Anxiety is persistent, overwhelming fear and worry. While anxiety keeps us alert and cautious, a prolonged experience of anxiety may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder is diagnosed when symptoms interfere with a person’s ability to fulfill social, academic, work or family responsibilities. Some common anxiety disorders are social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
Stress is a natural response to perceived demands or pressure. While the experience of stress is uncomfortable, stress can be an effective motivator that drives us to prepare, plan or practice for something important. But persistent stress has a toxic effect on physical and emotional health. Studies show stress contributes to high blood pressure, ulcers, asthma, back pain and gastrointestinal problems, as well as depression and anxiety.
It is natural to feel sad, down or blue at times, but depression is a serious mental health condition that affects a person’s ability to fully participate in daily activities. A person with depression may experience persistent sad mood, feelings of emptiness, hopelessness or worthlessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities or suicidal thoughts. There is no single cause of depression. Contributing factors may include family history of depression, a significant life change, such as a birth or a loss, trauma or a medical condition.
Trauma is a psychological and physiological response to an event or series of events that a person experiences as harmful or threatening. Trauma alters one’s sense of safety and impacts emotional, physical, spiritual and social functioning. Trauma may occur when a person is directly involved, witnesses or receives information about a distressing event. Trauma also results from the accumulation of disturbing events, such as teasing, bullying or embarrassing situations.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is an evidence-based therapy that activates healing from traumatic events by changing the way memories are stored in the brain. The therapist guides the client to simultaneously focus on a memory while experiencing bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements or tapping. This activates the brain in the location the memories are stored and accelerates the natural healing process. Along with trauma, EMDR has been proven to successfully treat anxiety, depression and grief.