Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression have unfortunately become common mental health illnesses in our modern world. Approximately 60% of individuals with anxiety will also have the comorbidity of depression. The good news is that these disorders can readily be treated with psychotherapy. But one of the main reasons why people avoid seeking help is the stigma associated with mental health problems. You may believe that only really “messed up” people require professional help which is far from true. In fact, some of the most successful people in the world only reached great heights because they learned how to work through life’s ups and downs with a good therapist by their side.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is our body’s natural response to stress. Most people experience it as a rapid heartbeat and shallow breathing. In the short term, this response increases the flow of blood to your brain so you can focus. It allows you to prepare an effective response to a presenting stressor. A mild anxiety response feels like butterflies in your stomach, similar to what you would experience on the first day of a new job.
Sustained and chronic anxiety, on the other hand, can be problematic. When this happens, you might experience unpleasant physical symptoms, like nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, dry mouth and chills. An escalated response can leave you disoriented, fearful, distressed and shaking uncontrollably. While anxiety can escalate gradually, panic attacks come on abruptly, leaving some individuals believing they are experiencing a heart attack.
A PTSD flashback is an example of what can occur when trauma is left unchecked and the ensuing anxiety symptoms fester. Social anxiety can lead to avoidance of social situations, with the ability to severely impact lifestyles and livelihoods.
A trained psychotherapist can help you understand your emotions as well as the triggers that set off your symptoms. And then they develop a plan to reframe your thoughts and behaviour so you can cope with them better.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a persistent mood disorder that affects one in eight Canadians over their lifespan. It is a legitimate illness worth taking seriously because of the detrimental impact it can have on the quality of your life and that of your loved ones. Your genetics, socio-economic environment and childhood conditioning contribute to your resiliency in dealing with stressful events and the state of your mental health.
For many, the onset of depression often occurs after a major life event, such as the death of a loved one, a relationship breakdown, job loss or financial strain. In addition, life experiences, like trauma or abuse, living in poverty and even suffering a childhood illness, can make an individual more vulnerable to mental health problems.
Women can experience depression after childbirth with mild to severe symptoms categorized as postpartum disorder symptoms. For some people, light and temperature changes trigger a type of depression that comes and goes with the season.
If you exhibit some of the symptoms listed below for more than two weeks then consult your family doctor for a possible diagnosis of depression.
- Excessive crying and sadness.
- A loss of interest and motivation in activities previously enjoyed.
- Chronic fatigue.
- Changing in weight, eating habits, skipping meals or eating more frequently.
- Withdrawal and isolation.
- Violence and /or aggression.
- Suicidal ideation.
However, some individuals can suffer from high functioning depression, where your emotional anguish remains real, but it does not debilitate you to a point of extreme fatigue or suicidal ideation. Recognizing and communicating the full range of symptoms to your physician can help them connect the dots for an accurate assessment of your mental health.
Psychotherapists are trained to treat you with one or more types of prescribed therapies, including:
- Attachment-based therapies
- Trauma-informed therapies
- Cognitive Behaviour therapies
- Experiential and Humanistic therapies
- Psychodynamic therapies
- Somatic therapies
- Systemic and Collaborative therapies
Psychotherapy is the most effective way to manage anxiety and depression symptoms. In some cases, physicians may supplement it with medications, like Benzodiazepines which calm the brain and central nervous system, and/ or antidepressants like SSRI’s which directly impact brain hormones. Once your therapist has assessed your situation, he or she will formulate a treatment plan tailored to meet your needs.
Psychotherapists undergo 6 – 10 years of post-secondary education specifically focusing on the complex dynamics of human relationships. This gives them much better insight into your emotional health. They can help you see and understand yourself in ways you cannot from your vantage. Research shows that the most important “active ingredient” in successful psychotherapy is the quality of the therapeutic relationship rather than the therapy techniques. Our free initial consultation will allow you to take the time to assess your therapist to ensure he or she is the right fit for you.
Therapy Fees for Anxiety & Depression
In addition to the stigma related to mental illnesses, therapy fees are another reason why people avoid seeking help and we understand this, completely. Here’s how we charge for our time. We are happy to have a frank and open discussion with you about this to ensure we manage your care in the best way possible. Our services are covered by most extended benefit insurance plans. If you do not have coverage, we also offer affordable therapy sessions at discounted rates through our internship program. Therapy is an investment in your health and happiness and it is more affordable than common belief.
Also, our blogs, authored by professionally trained therapists, are available for free on our website. We publish them regularly and feature topics that are useful for individuals, couples and families. We encourage you to visit our site often. In many cases, this information will help you understand what you are experiencing. However, our blogs do not constitute professional advice, diagnosis, treatment or therapy. You must always consult with a physician, psychologist or qualified mental health provider to professionally direct your physical, mental and emotional health.
Often a few targeted therapy sessions may be all you require. We never keep you in therapy for longer than you need. To accommodate varying schedules we offer online and in-person therapy sessions during office hours, evenings and weekends.