Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness in the United States, with 40 million adults being affected. Depression affects an estimated 15 million American adults.
When you are struggling with anxiety and depression it can make it hard just to get through the day, let alone find your purpose and fulfillment in life. While everyone experiences worry and sadness, these feelings can become very overwhelming and affect how you engage with people and situations.
Therapy is a beneficial treatment option for anxiety and depression, as it focuses on your thoughts, feelings and issues that are happening in the now. In some cases, exploring your past can clarify your emotions in the present and prepare you for your future. It is not uncommon to experience anxiety and depression together, in fact nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Medications can assist in the process of dealing with anxiety and depression, but what happens when that does not feel like enough, or you do not feel comfortable taking them?
Our world is ever-changing and causing all of us a great deal of worry, stress, anxiety, and depression.
During the current pandemic, depression and anxiety continue to be on the rise, with parents bearing a tremendous burden. Current statistics indicate that 8 out of 10 adults say the pandemic has been a significant stressor on the mind and body. Further statistics reported by the American Psychiatric Association show that almost half of all adults indicate that their behaviors have been affected by stress, anxiety, and depression.
Depression and Anxiety in Children
Our children are also affected by anxiety and depression, with approximately 4.4 million children diagnosed with anxiety and 1.9 million diagnosed with depression. Children are feeling the changes in the world, and they struggle with the isolation of being out of school and away from their friends.
Children may also struggle with separation disorder, phobias (such as a fear of dogs), social anxiety as they enter school, and general anxiety with worries about bad things happening. Children demonstrate anxiety and depression differently from adults, as they do not have the words to explain what they feel, thus they may present as irritable and angry with issues such as lack of sleep, fatigue, and stomach aches.
Treatment Options for Depression and Anxiety
Along with talk therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), narrative therapy, and solutions-focused therapy, an additional treatment for anxiety and depression is called cranial electrical stimulation (CES) via a device called the Alpha-Stim. CES has been used by the Veteran’s Association as an addition to therapy for individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and insomnia.
Cranial Electrical Stimulation (CES)
Cranial electrical stimulation (CES) is a treatment option that most people are not aware of, even though it was developed in Europe in 1954. The Unites States explored the technology as early as the 1960s, with increased interest in the early 21st century. Research conducted through the 1970s and 80s returned favorable results, with the FDA granting clearance for CES to be used in talk therapy treatment.
CES can aid in the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma, PTSD, addiction, and sleep issues for those not in the military as well. CES is a non-invasive method of applying a low-intensity electrical current to the head by placing small clips to the ear lobes to work with the body’s electrical system.
The purposes of the treatment are to reduce the reliance on medications for diagnoses such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, and addictions, and to improve physiological pain.
The Alpha-Stim device that is used in my practice was developed by Dr. Daniel Kirsch in 1979. The Alpha-Stim is based upon the waveform that is put out by our healthy nerve tissue for the purpose of decreasing cortical activity and cerebral spinal fluid. CES treatment increases serotonin and beta-endorphins in the central nervous system.
EEG studies show that CES decreases the delta waves (deep sleep) and increases the alpha waves that are associated with meditation and the first stage of sleep to lead to a sense of alert but calm energy, clear-headedness, and wellbeing. The initial CES session lasts 20 minutes to ensure the client can engage in future treatment. Subsequent CES sessions take 60 minutes each with talk therapy and relaxation techniques practice with total session lasting an hour and a half.
Heart Rate Variability
Another way to reduce anxiety and depression is by addressing the heart rate variability. The heart rate variability creates the connection between our head and heart which aids in the treatment of anxiety disorders, addiction, and personality disorders, as well as helping the client reach peak performance.
Heart rate variability is the science of interconnectivity, allowing the brain and the heart to work more effectively. The tool used to achieve this is called HeartMath, a program that focus on improving the brain and heart functioning to address issues such as burnout, job stress, anxiety, stress, feelings of being overwhelmed, sleeplessness, and lack of energy.
As we go about our daily routines and responsibilities, we do not think it is possible that we might wear ourselves out. Our activities in the community, engagement in work, keeping up with social networking, and our online presence can wear us out – yet we keep going.
From time to time, taking a pause is necessary to move forward in a thoughtful manner. Hindsight allows us to see points in our day that if we had taken a moment to pause, we could have prevented some of our stress.
Despite our best efforts, we fail to pause before releasing an angry response to an email because we are working on autopilot. Through the head and heart connection, we can pause to feel our heart’s suggestions that have the possibility of preventing energy-draining impasses with our peers.
It is possible to proactively avoid repeating these uncomfortable situations and misgivings. The practice of pausing and presenting a calm presence has become more acceptable in recent years as it applies to self-care practices.
Sometimes days off and vacations are insufficient to avoid fatigue, physical exhaustion, or even burnout in the workplace and it can feel impossible to keep up the pace. HearthMath can aid the client’s in learning to re-energize, rejuvenate, and raise their resilience. Resiliency is the capacity to prepare for, recover from and adapt in the face of stress, adversity, trauma, and tragedy.
HeartMath offers the resilient individual the ability to bounce back and recuperate more rapidly after a long week of work, challenging situations, or illness. Research shows that there are two forms of self-care that aid people who are experiencing burnout or fatigue. These methods include creating more heart-rhythm coherence and self-regulation of our emotions.
Heart-rhythm coherence has also shown to improve parenting skills, as it teaches parents how to regulate their emotions during moments of increased stress and frustration. Heart-rhythm also benefits children as young as 3 all the way up to teens ages 13-18 and beyond.
Children between the ages of 2 and 6 have a beautiful and unique way of looking at the world. HeartMath allows these youngsters the ability to start developing socio-emotional skills, which has shown to improve future academic success, relationships, and self-image.
Children in elementary school form habits and attitudes that can last the rest of their lives. HearthMath aids the elementary school kiddo in understanding and self-regulating their emotions to further their ability to learn socio-emotional skills early to improve behavior, and academic performance and eventually succeed at home, school, and play.
HeartMath has worked hard to understand the time of adolescence and supports our kids in maintaining a healthy, curious, and genuinely happy child into adolescence. This technology smooths the transitions from high school to college by helping to improve stability and promoting extra confidence and energy.
Christian Counseling for Mental Health
It is important to recognize how the brain and body work together and how being out of sync with ourselves can cause increased stress and major feelings of being overwhelmed. With the implementation of electrical cranial stimulation (CES) and HeartMath, the potential to address anxiety and depression as well as other mental health concerns increases substantially.
If you would like to explore treatment options for anxiety and depression or other mental health issues, feel free to contact me to schedule an appointment.
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