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What Is the Difference Between Anxiety and Depression?

Do You Feel Anxious or Depressed?

Do You Feel Anxious or Depressed?It’s no surprise people often wonder about the difference between anxiety and depression because many people who suffer from anxiety also suffer from depression, and vice versa. The two mental conditions frequently overlap, and in certain instances, the medication prescribed or treatment used to address one will also be helpful with the other.

Anxiety and Depression  — The Differences

In a Psychology Today article, Gregg Henriques, Ph.D. describes anxiety and depression as negative emotional-mood states.


Anxiety is a reaction to a perceived threat or potential loss, and it prepares you to take defensive action.

Perhaps a situation has arisen that is similar to one in the past. For example, let’s say you are middle aged and find yourself in the dating world again after a recent divorce. Dating made you anxious as a young adult, and that familiar anxiety is now rearing its fearful head again. Or, perhaps you are interviewing for a new job. Job interviews always made you nervous because if the interview didn’t go well, you might not get the job. Your nerves are frazzled, your palms are sweating, and you momentarily have a slight stutter as you answer the interviewer’s questions.

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, and certain situations may stand out as obvious triggers. However, what if you feel anxious, but there seem to be no stressors in your life and you’re baffled about why you feel anxious? Or, what if some days have passed and your anxiety won’t go away?

It might be time to speak with a psychotherapist and get some help.


In contrast with anxiety, depression is a not so much a state of worry and defense against something threatening. It feels more like a state of emotional shutdown. Yes, the threat or loss might exist, but depression makes you lose interest in life or people, and makes you feel sad, angry or worthless. You want to withdraw from life.

Again, everyone has days where they feel blue or down, but the kind of depression being discussed here is of a longer lasting variety. You may want to crawl into your bed and sleep for weeks. Feelings of lethargy sap all your energy, and daily tasks or speaking with people appears overwhelming.

If these descriptions of anxiety or depression sound familiar, we have counselors at Affordable Therapy Los Angeles, who can work with you. We’ll help you identify the source of your anxiety or depression. Gaining insight through treatment can assist you in relieving this problem.

Luke Perry Dies at 52 of Massive Stroke

Image result for luke perryLuke Perry dying of a massive stroke shocked many people. He was a beloved actor known for his roles in 90210 and more recently in the series Riverdale. It is hard to believe someone at the age of 52 would die of a stroke, especially when no outward cause seemed to exist.

While strokes are more prevalent among seniors, according to WebMD, as many as 10% of all strokes in the United States happen to people under the age of 45. High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and cigarette smoking are often risk factors for strokes in younger people. Also it is vital to eliminate stress and hostility in your life, because research shows these factors can raise blood pressure.

Yet, these factors also put people of any age at risk.

Take Care of Your Health

While none of the usual risk factors seemed apparent in the death of Luke Perry, his untimely death has made people more aware of their health. Busy business people are often in a rush and do not take care of themselves. All too often high demands lead to putting yourself last and your health can suffer for it. It’s wise to live a healthy lifestyle.

Stroke Prevention — Actions You Can Take

According to Harvard Medical School, the following actions can help you avoid a stroke:

  • Quit smoking. Smoking thickens the blood and increases plaque buildup in the arteries. These two factors make smokers more prone to developing blood clots, which is what causes strokes.
  • Lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is the greatest contributor but there are ways of treating high blood pressure. Doctors suggest reducing salt intake, avoiding high cholesterol foods, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and getting exercise to lower blood pressure. Also, smokers should quit smoking.

Quit smoking. Smoking thickens the blood and increases plaque buildup in the arteries. These two factors make smokers more prone to developing blood clots, which is what causes strokes.

Lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is the greatest contributor but there are ways of treating high blood pressure. Doctors suggest reducing salt intake, avoiding high cholesterol foods, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and getting exercise to lower blood pressure. Also, smokers should quit smoking.

  • Lose weight. Obesity is often related to high blood pressure and diabetes, and these two factors alone can put someone at risk. The best way to lose weight is to reduce calorie intake and increase exercise.
  • Drink only in moderation. Drinking one alcoholic beverage a day may lower risk, but drinking two or more drinks a day increases the risk. Wine should be the first choice of alcohol because it contains a substance thought to protect the heart and brain. Beverage sizes would be five ounces for a glass of wine, a 12-ounce beer and a 1.5 ounce glass of hard liquor.
  • Exercise. Moderate exercise at least five days a week helps reduce blood pressure and keeps you fit. The recommended exercise time is 30 minutes a day. If you can’t do it in one stretch, you can divide the time into 10 or 15-minute intervals.
  • Treat physical conditions. If you have diabetes, you should receive treatment. Diabetes can harm blood vessels, which can eventually put you at risk for blood clots. Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) is also very important to treat because it can lead to blood clots.

