October 1, 2013
Anxiety disorders and depression
People suffering from anxiety and depression are often reluctant to seek treatment, but they are very treatable conditions.
Approximately 40 million American adults are affected by an anxiety disorder and 14.8 million suffer from a major depressive disorder. Hillary LaMontagne, a mental health counselor at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, says the two disorders are often intertwined. She describes some symptoms for anxiety disorder.
“...Those include frequent worrying, inability to control the worried thoughts that are spiraling out of control and racing through your brain. Fear of certain situations and perhaps avoidance of certain situations because it causes so much an anxiety. Decreased concentration, trouble sleeping, muscle tension, headaches and trouble with feelings of being restless ...”
LaMontagne says the causes are not known, but like any mental illness, genetics may play a role. Biological and social factors and the individuals’s psychological outlook also contribute to the condition. She suggests some treatment options.
“Some depression and anxiety will respond to psychotherapy alone. Individuals will meet with a therapist and work to identify negative thoughts and substitute healthier, more rational thoughts in their place. This is a type of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy. That’s the preferred treatment modality for anxiety disorders and depression.”
LaMontagne says some people require medication or a combination of treatments. She says if feelings of anxiety or depression persist for longer than a few months, check with your primary care physician who may refer you to a mental health counselor or psychiatrist. For more information visit the web site www.nami.org.
Hillary LaMontagne is a licensed clinical professional counselor of psychiatry at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.