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  • Writer's pictureAmy Kay Cole, PhD

Anxiety is outpacing depression

Updated: Mar 5, 2022

The idea that anxiety is more prevalent than depression should make us pause. After all, depression is alarmingly common. The National Institute of Mental Health found that 16 million adults have at least one major depressive episode each year. That's 7% of the population. What's more alarming is that 18% of adults meet the diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder every year. Over the course of a lifetime, more than 30% of Americans will experience an anxiety disorder. That's a lot of suffering, and Joplin residents are not immune to the effects of stress. Thankfully, there's effective therapy and counseling for excessive anxiety.

For years, psychologists have been studying empirically supported treatments for anxiety. Generalized anxiety, panic disorder, and trauma based anxiety such as PTSD can be effectively treated. Unfortunately, many people struggle with anxiety for years before seeking counseling with a therapist or counselor. One reason people wait so long is they don't know how much anxiety is normal. We thrive on some anxiety. Without it, we would be unlikely to get to work on time, care for our health, or attend to daily chores. Anxiety motivates us to reach our goals. But how much is too much?

If anxious thoughts intrude in your mind during quiet times or pleasurable activities, that's a problem. If you are experiencing panic attacks, that warrants treatment. If you are uncomfortable in the majority of social situations and avoid social contact for fear of rejection, consider pursuing mental health treatment. Counselors and psychologists can make a profound difference in managing anxiety.

However, if you simply feel restless and your anxiety is unpleasant but manageable, consider channeling it productively. Some people exercise. Some people set goals so their energy can be directed to something productive. Read the attached article and give some thought to your current state of anxiety. Harness it's energy or seek treatment if it's at an unmanageable level. Pay attention to yourself and what you are experiencing. Consider setting the goal of reaching your full potential. Photo by Karen Lau on Unsplash

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