“I cannot live with myself any longer”, this is the thought that keeps repeating itself in many people. Do you realize how strikingly peculiar this thought-pattern is? Are you one or two? If you cannot live with yourself, there must be two of you: the `I’ and the `self’ that you cannot live with. Maybe only one of you is real.
One should never confuse his/her sadness or mood swings with any mental disorder. Tensions arise when your negative thinking is recurrent, consistent, and self-destructive, and you let yourself live in an opaque screen of concepts, labels, images, beliefs, judgments, and definitions. Depression and anxiety involve such disabling disturbances in emotion, from the sadness of depression and anxiety to the unrealistic elation and irritability of mania.
What’s the Link?
Although people usually discuss depression and anxiety in their conversations, scarcely any of us know the true interpenetrating of their meaning, and so we end up confusing them up with one another. This is because many people with anxiety also develop depression and vice versa. However, the fact cannot be denied that each disorder has its history, cause, emotional and behavioral symptoms, and it’s crucial to accurately identify each theory to get the right diagnosis.
The essential feature of a major depressive episode is a period of at least 2-week during which there is either depressed mood or the loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities.
So one can conclude that depression is biased towards negative interpretation. Depressed individuals acquired a negative schema- a tendency to see the world negatively– through the loss of a parent, an unrelenting succession of tragedies, the social rejection of peers, the criticism of teachers, or the depressive attitude of a parent. All of us have schemata of different kinds; by these perpetual sets, these mini paradigms, we order our lives.
A group of disorders which is characterized by unrealistic anxiety, unpleasant feeling of fear and apprehension is labeled as an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are diagnosed when subjectively experienced feelings of anxiety are present.
The essential feature of anxiety is the presence of unexpected, recurrent panic towards a specific situation. Individual shows persistent concern about having another anxiety attack for at least one month. He worries about the consequence of the anxiety, or a significant behavioral change related to the attacks.
There are six categories of anxiety disorder which are as follow;
- Panic Disorder: A panic attack is a discrete period in which there is a sudden uplift of intense worry, alarm, dread, or, horror often associated with feelings of imminent death. The attack has a sudden commencement and reaches to a peak rapidly ( usually in 10 min or less) and is often accompanied by a sense of clear and present risk, ultimately raising an urge to escape.
- Phobia: This type of anxiety is provoked by exposure to a specific feared object or situation, often leading to avoidance behavior. The individual experiences an fluctuating, marked, and excessive or unwanted fear when in the presence of, or when anticipating an encounter with, a specific object or event. Anxiety is almost invariably felt immediately on confronting the phobic stimulus e.g. a person with a specific phobia of cats will almost invariably have an immediate anxiety response when forced to confront a cat.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Obsessions are persistent ideas, thoughts, impulses, or images that are inappropriate and cause marked anxiety or distress. Whereas compulsions are repetitive behaviors e.g., cleaning, ordering, counting, or other mental acts.
OCD thus features a pattern of repetitive thoughts or routines, that are disturbing and self-destructive. At some point, during the course of the disorder, the person has recognized that the obsession or compulsion is excessive or unreasonable but still is not able to get rid of it.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: This disorder can appear at any age, even if in the past the individual didn’t show any disturbing or abnormal behavior. PTSD triggers a specific terrifying event- any particular shocking, dangerous, or scary incident or moment.
- Acute Stress Disorder: It is the aftermath of an extremely traumatic event.
The symptoms of depression and anxiety can correlate and vary from person to person. However, some of them are more common than others. Here we will discuss both cognitive and somatic symptoms of each.
Symptoms of Depression
- Feeling of worthlessness
- Negative thoughts
- Trouble in concentration
- Suicidal thoughts
- Body aches
- Loss of appetite
- Increased irritability
- Persistent anger
Symptoms of Anxiety
- Trouble in concentrating
- Expecting the worst outcomes
- Obsessive and uncontrollable thoughts
- Fear of going crazy
- Irrational fears
- Palpitations (Excessive pounding of the heart that can be felt in chest, throat, or neck)
- Trouble in sleeping and sleep paralysis
- Sweating and trembling
- Feelings of impending doom
- Restlessness and shaking
It is important to understand that any mental disorder has an uncut history behind it. Such complex disease can have multiple causes depending on genes, life experiences, biological factors, and so forth. Here we will discuss the root source of Depression and Anxiety through different theories that are widely accepted.
