Sunday, May 5, 2013

Anxiety and Depression Awareness

By Nurse Diane

The other day we told you that it was Mental Health Awareness Month.  This week the focus is on Anxiety and Depression, two of many Mental Health disorders.  These subjects really hit home with me.  Since the death of my husband my life has been filled with anxiety and depression:  Anxiety over the legal issues and depression over my loss of him.  With all the turmoil surrounding his death, I have not even had a chance to stop and grieve.  I recently went to an after hours clinic for a sore on my leg that wouldn't heal.  Feeling I was in need of an antibiotic, I went to be examined.  During the course of my examination I discovered that my blood pressure was unusually high, 225/110.  This discovery really frightened me and I followed up with a complete physical exam with my doctor.  He prescribed some blood pressure medication along with some antidepressant.   I immediately began taking the blood pressure meds and I also purchased some garlic pills and fish oil pills to help lower it.  I was wary about the anti depressant, I have some court cases that I have to attend, and I wanted to be on top of my game.  However, one of the symptoms of anxiety and depression is elevated blood pressure.

Some other symptoms include:
Low or irritable mood most of the time
A loss of pleasure in usual activities
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
A big change in appetite, often with weight gain or loss
Tiredness and lack of energy
Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and guilt
Difficulty concentrating
Slow or fast movements
Lack of activity and avoiding usual activities
Feeling hopeless or helpless
Repeated thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms of stress and anxiety include:
A faster heart rate
Skipped heartbeats
Rapid breathing
Other symptoms include:
Loose stools
Frequent need to pee
Dry mouth
Problems swallowing

Many things can cause you to have these disorders, some include:
Alcohol or drug abuse
Medical conditions and treatments, such as:
Certain types of cancer
Long-term pain
Sleeping problems
Steroid medications
Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
Stressful life events, such as:
Abuse or neglect
Breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend
Certain types of cancer
Death of a relative or friend
Divorce, including a parent's divorce
Failing a class
Illness in the family
Job loss
Long-term pain
Social isolation (common cause of depression in the elderly)

Ways to treat depression include first visiting your doctor, letting him/her know your symptoms and things that have been going on in your life. Things you can do at home include:
Get enough sleep.
Follow a healthy, nutritious diet.
Exercise regularly.
Avoid alcohol, marijuana, and other recreational drugs.
Get involved in activities that make you happy.
Spend time with family and friends.
If you are a religious or spiritual person, talk to a clergy member or spiritual advisor.
Consider meditation, tai chi, or other relaxation methods.
Add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. You can get them from over-the-counter supplements or by eating fish such as tuna, salmon, or mackerel

During National Anxiety and Depression Awareness week, take some time to examine your own life.  If you notice any of these symptoms, or feel you need some help, call your doctor, family or friend, talk things over and see what they advise.  Take time for yourself, drink some wine or eat chocolate, and find ways to relax and distress.  For more information check this site

(All images from google) 

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