What Is The Link Between Smoking And Mental Health Conditions
Smoking is much more common among adults with mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, than in the general population.6 About 3 out of every 10 cigarettes smoked by adults in the United States are smoked by persons with mental health conditions.6 Why smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions is uncertain. More research is needed to determine this. No matter the cause smoking is not a treatment for depression or anxiety. Getting help for your depression and anxiety and quitting smoking is the best way to feel better.
Textbox module not selected or not found.
Can Happy Events Cause Stress
Some of the situations listed above are often thought of as happy events for example, you might feel expected to be happy or excited about getting married or having a baby.
But because they can bring big changes or make unusual demands on you, they can still be very stressful. This can be particularly difficult to deal with, because you might feel there’s additional pressure on you to be positive.
“I’ve never been more stressed in my life than the 6 months leading up to my wedding… everyone kept asking me if I was happy and expecting me to be excited all the time, but I just couldn’t feel it. I ended up getting really ill.”
How To Get A Clinical Diagnosis
Theres no single test that can diagnose depression or anxiety. Instead, your doctor will likely conduct a physical exam and a depression or anxiety screening test. For this, theyll ask you a series of questions that help them get a better insight into what youve been experiencing.
If the results arent clear or if your doctor suspects the symptoms may be the result of another condition, they may order tests to rule out underlying issues. Blood tests can check your thyroid, vitamin, and hormone levels.
In some cases, general practitioners will refer you to a mental health expert, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, if they dont feel equipped to properly manage your symptoms and conditions or if they suspect youre experiencing more than one condition.
Although depression and anxiety are two separate conditions, they share many of the same treatments. A combination of these may be used to treat both conditions at the same time.
Recommended Reading: How To Manage Stress Eating
What Makes Us Stressed
Many things that can lead to stress: bereavement, divorce or separation, losing a job or unexpected money problems. Work-related stress can also have a negative impact on your mental health. People affected by work-related stress lose an average of 24 days of work due to ill health.
Even positive life changes, such as moving to a bigger house, gaining a job promotion or going on holiday can be sources of stress. If you feel stressed in these situations you may struggle to understand why or be unwilling to share your feelings with others.
Write About Your Feelings
Writing about your experiences can be therapeutic. It can help you to make sense of what you are feeling and can be a way to release all the pent-up emotions that you may be holding onto. Writing can also help you to see things from a different perspective and can give you a way to express yourself when you may not be able to do so verbally.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by emotions, it may be helpful to set aside some time each day to write. You can write in a journal, blog, or even just on a piece of paper. There is no right or wrong way to do it, just let the words flow out however they need to.
Also Check: Can Stress Cause Anxiety Attacks
Should I Be Getting Screened Regularly For Colon Cancer Or Other Gi Tract Cancers
As of 2021, the United States Preventative Services Task Force and major GI medical societies recommend that adults at average risk for colorectal cancer are regularly screened beginning at age 45.
People who have a family history of colorectal cancer or other GI tract cancers, including stomach or pancreas cancer, or a history of GI conditions like inflammatory bowel disease may need routine cancer screening earlier than age 45.
Read Also: How To Lower Stress At Work
Causes Of Anxiety And Depression
Anxiety and depression are very common causes. Anxiety is a feeling of worry that may cause extreme worry, difficulty sleeping, weight loss, headaches, stomachaches, and other problems.
- Due to a phobia, such as in crowded places, facing people, high swings, etc.
- In some people, this defensive alarm system is inherited.
- Bitter events or accidents that occur in the childhood and adolescence of some people also cause this panic disorder.
- This component of the defense system also becomes more sensitive due to the level of stress and overstresses found in the lives of some people.
- Fear of being caught before or during a crime also leads to this condition.
- After a long illness.
Don’t Miss: How To Reduce Teenage Stress
The Link Between Stress And Depression And The 10 Simple Words That Could Help
Neurological insights into how the brain processes stress, and how it can develop into depression, have led to new interventions
Its a damp, midweek afternoon. Even so, Cardiffs walk-in stress management course has pulled in more than 50 people. There are teenagers, white-haired older people with walking aids, people from Caucasian, Asian and Middle Eastern backgrounds. There is at least one pair who look like a parent and child Im unsure who is there to support whom.
The course instructor makes it clear that she is not going to ask people to speak out about their own stress levels in this first class: We know speaking in public is stressful in itself. She tells us a bit about previous attendees: a police officer whose inexplicable and constant worrying prevented him from functioning a retired 71-year-old unable to shake the incomprehensible but constant fatigue and sadness that blighted his life a single mother unable to attend her daughters school concert, despite the disappointment it would cause.
What is the common theme that links these people and the varied group sitting there this afternoon and listening?
Stress may once just have been a kind of executive trophy Im so stressed! but recent research suggests it is a key element in developing mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
Ten words. Three simple instructions. But, given enough time, sometimes thats all it takes to make significant changes.
