disorder, like depression, raises your risk for anxiety disorder.
Childhood sexual abuse. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect during childhood is linked to anxiety disorders later in life.
Trauma. Living through a traumatic event increases the risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can cause panic attacks.
Negative life events. Stressful or negative life events, like losing a parent in early childhood, increase your risk for anxiety disorder.
Severe illness or chronic health condition. Constant worry about your health or the health of a loved one, or caring for someone who is sick, can cause you to feel overwhelmed and anxious.
Substance abuse. The use of alcohol and illegal drugs makes you more likely to get an anxiety disorder. Some people also use these substances to hide or ease anxiety symptoms.
Being shy as a child. Shyness and withdrawal from unfamiliar people and places during childhood is linked to social anxiety in teens and adults.
Low self-esteem. Negative perceptions about yourself may lead to social anxiety disorder.
Common Anxiety Disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD produces chronic, exaggerated worrying about everyday life. This worrying can consume hours each day, making it hard to concentrate or finish daily tasks. A person with GAD may become exhausted by worry and experience headaches, tension or nausea.
We all tend to avoid certain things or situations that make us uncomfortable or even fearful. But for someone with a phobia, certain places, events or objects create powerful reactions of strong, irrational fear. Most people with specific phobias have several things that can trigger those reactions; to avoid panic, they will work hard to avoid their triggers. Depending on the type and number of triggers, attempts to control fear can take over a person’s life.
This disorder is characterized by panic attacks and 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 an attack, including social isolation.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
A person may have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), if they’ve been through a traumatic event and are having trouble dealing with it. Such events may include a car crash, rape, domestic violence, military combat, or violent crime. While it is normal to have some anxiety after such an event, it usually goes away in time. But with PTSD, the anxiety is more intense and keeps coming back. And the trauma is relived through nightmares, intrusive memories, and flashbacks. These can be vivid memories that seem real. The symptoms of PTSD can cause problems with relationships and make it hard to cope with daily life.
Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common anxiety disorder that causes unreasonable thoughts, fears, or worries. A person with OCD tries to manage these thoughts through rituals.
Frequent disturbing thoughts or images are called obsessions. They are irrational and can cause great anxiety. Reasoning doesn't help control the thoughts.
Rituals or compulsions are actions that help stop or ease the obsessive thoughts.
Other Common Anxiety Disorders
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Acute Stress Disorder
Mood disorders are more intense and harder to manage than typical feelings of sadness. Life events, stress, poor diet and sedentary activity can expose or worsen feelings of sadness or depression. This makes the feelings harder to manage.
Sometimes, life's problems can trigger depression. Being fired from a job, getting divorced, losing a loved one, death in the family, and financial trouble all can be difficult and coping with the pressure may be troublesome. Life events and stress can bring on feelings of sadness or depression or make a mood disorder harder to manage.
Depending on age and the type of mood disorder, a person may have different symptoms of depression. The following are the most common symptoms of a mood disorder:
The symptoms of mood disorders may sometimes look like other conditions or mental health problems.
Common Mood Disorders
Having less interest in usual activities, feeling sad or hopeless, and other symptoms for at least 2 weeks may indicate depression.
This is a chronic, low-grade, depressed, or irritable mood that lasts for at least 2 years.
This is a condition in which a person has periods of depression alternating with periods of mania or elevated mood.
Mood disorder related to another health condition
Many medical illnesses (including cancer, injuries, infections, and chronic illnesses) can trigger symptoms of depression.
Substance-induced mood disorder
Symptoms of depression that are due to the effects of medicine, drug abuse, alcoholism, exposure to toxins, or other forms of treatment.
The above conditions often occur concurrently with:
~ Addiction disorders
~ Anxiety disorders
~ Attention disorders
~ Emotion and behavior dysregulation
~ Low self-esteem
~ Trauma disorders
Mood and Anxiety reactions can include a variety of responses, such as:
~ intense and ongoing emotional upset
~ behavioral changes
~ difficulties with self-regulation
~ problems relating to others or forming attachments
~ attention problems
~ academic difficulties
~ change in sleep patterns
~ change in appetite
~ physical aches and pains & other physical symptoms
~ use drugs or alcohol
~ increase in risky behaviors
~ difficulty in establishing fulfilling relationships
~ difficulty maintaining employment
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Creative Expression Therapies
DBT Skill Building
Holistic & Integrative Techniques
Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping)
Neurolinguistc Programming (NLP)