G. Susan Rivers, LMFT

Fear and anxiety are part of life. You may feel anxious before you take a test or walk down a dark street. This kind of anxiety is useful - it can make you more alert or careful. It usually ends soon after you are out of the situation that caused it. But for millions of people in the United States, the anxiety does not go away, and gets worse over time. They may have chest pains or nightmares. They may even be afraid to leave home. These people have anxiety disorders. Types include:

  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Phobias
  • Generalized anxiety disorder

Treatment can involve medicines, therapy or both.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health

Anxiety Disorders

Depression & Anxiety

Recognizing Depression

Illness: Some medical conditions actually cause depression.  These include: thyroid disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Cancer, electrolyte imbalance, celiac disease, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Bio-chemical changes:  Depression can be a side effect of some medication interactions.  These can include high blood pressure medications, sedatives, tranquilizers, anti-inflammatory and anti-Parkinson drugs.  Alcohol is also a depressant.

Stress:  Just living in stressful conditions over time can produce depressive symptoms.  Financial problems, loss of a loved one, divorce, retirement, care-giving to a chronically ill family member, feeling trapped in a bad relationship, parent/child problems and excessive demands from work or family are some stressors related to depression.

Psychological Trauma:  Depression and severe anxiety can result in adulthood as a response to past childhood trauma (physical, sexual, emotional). Abuses of all kinds in the environment (chaos, neglect, lack of consistent parenting, horrible events witnessed—such as witnessing deaths, finding bodies, losing parents, etc.) contribute to depression in children.  In a recent study, 50% of depressed children and adolescents experienced at least two major stressors in the year before they got depressed.

Most of us experience depression at least once in our lifetime.  People get depressed for many different reasons.  Understanding the cause is important since it will help determine the most appropriate and effective ways to deal with depression.

Recognizing and identifying the factors can provide the first step in gaining some mastery over the depression itself.

The following are some common reasons behind depression:

Genetics:  Recent studies indicate some depressive disorders are biologically generated, particularly Bi-polar or manic-depressive disorder.  Bipolar Disorder usually show up in early adulthood.  Uni-polar depression (dysthymia or major depression) also runs in families. Studies indicate that if one parent has depression, about 40% of the children will get depressed at some time before their 20th birthday. 

"Creating pathways to freedom, and vibrant living"