What Happens In The Brain With Depression
Many people believe that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Experts explain that depression is far more complex and that it is unproductive to think of depression as a brain disease that is primarily biological.
Instead, depression can be viewed as a behavioral shutdown in response to overwhelmingly negative situations in which you have little personal control, lack resources for dealing with them, and have little comfort in the way of social support. The response is reflected in many operations of the brain, such as difficulty with memory, sluggishness of thinking, inability to feel pleasure, loss of appetite and interest in sex, and heightened perception of pain.
Neuroimaging studies indeed show changes in brain function among depressed people, and they are generally associated with impairments of connectivity among brain areas that normally work together. Studies also show that such changes are reversible as depression lifts.
You May Like: Can Stress Make You Lose Hair
Are There Risk Factors For Depression
While genetics is believed to confer some susceptibility, there is no single gene or set of genes implicated so far, it appears that a very large number of geneslikely modifiable by diet or behavioreach contributes a very tiny degree of vulnerability that could precipitate depression under conditions of stress. People can also be at risk of depression because of their personality attributes, particularly if they have a tendency to worry a lot, have low self-esteem, are perfectionists, are sensitive to personal criticism, or are self-critical and negative. Of the Big Five personality dimensions, the one most consistently associated with depression susceptibility is the trait of neuroticism. It denotes the degree to which the negative affect system is readily activated. People high in trait neuroticism are inclined to find experiences distressing, to worry, and to doubt themselves disproportionate to the circumstances they are in. In addition, studies indicate that women are at especially high risk for depression after divorce and men are at high risk following following financial, occupational, or legal problems.
Disconnection From Past Trauma
It may seem counterintuitive to deem disconnection from past trauma as one of the causes of depression and anxiety: If youre not thinking about the terrible things that happened to you, shouldnt you be happy? However, trauma affects us in powerful ways, many of which operate subconsciouslyin other words, just because youre not thinking or talking about the trauma doesnt mean its not still impacting your life and contributing to depression, even decades later. Childhood trauma is one of the most reliable predictors of adult depression, and fully processing that trauma by facing it head-on is a powerful way to begin healing depression.
Scientists still dont know exactly how childhood trauma causes adult depression, but Hari has his own theory based on the fact that people who experienced trauma as a child often irrationally blame themselves for what happened. He argues that this impulse starts out as a coping mechanismwhen kids experience trauma, blaming themselves is a way of taking back control. In the short term, that sense of control is a reliefespecially when the alternative is feeling totally powerless in a big, scary worldbut in the long run, the false idea that the trauma was their fault and that they deserved what happened creates a deep emotional wound.
You May Like: Does Stress Cause Atrial Fibrillation
Studies With Rats And Humans Reveal How Chronic Stress Can Result In A Depression
It is well known that chronic stress can provoke a depression. Through studies with rats and humans, researchers have now discovered a possible explanation for the phenomenon.
The rat studies showed that stress reduces the brains innate ability to keep itself healthy. As a result, the hippocampus a vital part of the brain shrinks, impacting negatively on both our short-term memory function and our learning abilities.
This gives us a good model for explaining why depression is so widespread in our modern, stressed society, says Ove Wiborg, an associate professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Centre for Psychiatric Research, at Aarhus University Hospital, who led the study.
Unpredictability is stressful
The researchers were allowed to use rats in their research because they could document that rats react to stress in the same way as humans.
Why Are Rates Of Depression Rising
Depression rates are rising especially among the young. While the lifetime risk of depression is approximately 20 percent, for the general population the highest rates currently occur among young adults, those between the ages of 18 and 29, while individuals over 65 have the lowest rates.
Experts cite several reasons why the young are especially susceptible. They range from social factors, such as decreasing availability of meaningful work, to individual factors, such as lack of coping skills due to overprotective parenting. Cultural factors figure in, too. An increased concern with safety and decreased tolerance for risk has curtailed the opportunities children have for free play, in which children experience joy, gain friends and learn social skills, and discover how to exercise control over their own life.
Don’t Miss: Why Am I Stressing Over Nothing
What The Expert Says
A depressed person is compromised in dealing with problematic situations, says Stacey Stickley, a licensed professional counselor practicing in Ashburn, Virginia. When a person is dealing with depression, things may seem more negative than they really are. Events that would have been taken in stride may seem more problematic or impossible to handle. The idea of taking action on things may require more of a persons resources, resources that are already compromised due to the depression.
Talk to your doctor about pharmacological options, or go talk to a counselor about evaluating and managing your symptoms, she says. Dont wait. Being proactive is important so you can maybe stop the downward slide sooner. Its easier to climb out of a shallow hole than one you have been slowly digging and tunneling into for several months.
How To Prevent Stress From Morphing Into Depression
Understanding the psychological mechanisms of how stress can lead to depression can help you prevent it. This is especially important for people who have had a prior episode of depression and would like to prevent relapse.
