Anxiety & Depression
Although they are not the same, anxiety and depression are frequently co-existing conditions, and are the most common reasons people come to therapy. NIMH studies report that 17 million adults in the U.S. suffer from depression in any one-year period. And one episode of clinical depression or anxiety greatly increases the risk of future episodes. While everyone feels sad or down occasionally, these feelings should generally pass in a reasonable amount of time. Whereas people with depression and anxiety suffer persistently from negative feelings which interfere with their daily lives and cause profound psychological and physical pain. Depression and anxiety are real illnesses which carry extremely high costs in terms of relationships, family suffering, employment, the health of our children, and the general quality of our lives.
Though common, depression and anxiety are highly treatable conditions. Yet most sufferers never seek treatment. This is a genuine tragedy, as even those with the most severe forms of depression and anxiety can improve their lives significantly with qualified treatment.
How Therapy Can Help
At The Practice LA we understand that seeking professional help can be very difficult and frightening. Lack of information, shame, and cultural stigma often prevent people from getting help. But that need not be the case for you. There is real hope for healing, and you are not alone. By working with a qualified and experienced therapist, you can start regaining control and pleasure in your life. Therapy can greatly repair your ability to function in everyday situations. Psychotherapy can offer you expert guidance to identify the roots of your own unique anxiety or depression and to deal effectively with the various causes. Some of the elements of anxiety and depression treatment are as follows:
- An expert therapist can help pinpoint the life problems that contribute to depression and anxiety. Understanding which aspects of those problems one can solve, improve, or accept is an important first step. Identifying distorted thinking patterns that accompany depression and anxiety, and compound the problem is also a critical component.
- Genetics, body chemistry, illnesses, and other medical conditions can all play a part in anxiety and depression. And it's important to ensure that all the underlying physical causes are appropriately treated. Many depressed and anxious people benefit greatly from the right medication, and a therapist can help identify if medication might help you. A therapist can also help guide you to the proper psychiatrist or specialized medical doctor who can prescribe safe and effective medication. Therapists are also invaluable partners in overseeing how you respond to medication, as they generally spend more time, more frequently with patients than medical doctors can. Medication usually makes it far easier for sufferers to begin taking an active role in their health and participate effectively in therapy. Psychotherapists also have a lot of access and experience with local psychiatrists and the medical community, so they can help ensure you find a physician who is appropriate for you.
- A Clinical Psychologist is a mental health professional who has trained well past the Doctorate level to see and think clearly about human needs and behaviors. You my have a good understanding of your difficulties, obstacles, or the origins of your depression and anxiety, but a Clinical Psychologist has spent a lifetime learning how to work through these issues with you, without doing further harm. Though it is critical to have social and family support, most friends or loved ones simply do not have the training to help you through your issues. Of course, we all talk to our friends for relief, but this is not the same as talking to a professional. Patients and psychologists must work together to explore the psychological roots underlying their issues. Psychotherapy may focus on improving esteem, relationships, goals, or moving past previous traumas. Analysis, Family Therapy, Group Therapy or Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) may be components of a treatment plan, although every individuals needs are unique.
- Future Planning
- Because the experience of mastery naturally enhances emotional and physical well-being, a Clinical Psychologist can help you identify your options for the future and help set goals that will enable you to achieve what you desire for yourself. A common myth about therapy is that it involves endless rehashing of unpleasant subjects. This is simply not true. Yes, therapy does involve understanding how the past has influenced the present, but the goal of therapy is to move into a better future. To that end, therapists also help individuals identify how and when they are successful and helps people see choices, create opportunities for success, as well as gradually incorporating enjoyable, fulfilling activities back into their lives.
Common Anxiety & Depression Issues
- Anhedonia: Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies, enjoyable activities, social interactions, or sex.
- Bipolar Disorder
- Childhood Anxiety & Depression
- Chronic Pain
- Decreased Energy, Fatigue, Fogginess
- Difficult Concentrating, Remembering, Making Decisions, Planning
- Dysthymia (chronic, mild depression)
- Feelings of Guilt, Shame, Worthlessness, Helplessness
- Grief, Trauma, Loss
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Insomnia, Early Awakening, Oversleeping
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Over or Under eating
- Panic Attacks
- Persistent Sad, Anxious or "Empty" Mood
- Phobias & Avoidance Symptoms
- Postpartum Depression
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Physical Symptoms: That do not respond to medical treatment.
- Restlessness, Irritability
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Sense of Impending Doom or Disaster
- Sleep Disruption
- Social Anxiety
- Surgery, Traumatic Injuries & Illnesses
- Thoughts of Death or Suicide
- Withdrawal & Isolation
ADAA - Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Excellent information on specific anxiety and depression issues, including Myth-Conceptions, Treatments, and Research, and downloadable handbooks.
NIMH - National Institute of Mental Health
Excellent information on different forms of depression, co-existing illnesses, help for suffering loved ones, and downloadable handbooks.