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Alternative Treatment Strategies for Anxiety and Depression

March 29, 2019

 

​Social media, very hectic lifestyles, and a surging opioid epidemic are contributing to an increase in anxiety and stress-related health issues. In addition, excessive worry about job security, money, health concerns, and balancing work-life issues can be extremely overwhelming. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, more than 40 million adults in the U.S. have an anxiety disorder. Also, nearly one-half of adults who are diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder (ADAA, 2018). People with anxiety disorders can often have difficulty controlling their thoughts and stopping an unhealthy cycle of constant worrying.

Some of the symptoms of anxiety can include panic attacks, having difficulty digesting foods, having problems sleeping, feeling nervous, irritable, and an increased heart rate. This is not a comprehensive list and what makes someone nervous or anxious may not be included on this list. However, if you have some of these symptoms frequently or for long periods, you should talk to your doctor.

According to Our World In Data, an online publication that provides statistics on living conditions, 332 million people worldwide live with depression (Our World In Data, 2018). Clinical depression does not manifest the same way in everyone. Depression symptoms can include feelings of hopelessness, sadness, difficulty concentrating, sleeping, and eating. Some of the more severe symptoms of depression can also include thoughts of death, suicide, and failed suicide attempts.

Unfortunately, each of us will experience sadness in our lives; especially, if the sadness is a result of losing a loved one, going through a divorce, loss of a job, or ending a long-term relationship. However, prolonged sadness for three or more weeks, which results in having difficulty sleeping, eating, and no longer having an interest in hobbies, may be a sign you should get some professional help. Seeking professional help to manage anxiety or depression is not something you should be ashamed of. We are all human and we all have our own unique vulnerabilities. One place you can start the process of getting help to manage anxiety or depression is your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Most companies offer their employees an EAP program, which can provide you with counseling at no additional cost or the cost of your co-pay. Also, if needed, referrals for follow-up counseling services are available through most EAP programs.

There are number of drugs on the market to treat anxiety and depression. However, all drugs can have side effects, can be addictive, and some medications for depression can cause suicidal thoughts. If you feel like you have anxiety or depression, you should see your primary care doctor. Also, before you agree to take prescription drugs, talk to your doctor about some of the non-drug alternative treatment options for managing anxiety, depression, and stress. There are a number of great alternative treatment options that you should consider which include exercise, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and breathing techniques.   

Did you know that yoga and meditation are two of the most recommended alternative treatment options for treating anxiety and depression? Meditation helps with anxiety by bringing a person into the present moment and allows them to clear their mind and find stillness. In addition, yoga helps a person by allowing them to focus on deep controlled breathing, which can help lower their blood pressure and relax the parasympathetic nervous system. Remember, getting professional help or seeking medical treatment for anxiety or depression is taking a proactive and positive step in the right direction. Your mental and emotional health is just as important as your physical health!

Be well.

Sources:

Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2018). Anxiety and Depression Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from: https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2018) - "Mental Health". Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: https://ourworldindata.org/mental-health#depression [Online Resource]

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