Addiction, Anxiety, Anger and Depression
Addiction, anxiety, anger and depression impact more than half of he population each year. What most people do not realize is that these are all reasonable reactions. For example, when you face a threat you may feel anxious or angry. If you continue to feel anxious or angry for too long, eventually you may begin to feel hopeless and helpless (depressed). In order to make that pain go away, even for a few minutes, you may turn to mood altering substances or activities. If you continue to use these substances or behaviors to “deal” with your feelings or try to feel better, you will eventually experience changes in your brain. Without the addictive substance or activity, you don't even feel normal. At this point, you may have an addiction.
The totally amazing thing is that your brain can and will recover. Stopping the substance or activity in itself does not fix the problems that initially caused your misery. This is why it is absolutely vital to address the causes of the anxiety, anger and/or depression.
Addiction is a condition in which people use substances or behaviors like gambling, sex, shopping, eating or internet gaming to either add pleasure to a bleak life or escape from distress, AND these behaviors continue to be used despite causing problems in the person's life.
It is possible to recreationally engage in many things. It doesn't cross the line into addiction until you continue to engage in those behaviors despite them causing your problems in your relationships, health, job, finances etc. Smoking is a good example of something people continue to do despite knowing it is causing them harm.
In the section on addiction, you will learn about what causes addictions, and steps to take to begin the recovery process. Learn more…
Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental health disorder, and come in different varieties. While they have different causes and symptoms, one thing people with anxiety disorders share are feelings of deep fear, concern, stress or being overwhelmed that impact their mood, thinking and behavior. If you have an anxiety disorder, your thoughts and feelings may get in the way of taking the actions needed to be healthy and productive. Anxiety disorders can get worse over time if they are not treated. In this section we will talk about generalized anxiety and panic attacks/panic disorder.
Learn how your thoughts, lack of quality sleep, and poor nutrition can contribute to your anxiety. Develop skills to deal with your anxiety and get rid of it. Learn More…
When you are faced with a threat, you size it up and make a decision whether to get angry and fight or flee in fear. When either of these emotions is activated your body starts dumping stress chemicals (adrenaline, cortisol, thyroxine). These chemicals increase your heart rate and respiration and start dumping energy into your bloodstream to give you the fuel to do what needs to be done—fight or flee.
In theory this is a great system, but there are a couple of problems. First, these emotions are based in a very primitive part of your brain. In order to prevent unnecessary distress, you have to use your rational mind to determine whether this truly is a threat. The second issue is that energy has to come from somewhere.
In the big picture, if you are very anxious or angry AND depressed, the depression may be a sign that you are out of gas. Your body is shutting you down for a while until it can restock. You will learn how to identify your anger triggers, learn what threats or perceived threats they are related to and tools to deal with them. Learn More…
When you are depressed you lack motivation, feel like you have no energy, cannot ever seem to get rested, either want to sleep all the time or cannot sleep, and feel hopeless and helpless to change anything. This is a sign that your brain's chemicals are out of balance. This can be caused by many things including a trauma or loss, ongoing or extreme stress, poor nutrition, poor sleep due to pain or illness, or a variety of other things.
Nobody wants to stay depressed. The first step is to identify what is causing and maintaining your symptoms and which one or ones you are willing to work on first. Improvement in any of your symptoms will cause improvements in other symptoms. Learn More…