Depression is the most common cause of disability in the United States. One in 10 adults report experiencing it. Most people have their first bout of depression in their late teens or early twenties.
A person with depression likely has trouble dealing with daily stresses. Sometimes the simplest activities—getting out of bed, bathing, and dressing—can feel impossible. Such struggles might make people feel helpless or alone. Even when something good happens, depression can cast a cloud of negativity over the experience. People with depression often feel anger, shame, and irritation. Sometimes these emotions can show up in the body as aches or nausea. These feelings can also lead to weepiness.
Depression’s symptoms can vary from person to person. Someone’s gender, culture, or age may change how they experience depression. Yet most forms of depression include these common symptoms:
- Frequent crying and bouts of sadness
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Getting too much or too little sleep
- Difficulty enjoying activities one used to like
- Unexplained physical ailments such as headaches or muscle pain
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in weight or eating habits
- Thoughts of suicide
Anxiety can mean nervousness, worry, or self-doubt. Sometimes, the cause of anxiety is easy to spot, while other times it may not be. Everyone feels some level of anxiety once in a while. But overwhelming, recurring, or “out of nowhere” dread can deeply impact people. Anxiety can cause intrusive or obsessive thoughts. A person with anxiety may feel confused or find it hard to concentrate. Feeling restless or frustrated can also be a sign of anxiety. Other people with anxiety may feel depressed.
Symptoms of anxiety can also be physical. Anxiety can cause overly tense muscles, or high blood pressure. Trembling, sweating, a racing heartbeat, dizziness, and insomnia can also come from anxiety. Anxiety may even cause headaches, digestive problems, difficulty breathing, and nausea. Diagnosing anxiety depends on a person’s feelings of worry, so symptoms will vary. Personality, co-occurring mental health conditions, and other factors may explain a person's symptoms.
An addiction—a persistent need to consume a substance or commit an act—is distinct from a compulsion, which is an overwhelming and irresistible impulse to act. Usually, a compulsive act is preceded by obsessive, intrusive thoughts that compel the person to act, whereas an addiction is more of a habit that is not necessarily accompanied by obsessive thinking.
Compulsive behaviors include chronic gambling, substance abuse, sexual addictions, unrestrained shopping and spending, hoarding, excessive exercising, Internet gaming, eating issues, and other behaviors. Any compulsive behavior can become an addiction when the act is no longer able to be controlled and impairs a person’s ability to function socially, academically, and professionally. The distinction between “addiction” and “compulsion” can sometimes become unclear, as a person might think frequently about the object of the addiction, and it may become near-compulsive to pursue the addictive behavior.
When individuals make a long-term commitment to each other out of affection, they are said to be in a relationship. The partners often spend time together, share resources, and support each other in times of need. When a relationship has been officially recognized in a community, it is called a marriage.
Many people marry because they love their partners, but this wasn’t always the case. The cultural meaning of marriage has changed drastically over time. As the institution of marriage has evolved, people’s expectations and desires for marriage have changed as well. However, relationships and marriage still hold a lot of importance in most individuals’ lives.
Stress is often defined as a bodily response to the demands of life. But there are also emotional and mental aspects of stress. It is experienced as thoughts and feelings as well as in the body. Another way to define stress could be as an internal and conditioned response to external pressures.
In many cases, the stress Americans experience today is a response to psychological threats. Some of these threats might be losing a job or looking for employment, the death of a loved one, or relationship issues. Any of these can occur more than once in the course of a life.
Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure. It is often a reaction to stress, failure, or injustice. Anger can range from mild irritation to full-blown rage. It is normal to experience anger, it is a human emotion. At times, anger is the appropriate response to the actions of others. When managed correctly and kept in check, anger can be an important ally to a healthy adult.
But anger has risks, perhaps more than any other emotion. It can alienate people from others and lead individuals to do things they later regret. The causes of anger can vary. It may be triggered by external factors such as bullying, humiliation, and loss. Internal factors, such as frustration or failure, can also lead to anger.Anger is not always a reaction to a present circumstance. Sometimes a situation will unconsciously remind a person of a past experience. A person may displace their anger about the past onto the present situation.
Grief is a normal process people go through when they experience loss, whether it is from the loss of a loved one, the loss of a relationship, the loss of a pet, the loss of a job, a change in physical or emotional well-being, or any change in life. Since we all deal with loss and change in different ways, the grieving process can be an isolating experience. While some may feel a profound sense of sadness, others may feel anger, regret, guilt, or relief, to name a few.
Everyone grieves in his or her own way and in his or her own time. Some people will embrace their emotions, talking about and expressing them at every opportunity, while others may throw themselves into other distractions like work or seem, to an outside observer, almost stoic or unaffected. Some may even be able to experience great joy or humor during a time of great sadness and loss.
Grieving emotions and behaviors can be very surprising to people because the strength of the emotions (whether extreme or mild) can often be contrary to the expectations of the griever (e.g., feeling very upset over the loss of a very unhealthy relationship).
More about Addiction
The term ‘addiction’ has evolved over the years to include more than just alcohol & drugs. Today, addiction encompasses a host of behavioral concerns that include internet, gambling, sex, exercise, shopping, work, pornography, video games and smoking. It is historically defined as a physical and/or psychological dependency on a mood-altering chemical (alcohol, heroin, prescription drugs, etc.) or behaviour (sex, gambling, internet, etc), although it can also be viewed as a continued involvement with a substance or activity despite the negative consequences associated with it.
It is not uncommon for individuals struggling with an addiction to be experiencing distress in other areas. These include but are not limited to: drugs and alcohol, depression, anxiety & fear, adjustment concerns, trauma & PTSD, relationship issues, grief & loss, sexuality concerns, and early childhood abuse. Trying to feel better the individual self-medicates with alcohol and drugs or perhaps one of the other addictions (ie: gambling, pornography, etc), with the addiction being the primary condition, yet over time, it can lead to depression, anxiety, or more severe emotional problems.
Addiction to substances or activities can sometimes lead to serious problems at home, work, school and socially. The causes of addiction vary considerably, and are not often fully understood. They are generally caused by a combination of physical, mental, circumstantial and emotional factors.
WalkinTalkinTherapy offers a unique approach that assist individuals in becoming more aware of current behaviors and thought processes. While scientists have long known that exercise can temporarily boost serotonin levels and improve mood, the latest research shows it can have a deeper and more lasting effect when combined with talk therapy. Advocates of the combined approach say that being active during the session helps clients to relax and open up. Clients say they find it easier to open up while walking and being outdoors, rather than staring the therapist in the eye within the confines of an office.
I offer compassion, understanding and a practical approach to change. You’ll receive encouragement in the process of spiritual renewal and self-awareness, emotional support to develop awareness of how addiction has impacted your life and support in working to heal the relationships that have been strained due to the addiction.