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Sunday, December 6, 2009

5 Myths That Can Make Your Depression Worse

By: Chris Green

A speedy recovery from anxiety and depression is often hampered by a number of harmful myths believed by sufferers and practitioners alike. In believing these myths, anxiety and depression are prolonged so it's absolutely vital you are aware of the following myths so you select the correct treatment and get better quickly.

You may hear fitness gurus promoting exercise as the best way to ease anxiety and depression. Although exercise is great for physical health, it cannot cure anxiety or depression. Lack of exercise has absolutely nothing to do with depression and exercising regularly will not cure you. Indeed, certain exercises - running, treadmills, biking to give just 3 examples - may even fuel depression as they allow you to brood over your problems. Exercises where you have to concentrate, such as tennis, badminton, squash, are more beneficial. Exercise can help, but you also need to treat the root cause of anxiety and depression as well. And if you perform the behaviours that cause anxiety and depression when you stop exercising, exercise won't help you conquer either of these problems.

Another common myth regarding anxiety and depression is the theory that both have their roots in past events, even going back as far as childhood. Repeatedly going over events from the past is a major part of depression, and of course, the past can be a very cruel place to live. But replaying past events is again just one of the symptoms. Therapy that solely focuses on addressing events from the past in a misguided search to attribute the cause of your depression is flawed in two ways: First, one single event from the past will not cause depression or anxiety. Yes, certain events from the past - especially abuse - can cause problems but these problems are not part of anxiety or depression and need specialist counselling. Secondly, replaying events from the past will do nothing whatsoever to help you deal with the problems and circumstances you face here and now. Instead of concentrating on the past, concentrate instead on coping with and solving, the problems and issues you are confronted with at the moment. This will help you far more than digging up the past.

Anxiety and depression are all in the mind. This is another huge myth, mainly believed by people who have never suffered from these problems. There are many other symptoms that are part of anxiety and depression: back ache, muscle cramps, exhaustion, loss of appetite or increase in appetite, sleeplessness, hyper-tension, and loss of sex drive to name but a few. Dismissing anxiety and depression as being "all in the mind" simplifies them and shows a complete lack of understanding about them. All of these symptoms combined make it so very hard for sufferers to do even the simplest of daily tasks and cause so much anguish. If anyone tells you it's "all in your mind" ignore them, they don't know what they're talking about.

For lots of people, an episode of anxiety and depression is often triggered by a traumatic event. For example, a death of a loved one, job loss, a relationship breakdown, these kinds of events. The conclusion is that traumatic events cause severe stress, leading to depression and anxiety. This is completely untrue because no event, no matter how traumatic, can ever cause anxiety or depression. This is easily demonstrated because every one of us will have to deal with traumatic events during our lives. But not every one of us will become anxious or depressed during these times. The reason why this is so lies in the way people are able to make sense of these events. The events themselves cannot cause anxiety or depression.

For people who don't suffer from depressive illnesses, they will more than likely believe that "depression is just a bad dose of the blues. You just have to snap out of it". Of course, every one of us feels the blues at some point in our lives. We may miss out on a promotion, we break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, a good friend lets us down or we feel down because things aren't going our way. Eventually, these feelings pass and we feel happy again. Depression is totally different, much more complicated than feeling the blues and it certainly isn't something you can just snap out of. If someone says this to you, ignore them, they have no idea what you're going through and don't let them get to you.

Ensure you put your knowledge into action by avoiding the above myths and choosing effective treatments for anxiety and depression.

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