Depression

According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a common, but serious disorder that “negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act”. FORTUNATELY, depression is highly treatable.

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Depression can range from mild to severe. The symptoms of depression include:

    Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
    Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
    Difficulty concentrating, making decisions
    Feeling sad and sometimes more tearful
    Changes in appetite – weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
    Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
    Loss of energy and increased fatigue
    Feeling worthless, shame or guilt
    Thoughts of death and suicide, as well as suicide attempts
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Anxiety

There are several manifestations of anxiety disorder. These include Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The symptoms of anxiety range from mild to severe and can significantly affect the ability to engage in everyday behaviors. According to the Mayo Clinic, “a panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause”. Panic attacks can be very frightening, and one indication that one may have panic disorder, is the fear of having another panic attack.

Symptoms of anxiety or panic disorders include:

    Rapid and pounding heart rate
    Sweating
    Nausea or queasiness
    Tingling or numbing sensations
    Trembling
    Dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness
    Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
    Fear of Loss of control or death
    Sense of impending doom or danger
    Chest pain
    Chills and/or hot flashes
    Headache

Self-Injury

Self-injury is the “act of deliberately harming your own body”. People who self-injure initially feel a sense of relief of psychic tension, followed by guilt and shame. It is a way of coping with psychological distress, anger and frustration. Fortunately, there are therapies that can be very helpful in learning healthier coping skills.

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Self-injurious behaviors can include:

    Cutting
    Burning
    Scratching
    Head-banging
    Piercing the skin with sharp objects
    Breaking one’s bones
    Continually rubbing or pulling at skin and hair


While not intended to be lethal, unfortunately, engaging in self-injurious behaviors can lead to life-threatening or fatal injuries. It is important to find help for this disorder. If you see scars, burns, a loved-one wearing long-sleeve shirts or pants in warm weather, increase in accidental injuries, statements of hopelessness or worthlessness and behavioral/emotional instability, as well as problems in interpersonal relationships, reach out to a professional who can help. DBT is an effective form of treatment.