Depression versus Anxiety

By: Robert Shields

Depression is the reaction to having lost something that was considered important. The roots lie in the past. For example, you can lose someone you love deeply and that can produce depression. On the other hand, if you lost ten cents and that was all the money you had in the world, that can equally produce depression.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is a fear of the future, whether known or unknown. For example, awakening in the morning and feeling fear in the pit of your stomach and yet having no idea why. Or, it could be a feeling of fear prior to making a speech to a small group of family members at a dinner party. Either way, that is anxiety.

The Symptoms:

Depression manifests itself as a lack interest in life itself, pessimism and a belief that the future holds nothing of value. Note, in true depression, fear of the future is not present, but on some occasions a depressed person will become anxious and become afraid of the unknown future.

The body slows down and certain chemicals are released. Similar chemicals (endorphins) are released when a patient relaxes deeply, for example whilst under hypnosis. As a world-wide teacher of Hypnotherapy, I always stress in my hypnotherapy training that 'depression is a contra-indication' to the use of hypnosis.

Should you use hypnosis with a depressed patient, you may deepen the state of depression even further because of the increased release of endorphins.

Of course, using hypnosis with a client who is suffering from anxiety is to be applauded as an induced relaxed state removes the anxiety and allows a non-critical analysis of the reason for the illness.

The Treatment:

People suffering from anxiety should always be taught a relaxation technique to allow the body to get back to normal as anxiety cannot be felt when the mind and body are relaxed.

In both cases, it is absolutely essential that the reasons for depression or anxiety is understood. With depression the sufferer almost always knows what causes it. With anxiety, if it is considered a problem, the cause is often unknown.

However, with analysis, either through a non-relaxation method such as imagery techniques for depression, or through relaxation techniques for anxiety, the sufferer can be taught to handle the situation in a more beneficial way.

Here are two examples.

With depression, a knowledge of the stages a depressive will experience as the depression takes hold, helps a sufferer to understand what is happening to him or her. This can help to get through the time it takes for the depression to 'blow itself out' as in the vast majority of cases, 'time heals'.

Of course, there are other forms of depression that do not pass in time. A 'manic depressive' will vouch for that and the only obvious recourse is to take prescribed drugs and enter in to a long term of therapy. But, if you are suffering from depression as you read this, please remember that these are exceptional cases as the majority of depressed people get well with the passing of time.

Prescribed drugs for either depression or anxiety, must only be taken on a temporary basis as a sufferer can become dependant on them.

The treatment for anxiety are twofold. If the cause is known, for example feeling afraid of flying, then techniques can be taught that will enable you to relax (remember what I said about being unable to feel anxiety when relaxed?) in the situation that causes you the anxiety.

If the cause is unknown, recourse to some form of psychological treatment may be necessary. This would inevitably be in the form of analysing the problem and then learning how to deal with the anxiety.

You Are Not Alone:

In both cases, sufferers are not alone as almost everyone will at some time in their lives suffer with either depression or anxiety, or even both.

The depth of the depression or degree of anxiety depends on individual circumstances and a sufferer's personality.

Unfortunately, those of us who are sensitive and caring suffer the most but there is always help on hand.

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