Stress has direct effects on mood. Early initial symptoms of lowered mood can include irritability, sleep disruption, and cognitive changes, such as impaired concentration. However, the indirect effects of stress are often what causes depression to take hold.
1. Stress disrupts a persons healthy coping strategies.
When people experience stress, they often stop engaging in some of the healthy coping strategies that usually help keep their mood on track. In other words, when stress triggers a lowered mood, it’s more likely that the person will skip their typical healthy mood regulation strategiesresulting in further mood problems.
Example: Stress at work can lead to overworking as a result, the person doesnt go to yoga class, go running, read before bed, or catch up with close friends as much.
2. Early initial low mood symptoms generate further stress.
When a person is stressed and begins to experience some initial changes in their mood, these symptoms often generate further increased stress.
- the person has an irritable outburst at work and gets a complaint
- impaired concentration results in a mistakeeither a major mistake or just a small mistake, like leaving something important at home
You May Like: How To Relieve Stress And Tension
What Kind Of Situations Can Cause Stress
Stress can be caused by a variety of different common life events, many of which are difficult to avoid. For example:
“My breakdown was due to having a stressful job as a project manager and dealing with a marriage break up and subsequent divorce.”
Other Ways That Stress Can Cause Depression
Humans are social animals, and we’re more likely to experience depression when we don’t have strong social bonds. As a result, any stress that wears away at our social bonds can contribute to depression.
That is part of the reason that other mental health issues can cause depression. It may seem unfair, but it’s true. It’s called a comorbid condition or a co-occurring condition. Conditions that have high comorbidity with depression include anxiety, autism, and alcoholism.
Anxiety and autism can contribute to depression because they can make it harder for the individual to feel connected with those around them. Further, imbalances of a chemical messenger in the brain called serotonin can cause both anxiety and depression.
Getting Help with Stress and Depression
If you are diagnosed with depression and or anxiety, your doctor can prescribe you medications that can help you to manage symptoms of both conditions – or reduce the likelihood of your developing the other condition.
Your doctor may also recommend talk therapy. Depending on your case, your opinions, and your ability to pay, you may skip talk therapy as part of your treatment, use talk therapy in addition to medication, or use talk therapy without using medication. All are valid options, but people who use talk therapy with medication often have the best results.
Also Check: What To Do When You Feel Stressed And Depressed
Other Causes Of Depression
There are a number of things that can lead to developing depression.
- Stressful events big changes in your life, like bereavement, the end of a relationship or the loss of a job, can be difficult to deal with. When these things happen, it’s important to keep seeing friends and family instead of trying to deal with problems alone this increases your risk of developing depression.
- Giving birth pregnancy and birth can make some people vulnerable to depression. Postnatal depression can happen as the result of physical changes, hormonal changes, and the responsibility of taking care of a new baby.
- Loneliness your risk of depression gets higher if you aren’t in contact or spending time with family and friends.
- Personality some personality traits can put you at a higher risk of developing depression. These include low-self esteem or a habit of criticising yourself too much. These personality traits can come from your genes, which you get from your parents, or they can be as a result of experiences in your early life.
- Family history it’s more likely for someone to develop depression if a family member, like a sibling or parent, has experienced it before.
Disconnection From Positive Social Status
Not all forms of in-person connections are helpfulif your social status is low or threatened, interaction with others can actually make depression worse. Surprisingly, the first researchers to study this effect werent psychologists or sociologiststhey were primatologists studying the social hierarchies of baboons in Kenya. Monkeys and apes are humankinds closest evolutionary cousins, and like us, they live in social communities. Studying those groups gives researchers a chance to watch social relationships play out in a much more concentrated way than they can when studying human communities.
Read Also: What To Do About Stress Hives
Symptoms Of Gerd And Anxiety
GERD and anxiety can cause a number of different symptoms, though there are a few that both conditions seem to have in common.
GI issues, such as heartburn, nausea, and stomach pain are common symptoms of both conditions. Another symptom common in both is globus sensation, which is the painless feeling of a lump in your throat or a tightening or choking sensation.
People who experience globus sensation also often have hoarseness, a chronic cough, or a persistent need to clear their throat, which are also common symptoms caused by GERD and acid reflux.
Disrupted sleep is also a common symptom of both conditions. Acid reflux may be worse when lying down, which can cause you to wake up often. Anxiety affects your sleep pattern and can make it hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Other symptoms of GERD include:
- chest pain
- regurgitation of sour liquid or food
Other symptoms of anxiety include:
- feeling restless or nervous
- a sense of impending doom or danger
- rapid heartrate
- difficulty controlling worry
- chest tightening or pain
Both conditions can cause chest pain and other symptoms that are also symptoms of a heart attack. Call 911 if you have chest pain, especially if it is accompanied by shortness of breath or arm or jaw pain.
Treating GERD and anxiety may require a combination of medications for both conditions, though acid-suppressing drugs commonly used to treat GERD have been found to be less effective in people whose symptoms are related to anxiety.