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What differentiates human beings from the other animals is their ability to express our feelings. While other animals may be able to feel and express some amount of feelings, there is a whole gamut of feelings that humans are capable of expressing.
We are all wired differently, and so the way we respond to situations differs from person to person. Some of the common ones include depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and anger. Let us look deeper into symptoms of these conditions and the ways to manage them.
Depression: There are days when we feel a little low, but those who are depressed feel helpless and hopeless in life. They feel like they are living in a black hole with no light at the end of the tunnel. Getting through each day can be overwhelming for them and theyexperience loss of self-worth, energy, interest, sleep, and appetite. It could be depressing to the extent that the person could feel suicidal.
There is always an underlying reason for depression in terms of family stressors, finances, employment, ill health, etc., and identifying the root cause is the first big step towards managing it. While therapy can be of big help, in some cases, even medication can be used to treat depression. Most people respond well to this combination and can almost get back to leading an enthusiastic and happy life.
Anxiety: People who are anxious are constantly worrying about what is going to happen next. While the future leaves all of us anxious to some extent, people with anxiety are constantly worried, whichgives rise to physical symptoms. The focus of worry and the intensity of it is extremely high, even for small things like keeping up with the doctor’s appointments. Symptoms include excessive worrying, excessive unwarranted fear, jumpiness, inability to cope with daily situations, constant muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, excessive sweating, gastrointestinal ulcers, and cold hands.
Insomnia: One of the major sleep disorders, a person is said to have insomnia if faced with the following situations:
- Inability to fall asleep
- Frequent waking during the night and inability to fall back to sleep
- Rising too early in the morning
- Not waking up fresh after a good night’s sleep
Any of this can lead to reduced energy levels, inability to focus and concentrate, irritability, and general fatigue. For most of these emotional problems, there is always a deep-rooted underlying cause. Identifying this root cause and working on it usually helps solve emotional problems too, which gradually disappears. In most cases, a good therapy session combined with medications can work wonders and get the person to lead a completely normal life. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Psychologist.
Sometimes you may feel like you are observing yourself from outside your body. For most people, this is a passing feeling but for some it can be a persistent feeling. This is known as depersonalization disorder. This dissociative disorder is most common amongst people who have suffered from a traumatic experience. In some cases it may interfere with relationships, work life and other types of daily activities. This disease may also be a sign of other personality disorders, seizures, brain disease or substance abuse.
Observing yourself from the outside is one of the most common signs of depersonalization disorder. Some other symptoms to watch out for are:
- Feeling like you are not in control of your speech or movements
- Feeling like parts of your body have got distorted, enlarged or shrunk
- Feeling like you are a robot
- Emotional numbness
- Physical numbness
- Feeling like your memories are not your own
- Distortions of time
- Distorted understanding of size, distances etc
- Feeling emotionally disconnected from people
- Feeling alienated in familiar surroundings
These episodes can last for hours, days, weeks or months and vary in terms of severity as well. Though the exact cause of this disorder is not known, it may be linked to an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. This makes parts of the brain more vulnerable to stress and fear. Depersonalization can be triggered by a number of factors inlcuding
- Childhood trauma such as witnessing domestic abuse, a recent traumatic experience such as an accident or the unexpected death of a loved one.
- Develop as a result of growing up with a mentally impaired parent.
- The use of Hallucinogens
- Depression, anxiety or other mental disorders
- Seizures of head injuries
- Personality traits that make a person avoid difficult situations
Depersonalization is not a serious disorder on its own, but it can interfere with a person’s daily life. It can also cause difficulties remembering facts and focussing on tasks. It can also interfere with your daily routine activities and relationships.
In most cases, the symptoms go away with time but in some cases, you may need medication. Treatment is usually advised only in cases of recurrent episodes or when the disorder affects daily life and is customized to the patients symptoms. The goal of treatment of depersonalization is to address the stress resulting from the disorder. This treatment could be in the form of medication, family therapy, cognitive therapy, clinical hypnosis or a combination of them. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Psychiatrist.