In the first part of this article (published in this brain health blog on November 24, 2012) we examined some common early warning signs of depression and anxiety and highlighted some of the more significant manifestations of depressive behaviour. This second part of the article continues on this path by outlining some more early warning signs of depression and anxiety.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, it serves as a guide to carers or family members, by pointing out the most prevalent symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Depression and Anxiety – Thoughts of Suicide
It is fairly self-evident that if an individual actually attempts to commit suicide than they need immediate help and treatment. The very act of suicide is often seen as poignant cry for help, an active desperation so extreme that the individual is seen to have reached the bottom.
Attempts at suicide should be treated very seriously indeed and in attempting to help any individual who is exhibiting these signs of behaviour it is important to make a distinction between passive and active suicidal tendencies.
Suicidal actions or thoughts that can be described as passive often manifest themselves in extreme risk-taking behaviour. A number of psychiatrists have suggested that physical acts like driving too fast without a seatbelt or drinking and smoking to excess while understanding the associated risks to health ,can in many cases be regarded as a manifestation of depression.
However. having said this there are many hundreds of thousands of individuals around the globe, who actively enjoy participating in dangerous or risky sports which could, under a more restrictive definition be regarded as borderline depressive. However having said this, a number of recent studies of individuals who actively participate in high adrenaline dangerous sports or other activities, do so because of a love of life. It is suggested that rather than being depressed these individuals are extracting is much excitement and joy out of life as possible. The difference between us and them is that in order for them to experience life they have to live it at the edge to feel alive.
Depression and Anxirty – Self-Harming Tendancies
Typically, the majority of self-harm cases occur when an individual is in the very deep depressed state. It is a way that desperate individuals to physically manifest their despair. The active harming oneself is to inflict physical injury and pain in order to feel something and can often be connected with a feeling of emptiness and frustration. Self-harm has often been described as an ‘inner scream for help. It is very private and like most manifestations of depression and anxiety can affect individuals regardless of race or creed or colour. In fact research has shown that the majority of individuals who self-harm consistently throughout their lives have experienced some form of trauma in earlier years. They may have been bullied, abandoned or generally neglected as a child.
Self-harming behaviour can be treated but it requires a lengthy process of structured therapy. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been demonstrated early years of practice to be very effective in helping individuals who are self-harming re-assess their place in the world. It attempts to give them a sense of value and importance. Another approach is mindfulness, which stresses the importance of being ‘in the now’ regardless of whether the feelings that are being experienced are positive or negative. They just are. Mindfulness approach helps individuals accept their reality, good or bad and that regardless of the types of feelings being experienced at any particular moment in time, they are transient and not permanent.
Like the thought of suicide, the action of self-harm is often seen as a cry for help and a search should be treated extremely seriously. If you suspect someone you know is self-harming it is vital that they seek specialist psychiatric help.
Depression and Anxiety – Chronic insomnia
Depression and anxiety robs the body of energy, it is an exhausting state to be in and as a result the majority of individuals who are depressed find it extremely difficult to get a peaceful and restful night’s sleep. Conversely depression leads to disinterest in life and a lack of motivation, this makes it very difficult to get out of bed in the morning and individuals were suffering from depression and anxiety find themselves oversleeping.
There are a number of tools approaches and techniques that can help individuals who are suffering from chronic insomnia due to depression. As in the case of suicidal thoughts and self-harming tendencies, approaches like mindfulness and CBT had proved extremely successful in calming minds and re-energising the body.
Depression and Anxiety – There Is Light At The End Of The Tunnel
By being able to spot some of the more common tell-tale sign depression and anxiety, it makes it r easier to develop an appropriate course of action and treatment. In the majority of instances, some form of talk therapy, applied consistently overtime together with the use of natural depression supplements can prove extremely beneficial.The message is follow the advice of the AMA .If you know an individual is experiencing any or all of the symptoms outlined in these articles ,consult a doctor immediately.To be for-warned is to be for-armed