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What Do Marriage Counseling and Divorce Mediation Have in Common?


Marriage Counseling: Divorce Mediation

Marriage counseling and divorce mediation are both tools to resolve conflict, and in some instances, couples counseling can salvage a marriage. However, even when couples can’t reconcile, which New York law calls an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage,” they have options for deciding what form their divorce will take. Divorce can become an adversarial legal battle, dragging on in the legal system, or it can become a comparatively timely and amicable resolution obtained through mediation, negotiated settlement or some other type of alternative dispute resolution technique.

You may wonder, if you can’t get along with your spouse during marriage, why even try during divorce or after your divorce is final? A marriage counselor or therapist will tell you that unresolved conflict is emotionally damaging and can even impact your health. However, those most vulnerable to the effects of parental conflict are typically the children.

ABC News reported in a recent article that Dr. Gordon Harold, a researcher at Cardiff University in Wales, advises parents arguing in front of children to do so with caution because it threatens children’s emotional stability and can make them withdrawn, quiet, depressed, anxious, aggressive or hostile. However, parents resolving arguments calmly, clearly showing the effectiveness of negotiation and resolution, provide positive implications for children. Along the same lines, Dr. Phil says, ” Children learn what they live. Stop and think about what you’re teaching them.”

Coast to coast, whether through couples therapy in New York City or marriage counseling in Los Angeles, you can receive trustworthy guidance and rely on effective tools to deal with conflict. If divorce is inevitable, a compassionate NYC divorce lawyer can help you resolve issues through mediation. A caring therapist and an experienced lawyer who genuinely want to help clients achieve peace of mind can be invaluable for improving your quality of life.



Chris Palermo ESQ.

Chris Palermo:Suffolk County Divorce Attorney


NYC Psychotherapist: Susan Whedbee, Fighting The Winter Blues

Author: Susan Whedbee
Private Practice NYC Psychotherapist

As we turn the clocks back and the days get darker and colder you may find yourself coming down with the winter blues. Seasonal Affect Disorder, otherwise known as SAD is more common when we are exposed to less light during the day. It is characterized by recurrent episodes of depression which may occur in late fall and winter and alternate with periods of normal mood the remainder of the year.   Other symptoms of SAD include hypersomnia (excessive sleep and lethargy), carbohydrate craving, weight gain, and for some, hopelessness, lack of interest in normal activities and isolation.

There are a number of things that you might consider to combat the winter doldrums in a natural fashion:

Light exposure:  

Many people who are not severely depressed respond well to light therapy.   According to Joel Fuhrman, M.D., exposure to morning light helps the brain to regulate the production of melatonin which then regulates our sleep-wake cycle. If we are not exposed to adequate light in the winter this cycle can be disrupted.   A therapeutic light corrects the body’s clock, restores normal melatonin production and stimulates the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which elevates our mood and is often low when we are depressed.


Exercise works to increase the production of serotonin. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the United Kingdom asserts that when aerobic exercise is done regularly, one’s mood can improve without the side effects of medication. Research conducted at the University of Texas at Austin has shown that 40 minutes of exercise can have an immediate effect on one’s mood. In addition, Fuhrman asserts that yoga has been shown to improve depressive symptoms. You may be surprised what you find when you monitor your mood before and after your workout.

Vitamin D:

A 2010 national study found that people who are depressed are more likely to have a deficiency in vitamin D compared with people who have adequate levels of this vitamin. It was found that when suffering from SAD, their mood tended to improve as their levels of vitamin D increased over the normal course of a year.

 Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Fuhrman points out that Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in brain health – DHA is associated with cognitive function and EPA with mood. In a meta-analysis of 28 trials, it was determined that EPA supplementation is effective for improving depressive symptoms. In another study, scientists found that societies that eat a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids are more predisposed to major depressive disorder than societies that get adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. For people who are depressed, DHA and EPA supplementation may be indicated.

