3 Ways To Reduce Depression and Anxiety
Anxiety and depression are real illnesses. If you or a loved one suffers with either of these potentially debilitating conditions, you are not alone.
- Over 40 million Americans struggle with anxiety disorders, roughly 18 percent of the population, and only one-third of those suffering will receive treatment.
- The World Health Organization projects that major depression will be the leading cause of disease burden by the year 2030.
- Anxiety disorders are the most common class of mental disorders present in the general population.
Left untreated, anxiety and depression can have serious personal and social consequences, including:
- Health problems
- Failure to reach your full potential at school or work
- Low self-esteem
- Chronic stress
- Family conflict
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Alcohol and substance abuse
- Disturbing thoughts
- Legal and criminal problems
- And sometimes, suicide (In fact, the risk for suicide in people with depression is more than 20 times higher)
Anxiety and depression are not the results of character flaws or personal weakness; rather, they are related to biological problems in the brain.
Brain Systems Involved with Anxiety and Depression
The brain is a very complex organ. Through SPECT brain imaging at the Amen Clinics, we have found that there are five major systems in the brain involved with how we feel, what we think and how we act or behave.
Abnormalities in any of these five systems – including combinations – can contribute to the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- The Basal Ganglia: Allows for smooth integration of emotions, thoughts, and physical movement.
- The Deep Limbic System: Sets the emotional tone of your mind, stores emotional memories, controls motivation and appetite.
- The Anterior Cingulate Gyrus: Responsible for cognitive flexibility, this is your ability to go with the flow, adapt to change, and deal successfully with new problems.
- The Temporal Lobes: The storage of memories and images that help us define our sense of ourselves.
- The Prefrontal Cortex: The “Executive Center” of the brain.
The 7 Types of Anxiety and Depression
One common misconception is that anxiety and depression are separate problems. However, research had demonstrated that anxiety and depression occur together 75 percent of the time.
Another misconception is the belief that anxiety and depression are simple and straightforward disorders. Through SPECT brain imaging of tens of thousands of people, the Amen Clinic has described 7 different types of anxiety and depression and knowing which type you have is critical to getting the right help.
Treatment For all Types of Anxiety and Depression
Rule out Medical Causes
Thyroid abnormalities, anemia, sleep apnea, brain injuries, vitamin and nutritional deficiencies, and certain medications can all cause problems related to anxiety and depression. Getting a thorough physical exam is one of the first, most important, steps.
All types benefit from exercise because exercise boosts blood flow to the brain. Exercise also increases your “feel good” hormone, serotonin, availability in the brain. In a study comparing exercise to common antidepressant medication, the two were equally effective after twelve weeks. However, exercise was actually more effective than antidepressants after ten months.
Kill Your ANTs
People with anxiety and depression are often filled with automatic negative thoughts (ANTs). These are the views and judgments that automatically come into your mind and ruin your day. Learning how to correct these negative thought patterns has been found to be as effective as antidepressant medication without any side effects.
Amen Clinics has helped tens of thousands of people with anxiety and depression from all over the world and can help you, too. To learn more or schedule a comprehensive evaluation, contact the Amen Clinics Care Center today online or call (888) 288-9834.