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Best treatment for depression or anxiety is talk therapy

Kendahl MacLaren

Kendahl MacLaren

Kendahl MacLaren, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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Do not be afraid if you are facing depression or anxiety. You are not alone. Depression and anxiety in young adults and adolescents are increasing at alarming rates.

The prevalence of 12-month MDE (major depression episode) has increased 10 percent in adolescents over the past 10 years, but Cathy Forrest, a limited licensed psychologist in Muskegon said it is important for everyone to know the signs.

“Signs to look for in others and ourselves that may suggest depression or anxiety may include personality changes, particularly involving decreased energy and motivation; social withdrawal; lack of emotional expression; lack of joy; excessive fatigue; low self esteem; excessive worry; panic; self harm; and thoughts of suicide,” she said.

If a student begins to notice these signs, he/she should find help within a trusted individual.

“Students should talk to others, anyone, about how they are not OK,” Forrest said. “Students should go to parents, school counselors, and friends and acknowledge that they need help.”

Although commonly linked together, Forrest said that depression and anxiety are different.

“Anxiety comes from fear; depression comes out of feelings of loss, sadness, despair, hopelessness,” Forrest said. “Each disorder has a very different list of criteria. However, both can have similar symptoms.”

Although it is known that depression and anxiety are not caused by the person dealing with them, there are many theories about what causes these disorders.

“Most believe that there are definitely genetic components to them,” Forrest said. “Sometimes, these are very strong. They can also be a result of learned behaviors. As people grow and develop coping skills, they can learn some that are not helpful in all situations and contribute to the development of mental disorders.”

Along with these causes, Forrest said these disorders can also be developed out of trauma.

“Traumatic experiences are prevalent and can cause people to freeze and become unable to properly cope with life’s stressors,” Forrest said. “Neurotransmitters in the brain can become out of balance and cause depression and anxiety. Nutrition, stress, and trauma can contribute to these imbalances.”

Students with depression or anxiety are encouraged to find someone to talk to about their disorders.

“Psychotherapy or ‘talk therapy’ is a primary treatment method,” said Forrest, who owns her practice called Mind Body Therapy, 255 Seminole Road. “Psychopharmacology is also a treatment for depression and anxiety in addition to therapy.”

Overall, Forrest stresses the importance of getting help.

“Students should push the issue of counseling with their parents so it is taken seriously,” she said. “Asking for therapy should never be dismissed.”

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