High Nutrient Diet:

Since alcohol is a depressant, you may want to cut back on its consumption. You may also consider eating a more whole food plant strong diet since plants contain substances such as dopamine, serotonin, melatonin that positively affect one’s mood. Fuhrman points out that plant foods contain a high degree of antioxidants which help to decrease the markers of oxidative stress on the brain – markers of oxidative stress are associated with higher incidences of depression. Moreover, many people suffering from depression are deficient in folate and may also be low in potassium. Green vegetables and legumes are high in folate and all whole plant foods are rich in potassium.


NYC Psychoanalyst wants to know: Are you attached to your Smartphone, Depressed?

Author: Susan Whedbee, LCSW

“No Time to Think”- A Set Up for Physical and Emotional Problems

Recently, Kate Murphy wrote an article entitled “No Time to Think,” which appeared in the NY Times Sunday Review. The piece highlighted today’s trend for people to over-schedule and over-commit, allowing little time for self-reflection.

Many of us seem to be married to our handheld devices as we text walking down the street, bumping into people and, yes, even falling into fountains. What are the long-term implications of not allowing time to process our thoughts and experience our feelings?

Risks for Individuals, Couples and the Parenting Process
Individuals run the risk of becoming alienated from themselves, which can lead to an overall feeling that something is just not right. We can then become depressed and not know why. Thoughts and feelings have energy and without a direct outlet they will be expressed either through the body by way of physical maladies or displaced onto other experiences.

Have you ever noticed that you or someone you know had a very strong reaction to something rather benign? This is an example of someone expressing unwelcome repressed feelings from a past event. It takes an awful lot of energy to keep emotions from bubbling up. Over time, repressed energy can deplete your internal reserves and lead to depression. When undesirable feelings begin to emerge, we can experience anxiety and even panic. Anxiety is actually a signal that warns us that something from either an external event or from within ourselves may soon present itself.

When we become accustomed to this way of being, we are ripe to employ certain behaviors to suppress our feelings. The Irish playwright, Samuel Beckett, illustrates this through many of his characters. In his play, Waiting for Godot, we see how Vladimir and Estragon use gesture and language to allow them not to feel. That certainly had its consequences for Estragon, as he was plagued with chronic nightmares, which were perhaps tied to the abuse he experienced as a child. Beckett himself suffered from boils and other somatic afflictions. As Beckett points out, “… habit is a great deadener.”

Closing off your feelings also has implications for relationships. When your partner reaches out for you, you may be unequipped to offer emotional responsiveness, which can leave your significant other feeling that you are not available to meet his/her emotional needs. At times, your partner may feel lonelier with you than being alone with his/her self. The person is then more susceptible to making a connection with someone else who fulfills his/her emotional needs. This is what often leads to extramarital affairs. People long to be understood and known, yet are fearful that if they let others really get to know them, they will feel naked and exposed.

Not acknowledging our feelings can also have implications when parenting children. Often, children are flooded with thoughts and feelings and need help managing a myriad of emotions. If your son comes home from school upset about an event in his day and you are not able to respond to his emotional needs, it sends the message that feelings are not acceptable and he must manage them on his own. Children need to know that their thoughts and feelings are welcome and that their parents will help them understand and express their emotions. With luck, they will come to be more connected with themselves and understand that their feelings can serve as a real navigational guide.

Give Yourself Time to Reflect
People are often very good at “doing,” but some have trouble just “being.” Take time away from your smartphone, texting and surfing the Internet. Engage in a little day dreaming, enabling thoughts and feelings to emerge. Go for a walk, sit in the park and look around you, and please leave your handheld device at home. You may find that introspection and contemplation will help you get more in touch with your creative self. At first, self-reflection may feel foreign, almost as if you are walking into a new country, not knowing the language or culture. While self-exploration, like traveling, is not always easy, it can, ultimately, be an enriching journey, offering insight into ourselves and others. Someone once said to me, “I don’t like to think about unpleasant experiences because they make me feel bad.” She finally came to understand that to obtain an overall sense of well-being, she had to allow herself to experience all her feelings so that they could eventually be integrated and worked through. This is what authentic living is all about.

NY Times article, No Time to Think

Susan Whedbee NYC Psychoanalyst
Author and website of above blog post: Susan Whedbee, LCSW, Psychoanalyst & Psychotherapist


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