Causes of Anxiety Disorder
Unconscious conflicts can cause depression and anxiety that slips into the surface of conscious awareness. Unconscious conflicts are the conflicts between the id, ego, and superego: id works on the pleasure principle, ego works on the reality principle, and superego works on the moral principle.
So we can conclude that the origin of anxiety begins when
1: The id is getting out of control and doing something terrible that will leads to severe negative consequences.
2: The superego is getting out of control and making you feel guilty about real or imaginary problems.
The Psychoanalytic theory views the source of anxiety as an unconscious conflict between the ego and id impulses. Usually sexual or aggressive impulses are struggling for expression, but the ego cannot allow their expression because it unconsciously fears that punishment will follow. Since the source of anxiety is unconscious, the person experiences apprehension and distress without knowing why.
According to the cognitive perspective, anxiety is related to being more likely to attend to negative stimuli, to interpret ambiguous information as threatening, and to believe that negative events are more likely to occur in the future.
Causes of Major depression
Freud- one of the most influential and authoritative thinkers in physiology, hypothesized that after the loss of a loved one, the mourner first interjects, or incorporates the lost person; he or she identifies with the lost one, perhaps in a fruitless attempt to undo the loss. Freud asserted that we unconsciously harbor negative feelings towards those we love, the mourner then becomes the object of his or her hate and anger. Besides, the mourner resents being deserted and feels guilt for real or imagined sins against the lost person. According to the theory, the mourner’s anger toward the lost one continues to be directed inward, developing into an ongoing process of self-blame, self-abuse, and in the end depression.
Cognitive processes play the main role in emotional behavior. In some theories of depressions and anxiety, as in some theories of anxiety, thoughts and beliefs are regarded as major factors in causing the emotional state.
The most important contemporary theory that regards thought processes as causative factors in depression is that of Aaron Beck. His central thesis is that depressed individuals feel as they do because their thinking is biased toward negative interpretations. Self-blame is the root of an emotional state. Negative schemata, together with cognitive biases or distortions, maintain what Beck called the negative triad: far-reaching negative views of the self, the world, and the future.
Learned helplessness is another cause of depression. The basic premise of the learned helplessness theory is that an individual’s passivity and sense of inability to act and to control his life. This sense is acquired due to unpleasant experiences and traumas. An Individual’s failure to control the situation produces a sense of helplessness. Which leads to depression and anxiety.
No one is denying the fact that social support plays an important role in the life-pattern and mental state of every individual. According to Keltner and Kring depressed individuals tend to have sparse social networks. Reduced social support may lessen an individual’s ability to handle negative life events and make him or her vulnerable to depression.
Interpersonal behavior and interpersonal difficulties also play a crucial role in depression and anxiety.
No matter how hard things are falling apart or how deep is the root cause of any mental illness, the good news is that it can be treated through various self and medical help techniques. But before seeking help from any source remember that it requires time, patience, repetition, and devotion to master the art of living and overcome obstacles in life.
Treatments for Anxiety disorders
This technique follows simple verbal communication where patient use sounds and words to express his self. Psychiatrists use techniques developed within the Psychoanalytic tradition to help lift the repression. During free association (raw conversation between clients and therapists) the Psychiatrists listens carefully to what the patient mentions in connection with any references to the anxiety and phobia as this helps them to discover clues to the repressed origins of phobia and anxiety in the manifest content of dreams.
This technique has been developed by Wolpe (1958), as he designed it to treat patients who presented with extreme anxiety or fear towards specific events, people, or objects or had generalized fears. He assumed that we cannot simultaneously be anxious and relaxed, so if we can repeatedly relax while facing anxiety-provoking stimuli then we can gradually eliminate our anxiety. Miraculously, this technique proves to be really effective in most individuals.
In imaginal flooding, the client is exposed to the mental image of a frightening anxiety-provoking object or event and continues to experience the image of the event until the anxiety gradually diminishes. This exposure is arranged not to the actual situation but to an image of a frightening situation.
