Definition of Terms

DEPRESSION

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn't a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply "snap out" of.

Symptoms:

• Feelings of sadness, emptiness or unhappiness
• Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
• Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex
• Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
• Tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort
• Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
• Anxiety, agitation or restlessness — for example, excessive worrying, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
• Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
• Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility
• Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
• Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
• Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

ANXIETY

Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. However, people with anxiety disorders frequently have excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks). There are several types of anxiety disorders which have characteristics mentioned below.These feelings of anxiety and panic interfere with daily activities, are difficult to control, are out of proportion to the actual danger and can last a long time. Symptoms may start during childhood or the teen years and continue into adulthood. You feel like you're worrying too much and it's interfering with your work, relationships or other parts of your life.

Symptoms:

• Feeling nervous
• Feeling powerless
• Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
• Having an increased heart rate
• Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
• Sweating
• Trembling
• Feeling weak or tired
• Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry

STRESS

Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the ever-increasing demands of life. In looking at the causes of stress, remember that your brain comes hard-wired with an alarm system for your protection. When your brain perceives a threat, it signals your body to release a burst of hormones to fuel your capacity for a response. This has been labeled the "fight-or-flight" response.

Once the threat is gone, your body is meant to return to a normal relaxed state. Unfortunately, the nonstop stress of modern life means that your alarm system rarely shuts off. That's why stress management is so important. Stress management gives you a range of tools to reset your alarm system. Therapy can be helpful in helping the client to learn tools to manage stress.