Anxiety & Depression
Anxiety and depression are extremely common public health problems that are at epidemic levels in the United States—according to the National Institutes of Health, they affect 38 million Americans each year. Additionally, twice that number (75 million) will suffer from an anxiety or depressive illness during some point in their lives. The loss to our society from these illnesses is staggering: individual pain, family strife, school and relationship failure, lost work productivity, and death. People actively seek out a cure for anxiety and depression, and are put on prescription medications that can harm them in other ways.
Our work and the research of many others have demonstrated that anxiety and depression are brain illnesses, not the result of weakness or flawed personalities.
Common symptoms of depression and anxiety are:
Headaches and stomach aches
Irregular sleep and appetite habits
Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness
Untreated anxiety and/or depression affect nearly every aspect of a person's life and has been associated with:
Failure to reach potential at school or work
Withdrawal from social activities
Lack of interest in things the person used to be enthusiastic about
Legal and criminal problems
Typically, doctors prescribe anti-anxiety medications, such as Xanax, or antidepressant medications, such as Prozac or Lexapro, to treat anxiety and depression. While these medications are helpful for many people, they also make symptoms much worse for other people. The side effects of these medications can be extreme, and include hallucinations, violent outbursts, volatile tempers, psychosis, and suicidal behavior.