Social skill training: Self-assertion technique
it is a type of psychotherapy that works to help people improve their social skills by encouraging positive and appropriate behavior. SST is thus one of the most constructive therapy in this regard as people suffering from anxiety tend to show panic and distrust in a public gathering. learn as well. Learning social skills can help people with social anxiety who may not know what to do or say in social situations.
Treatments for Depression
These techniques used to treat a lot of mental disorders. The main focus of the treatment is to resolve unconscious conflicts. Once the therapist finds out what really is the source of depression the problem solving becomes much easier for him.
Cognitive therapies usually categorized as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) by Aaron Beck and Rational-Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) by Albert Ellis. The main purpose of these therapies is to change the patient’s irrational beliefs and tune them to rational beliefs; To change their negative thoughts to positive ones.
Since the key feature of depression is a lack of satisfying experiences with other people, behavioral treatments have focused on helping patients to improve social skills. Treatments based on social skills training are effective in alternating depression.
Perhaps the most dramatic and controversial, treatment for severe depression is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). However, It is the electrical stimulation of the brain under anesthesia. ECT used for patients with both schizophrenia and severe depression, usually in hospital settings. For the most part, its using today restricted to profoundly depressed individuals.
There are three major categories of antidepressant drugs that are using.most
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Monoamine oxidase (MAO) Inhibitor
What You Can Do on Personal Level to Prevent/Treat Depression and Anxiety?
Writing a Journal
Authoring your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs can effectively boost your self-confidence level and rationalize your thinking pattern. But it makes your thoughts focused, clear and conscious, and can be really helpful to communicate complex ideas.
Looking up, Looking in
Mother nature can do wonder on one’s physical as well as mental level. Looking up at a sky (preferably night sky) helps you to see beyond the mundane forms of life, putting a sense of vastness and immense pleasure.
Never work against any situation. Rather work along it. Acceptance is the ultimate answer to any mental disorder. We should realize that acceptance of any unfortunate event or past is not rejection. Once you are able to accept the circumstances you will see an immense increase in positive emotions and a sense of freedom. This is to say, getting rid of denials, regrets, and disappointments.
Stop comparing yourself with others
Comparison is a thief of every pleasure. However every time we compare ourselves, achievements, strengths, history, or possibilities to others, we are indirectly admiring others. Our ego’s needs are endless. It feels vulnerable and threatened and so lives in a state of fear and want. Once you know how the basic dysfunction operates, there is no need to explore all its countless manifestations, no need to make it into a complex personal problem.
The ego, of course, loves that. It is always seeking for something to attach itself to in order to uphold and strengthen its illusory sense of self, and it will readily attach itself to your problems. This is why, for so many people, a large part of their sense of self intimately connected with their problems. End these delusions and witness an uplift in your mental health.
The Art of Losing
No doubt, it is hard to let go of certain things, people, and incidents. But sometimes letting go of things is the only salient solution than defending or hanging on. Once you acknowledge the fact that everything is temporary you will gradually learn the art of losing and how to tackle any loss.
The Power Of Now
We spend most of our lives regretting the past or worrying about the future. In the meantime, we ignore the present moment, postpone our achievement to a distant day, but to change our lives we need to start now.
Stop Labeling Every Situation
Peace not bound to happiness or unhappiness. Your life can be at peace even if your life situation is bad when you stop labeling everything in your life.
For example, you may have a poor performance in your test and you constantly worried about what your teacher or class toppers would say about it. At that moment, it is precisely your ego that is afraid of being hurt, even though deep down you know that your performance was poor. So the correct behavior is to focus and determine your working style and to improve your skill instead of wasting time on regret and self-pity.
A Word From Us
Remember that your mental health is as important as physical health. However, In our materialistic and over-practical world, it seems like we are paying much attention to our outer world; forgetting about the inner self. But we are all guilty of living long periods in unnecessary mental conflicts. Because It’s necessary to seek professional help if you are suffering from such conflicts.
Harnessing the power of your mental health allows you to discover your true self. It gives you new insights about the self that was once caged in worries, regrets, fears, and so forth.