Getting to Know Depression and Anxiety
A Namibian driven company, the Bel Esprit Clinic, is about to open in Windhoek with a view to empowering Namibians regarding their mental health. Through in- and out-patient services for a broad spectrum of mental health disorders, this clinic will offer holistic and multi-disciplinary teams and treatment, bringing hope and healing to Namibians when talking mental health.
Part of that multi-disciplinary team is Ellen Nghikembua, an intern Psychological Counsellor, and Donnè Lance, a Clinical Psychologist, who have prepared this short guide for us on understanding Depression and Anxiety.
“According to The World Health Organisation, depression has surpassed diabetes, heart disease, cancer and even war as the leading cause of disability worldwide. Research statistics show that 1 in 4 people are affected by mental illness, with depression and accompanying anxiety symptoms often being the common reason people seek help.”
Bel Esprit will be holding a Mental Health Awareness Day on the 22nd of September 2017 from 11am – 6pm. For more information about this, find their contact details below.
Getting to Know Depression and Anxiety by Ellen Nghikembua and Donnè Lance
Depression and anxiety are among some of the most pressing issues encountered by mental health professionals in Namibia, and throughout the World. According to The World Health Organisation (WHO), depression has surpassed diabetes, heart disease, cancer and even war as the leading cause of disability worldwide. Research statistics show that 1 in 4 people are affected by mental illness, with depression and accompanying anxiety symptoms often being the common reason people seek help.
“It can be likened to a heavy, dark cloud, a veil that doesn’t seem to lift, and affects people from all backgrounds.”
Depression and anxiety can be debilitating for the sufferer. It affects physical functioning, cognitive (thinking), social and occupational areas of a person’s life. It can be likened to a heavy, dark cloud, a veil that doesn’t seem to lift, and affects people from all backgrounds.
Symptoms of Depression
Those suffering from depression experience feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness. It is characterised by devastating low mood, feeling of sadness and irritability. Other symptoms include, fatigue, changes in sleep and appetite and associated weight gain or weight loss. Cognitive effects include; difficulty in concentrating and remembering, which is often described as a foggy brain. In the midst of depression people find themselves withdrawing and isolating themselves, which further perpetuates the depressive episode.
“While medication manages symptoms, it does not necessarily offer a cure and often people need to continue using medication for as long as the condition persists which can be lifelong.”
Symptoms of Anxiety
Often accompanying depression is anxiety. Although they often occur together, not everyone with depression experiences an anxiety disorder and vice versa. Symptoms of anxiety include excessive worry and apprehension about future events. The anxiety is usually directed towards oneself or extreme concern about a loved one. People experiencing anxiety are often hyper vigilant, they are very aware of their surroundings and are often easily startled. Other symptoms include fear, panic, heart palpitations, chest pain and excessive sweating. People often describe the feeling as: “going crazy” or “losing their mind”. These feelings are known as dissociative symptoms.
While medication manages symptoms, it does not necessarily offer a cure and often people need to continue using medication for as long as the condition persists which can be lifelong. Medication also has unpleasant side effects and is often the reason people will stop using medication, and relapse. It is important to discuss medication and the side-effects with your GP or psychiatrist.
“While medication aims to manage the symptoms, therapy aims to work through the trauma and manage stressors to reduce the effect of the symptoms, manage relapse and promote positive mental health.”
The Role of Counselling or Therapy
In addition to medication, counselling and psychotherapy are an important part of an effective treatment plan. A trained counsellor or psychologist can provide professional assistance in the form of talk-therapy in a non-judgemental way. Through effective problem-solving interventions or interpersonal therapy, the therapist and client work together to identify strengths and resources to facilitate change. The aim is to enhance functioning and effective coping strategies in an effort to understand and heal the source of depression and manage the experience of anxiety. While most people who suffer from anxiety and depression tend to have a biological predisposition (meaning a predetermined vulnerability) the onset of these disorders are most often triggered by some environmental stressor, such as trauma or ongoing stress.
While medication aims to manage the symptoms, therapy aims to work through the trauma and manage stressors to reduce the effect of the symptoms, manage relapse and promote positive mental health. The therapeutic relationship is an intimate one, although professional. One size does not fit all, thus it is important to seek the right professional where there is a “good fit” in order to collaborate, and support healing and change.
For more information on Bel Esprit, visit their website by clicking here
Alternatively, contact them on (061) 455 0945 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Or stay logged in to the 99FM website as we share more from this new clinic in next week’s MYD Heart.