The Value of Support When Coping with Depression and Anxiety

Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety keep a person from living a fulfilling life. When people are treated for these conditions, they learn skills for managing stress and daily life that include reaching out to others.

Dangers of Fighting Alone

The Value of Support When Coping with Depression and Anxiety

Managing the ups and downs of mood disorders like anxiety and depression is easier when people stay in contact with others in recovery

A person who struggles with depression or anxiety may have trouble managing stressful situations or dealing with painful memories. Research indicates mental illnesses develop due to a variety of factors including genetics, environment and lifestyle. When a person lives with high stress levels at home or work or is the victim of a violent crime, she may be more likely to develop a mental disorder. Biochemical processes and circuits in the brain also play a part.[1]

Around 16 million American adults experienced a depressive episode in the past year. People with depression experience many symptoms besides ongoing sadness and feelings of hopelessness. The disease also affects sleep, appetite, energy and ability to concentrate.[2] Anxiety disorders are even more common than depression, and 40 million American adults have an anxiety disorder. Symptoms range from emotional reactions that include feelings of dread and apprehension to physical symptoms such as a racing heart, shortness of breath, upset stomach and sweating.[3]

Managing anxiety or depression symptoms alone is a difficult process. It’s easier to forget to take medications or get caught up in a negative thought cycle when no one is around to offer encouragement or support.[4]

Benefits of Community and Support

Too often, people living in recovery from depression or anxiety live in isolation. By joining a support group or reaching out to family and friends, people who have mood disorders improve their life in a variety of ways. Social connections give people a better chance at improving their economic conditions, finding educational opportunities and enjoying a full life of recreational and cultural experiences.[4]

Living in recovery from a mental health disorder requires making changes including getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet. Change is hard for people to accept and hard to achieve. Knowing that other people make the changes necessary to manage depression and anxiety symptoms offers hope. When a person becomes comfortable just thinking about his behavior and assessing it, he’s better able to make decisions about it, according to research published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. Some studies show the steps taken to look at behavior promote the decision-making process. When a person isn’t forced into change but makes decisions about his behavior on his own terms, recovery outcomes are better.[5]

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America encourages people with mood disorders to stay active and reach out to others. The group acknowledges the importance of an individual deciding on her own to make important changes, but the work is easier when people with similar struggles are around to offer advice. Being a part of a support group encourages everyone involved to learn more about mood disorders and keep others accountable for setting and achieving goals. The best and most achievable goals are active ones, which include new actions or new thoughts. Passive goals, such as a goal to end a behavior, are harder to achieve. In addition, active goals promote change at a faster rate. Another important advantage of support groups is the informal discussion period that happens before and after the meeting. These candid talks give people a chance to ask for advice in a less formal or public way.[6]

Need Help Finding Addiction Treatment?

People fight and beat addiction every day. As researchers learn more effective treatments, the outcomes for addiction continue to improve. Learning ways to manage the disease over a lifetime is crucial. There are many techniques proven to make a difference, the final element is making the strategies personal.

If you or a loved one needs help finding addiction treatment, call our admissions coordinators at our toll-free helpline today. We answer questions seven days a week, 24 hours a day to give family members, friends and individuals the necessary information to get well. Reach out today, and learn ways to treat addiction and addictive behaviors.

[1] National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2015). Mental Health Conditions. Retrieved Nov. 1, 2015 from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions.

[2] National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2015). Depression. Retrieved Nov. 1, 2015 from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Depression.

[3] National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2015). Anxiety Disorders. Retrieved Nov. 1, 2015 from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Anxiety-Disorders.

[4] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (July 2, 2015). Peer Support and Social Inclusion. Retrieved Nov. 1, 2015 from http://www.samhsa.gov/recovery/peer-support-social-inclusion.

[5] Shaffer, HJ; Simoneau G. (January 2001). “Reducing resistance and denial by exercising ambivalence during the treatment of addiction.” Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. Retrieved Nov. 1, 2015 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11239735.

[6] Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2010-2015). Start a Support Group. Retrieved Nov. 1, 2015 from http://www.adaa.org/finding-help/getting-support/support-groups/start-support-group.