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  • Boris Gonzalez Ceja

Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health conditions affecting people worldwide. These conditions can be debilitating and can significantly affect a person’s daily life. However, it is important to note that both anxiety and depression are treatable and can be reversed with proper management.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health of people around the world. Uncertainty, social isolation and economic stress have led to increased levels of anxiety and depression.


After the pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis, it becomes necessary to analyze the problems of social and gender violence that are experienced in our communities, considering the complex psychological problems that have an intimate relationship with the depression and anxiety of migrants and local residents.


In Mexico, statistics show that 50.7 percent of the population have presented symptoms of anxiety, with Puebla, Chiapas and Michoacán among the first places. Just over 15 percent of the population has suffered symptoms of depression, with the highest percentages found in Guerrero, Tabasco, Durango, Zacatecas and Michoacán.


According to the National Survey of Well-being of the INEGI, women are those who present more symptoms of anxiety and depression; however, as mental health professionals, we can affirm that both conditions can be reversed with proper professional psychological care.



Etiology


Anxiety and depression can be multifaceted conditions caused by genetic factors, alterations in brain chemistry, traumatic events, and certain personality traits.

Genetic factors appear to predispose to the development of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD shares a common heritability with major depression and with the personality trait "neuroticism." Other data support that variations in subtypes of the glutamic acid decarboxylasegene increase susceptibility to anxiety, and a higher frequency of the SS genotype of the region polymorphic gene linked to the serotonin transporter gene in individuals with GAD.


In addition, genetic-environmental studies have highlighted the importance of early developmental traumas and recent stressful life events and their interaction with genetic markers in the development of GAD and sensitivity to anxiety. Traumatic events, such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, or a job loss, can trigger symptoms of these conditions. Similarly, chronicstress, such as financial problems or a demanding job, can also lead to the development of anxiety or depression.


Certain personality traits, for example, people who are perfectionists, critical of themselves or tend to worry excessively may be more likely to develop anxiety. On the other hand, people who have a tendency to ruminate or feel despondent or hopeless may be more likely to develop depression.



The Effects of Technology on Adolescent Mental Health


Adolescent mental health is a growing concern, and the impact of technology on well-being is a major focus. Excessive use of technology, especially social media, has been linked to negative effects on young people's mental health. Studies highlight how heavy social media use can increase symptoms of anxiety and depression, fueled by comparisons to others and the fear of missing out. In addition, cyberbullying and online harassment exacerbate mental health challenges in the digital age.


Overuse of technology disrupts sleep, physical health, and mental well-being. Constant connectivity and information overload lead to stress and anxiety. Moderation and mindful use of technology are key to teens' mental health. Balancing screen time with physical activity, face-to-face interactions, and hobbies promotes overall well-being.


Addressing the challenges posed by technology requires a comprehensive approach involving diverse stakeholders. Parents, educators, mental health professionals and policy makers must collaborate to promote digital literacy, critical thinking skills and responsible online behavior. Educational initiatives and awareness campaigns about the potential risks of excessive technology use can help teens develop healthier habits and informed decisions.



Signs and symptoms


The signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression can vary from person to person, but there are some common symptoms that may indicate that a person is suffering from these conditions.


Symptoms of anxiety include excessive worry, muscle tension, tremor, sweating, palpitations, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, and lack of appetite.


Symptoms of depression include sadness, apathy, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, tiredness, difficulty to concentrate, feelings of worthlessness and thoughts of death or suicide.



Treatment


Once a patient has been diagnosed with anxiety or depression, the next step is to determine, based on clinical assessment of severity, the degree of distress or impairment. and patient preferences, whether treatment of the disorder is necessary. The main goal of treatment is to reduce anxiety symptoms and thus improve functioning. In addition, treatment may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that focuses on helping people identify and change the negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their symptoms. CBT can also help people develop skills to manage stress and anxiety. Interpersonal therapy can also be helpful in treating depression, as it focuses on helping people improve their relationships and resolve emotional issues.


Medication can also be effective in treating anxiety and depression. Antidepressants are the most common medications used to treat depression and anxiolytics for anxiety management. It is important to note that the medication may take several weeks to take effect and that the dose may need to be adjusted or medication changed if symptoms do not improve.


Other strategies that can help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression include:

· Exercise regularly: Exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals that help improve mood. In addition, exercise helps reduce stress and improves sleep quality.

· Practice relaxation techniques: Meditation, deep breathing, and yoga are some of the relaxation techniques that can help reduce anxiety and depression.

· Sleep hygiene: Lack of sleep can aggravate symptoms of anxiety and depression, so it's important to make sure you get enough sleep each night.

· Maintain a balanced diet

· Avoiding alcohol and drug use

· Maintain a support network through friends and family



What should I do if I have Symptoms of Anxiety or Depression?


The first thing we should know is that both conditions are a response to external factors such as violence, work, school or issues in relationships; Although they can also be due to internal factors such as frustrations, unfulfilled desires or unfulfilled goals.


If you have symptoms such as continuous sadness, fear without apparent explanation, do not find meaning in your life, experience panic to loneliness, among other negative emotions, it is necessary that analyze the possible causes, immediately expel negative thoughts by learning social-emotional skills and seek activities that at some point have made you feel good.


It is important that, if symptoms of anxiety and depression persist, you seek psychological attention. At the Mexican Association of Psychology and Community Development we provide services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in Mexico and in the United States.



Resources:

· Unipolar depression in adults

· Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., & Lewis, R. F. (2015). Frequent use of social networking sites is associated with poor psychological functioning in children and adolescents. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networks, 18(7), 380-385.

· Perloff, R. M. (2014). The effects of social media on young women's body image concerns: Theoretical perspectives and a research agenda. Gender Roles, 71(11-12), 363-377.

· Woods, H. C., & Scott, H. (2016). # Sleepyteens: Social media use in adolescence is associated with poor sleep quality, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Journal of Adolescence, 51, 41-49.

· Przybylski, A. K., & Weinstein, N. (2017). A large-scale test of the Goldilocks hypothesis: Quantifying the relationships between digital screen use and adolescent mental well-being. Psychological Science, 28(2), 204-215.



Written by Boris González Ceja, May 11th of 2022 (Pacific Medical Training)

https://svca.mx/ansiedad-depresión


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