Depression and anxiety are by far the most common psychiatric symptoms in this country, and approximately 1 out of 3 people have some kind of significant depression or anxiety during their lifetime. While society has become more aware and accepting of these problems, there is still much misinformation and stigma attached with psychiatric treatment of these problems. Below are some frequently asked questions:

Isn’t it “normal” to get depressed sometimes?

YES – feelings of sadness, worry, guilt, and doubt are all normal emotions. It would be abnormal if we never experienced these feelings in our lifetime. It is sometimes “normal” to experience these feelings for a long period of time, like after the death of a loved one.

However, clinical depression occurs when these types of feelings last for a long time, take up most of the day, and begin to interfere with functioning at work, school, or home. If you are experiencing these feelings for more than 2 weeks and they are starting to interfere with your life, you may want to consult with a psychiatrist who can help you understand your symptoms and decide if you need treatment.

Doesn’t everyone get stressed out sometimes?

YES – there are many situations in which stress causes worry, irritability, and anxiety. However, persistent exposure to stress can be harmful to both your mind and body.

There are many ways to manage stress including exercise, self-help courses, psychotherapy (talking therapy), and medications. If you have tried other therapies and are still feeling frequently stressed out, you might want to consider psychiatric consultation to explore further treatment options.

What is anxiety anyway?

145928340The feeling of anxiety is directly related to the physical response to danger in the environment. When we (or other animals) perceive danger, the body releases chemicals and prepares for “fight or flight”, to stay and “fight’ the danger, or run away and “flight” from the danger.

While this is critical in dangerous situations, these feelings and physical responses can be triggered even when there is no real danger present.

This leads to problems like: generalized anxiety (feeling anxious and worried all the time), panic attacks (a short but intense feeling of extreme anxiety accompanied by physical symptoms like sweating, dizziness, or nausea), social phobia (being anxious and avoiding social situations), or specific phobia (excessive fear of a specific thing like spiders or flying in airplanes). Psychiatrists treat these problems with different types of behavioral therapies and/or medications.

I don’t want to take any medications, so why bother seeing a psychiatrist?

Depression and anxiety can often be successfully treated without medication. Self-help resources or a non-medical psychotherapist are often sufficient to treat the problem. However, a consultation with a psychiatrist can be helpful if you have other medical problems or medications, or if your depression or anxiety are not fully resolved with your current treatment.

CPCH doctors are all trained in multiple forms of psychotherapy including cognitive behavior therapy, supportive psychotherapy, and psychodynamic psychotherapy. We enjoy doing this work, and am happy to work with people who are not interested in medications.

If you would like to schedule an appointment to address your depression or anxiety, please call us at 919-636-5240 option #1 or office@cognitive-psychiatry.com.

 

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