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The push and pull of daily life can sometimes become overwhelming to us—so much so that the resulting emotional strife can damage our ability to function. Mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, have the potential to significantly impair functioning, causing us to curl up in a ball of despair or worry.
Retreating into our own silent suffering leaves us feeling utterly alone with our mental health challenges. Retreats for depression and anxiety exist for this very purpose, to offer individuals a safe, supportive place to receive professional guidance and experience personal growth while reducing the symptoms of the mood disorder.
Why Retreats for Depression and Anxiety?
When seeking help for a mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety, or both, there are options. Most people will begin their journey to recovery through outpatient mental health services, such as a psychiatrist or psychotherapist. Just addressing the problem is the first step toward recovering mental wellness, and outpatient therapy may be sufficient.
However, in many cases, the symptoms of the mental health condition may worsen over time. When this happens there can be serious implications for one’s life, leading to isolation, excessive fear and worry, or even suicidal thoughts. When the usual treatments of medication and outpatient therapy are not enough, why not consider a wellness retreat?
A retreat that specializes in depression and anxiety issues will provide a more intensive approach than what the outpatient program can offer. The retreat may be a few days or a few weeks, depending on the needs of the individual. The emphasis of a wellness retreat is to assist the individual in mending the brokenness in the connection between mind, body, and spirit.
Depression is the second most common mental health disorder, affecting over 17 million Americans. Depression symptoms include:
- Sadness and hopelessness
- Changes in eating habits
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Slowed thinking and movements
- Feelings of shame or guilt
- Loss of interest in your hobbies and favorite activities
- Suicidal thoughts
Depression that has persisted, regardless of going to therapy and taking antidepressants, may need a more intensive approach. Underlying issues may not yet be processed, resolved, or healed. There may be disordered thought patterns that exaggerate the situation and keep one stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts.
The beauty of a retreat for treating depression is the ability for the individual to really let go of those old patterns in a safe, non-judgmental space where constructive new thought-behavior patterns can be established. The intimate size of a retreat allows for highly personalized attention, leading to more focused attention to identifying the pain points and guiding the individual toward emotional healing.
Different Types of Depression
There is more than one type of depression. Each of these subtypes has its own unique features and symptoms. A retreat for depression can tailor treatment for the specific type of depression you are experiencing.
The types of depression include:
- Major depressive disorder (MDD). MDD is a serious mood disorder that can have a negative impact on all aspects of life. These include work, family, and social spheres.
- Postpartum depression. This type of depression is experienced during or after pregnancy, with symptoms of severe sadness, fatigue, and anxiety.
- Persistent depressive disorder. Also called dysthymia, this is prolonged depression with symptoms that vary in severity over a period of at least two years.
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is depression that arrives during the winter months when shortened days will limit your natural sunlight exposure.
Mental Health Retreats for Depression
When depression takes hold it can lead to major impairment in functioning. To someone with depression, the world becomes a bland, gray, lifeless place, causing the person to lose all motivation.
Trying to push through each day can be exhausting, as the symptoms are very persistent. Many people with depression just lay in bed all day, with no desire to even interact with others. This affects their jobs, their relationships, and their ability to parent.
A mental health retreat for depression offers a safe, supportive space where you can escape regular life for a while. Being away from daily demands allows you to just focus solely on getting better.
Retreats for depression are designed to provide the setting for healing. The goal of the program is to guide the person back to a place of wellness and improved functioning. This is accomplished through the use of various types of therapy, including holistic methods that induce a more positive mindset.
What About Depression in Men?
Retreats for depression are also perfect for men who suffer from this mental health challenge. Depression in men has slightly different symptoms. In addition to the symptoms of depression listed above, men also are prone to the following symptoms:
- Irritability and anger. When a man feels depressed he may become frustrated with his state of mind, and lash out in anger for no reason. This might be acted out with physical or verbal abuse, being more sensitive to criticism, or being more irritable.
- Social withdrawal. Men who are depressed may be prone to isolation behaviors. They may avoid social events or family functions in favor of being alone. This may be due to the desire to hide the mood disorder from others.
- Risky behaviors. Sometimes the frustration the man feels is expressed through reckless behaviors. These might include drinking and driving, compulsive gambling, unsafe sexual practices, or picking fights with other men.
- Slowed movements. Men with depression experience psychomotor retardation or the slowing of movement and the reduced ability to process thoughts. The slowing down of physical and mental functioning can impact work, daily tasks, and decision-making.
- Becoming more controlling. Depression in men can cause aggression and more controlling behaviors. This may be due to the feeling of being out of control, of not being able to overcome the symptoms of depression.
- Substance abuse. About 25% of men who are diagnosed with major depression also have a co-occurring alcohol use disorder. Alcoholism and depression is an extremely common dual diagnosis, with alcohol, a depressant, only making the depression symptoms worse.
- Trouble meeting obligations. Men are wired to be the providers, the head of the household. When they are depressed it becomes more difficult to keep up with their usual obligations.
- Sexual issues. Men who are depressed often lose their sex drive. This may be due to the impact on brain chemistry in the mood center of the brain. That is where appetite, sleep, energy, and sex drive are regulated. Also, antidepressants can cause a lack of sexual desire as well as erectile dysfunction.
- Suicidal thinking. While suicidal ideation, is a common symptom of depression among both sexes, in men it is more dangerous. Men are more than four times a likely to die if they do decide to commit suicide, mostly because they are more willing to use firearms.
Understanding Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health affliction, impacting over 40 million Americans annually. Anxiety symptoms vary based on the type of anxiety disorder, but generally include:
- Excessive worry
- Tense muscles
- Isolating behaviors
Some individuals may have experienced some relief from benzodiazepines, the anti-anxiety sedatives that help to calm the central nervous system. However, these drugs have a high risk of increased tolerance and addiction.
At a retreat that focuses on anxiety issues, a more holistic approach can allow the individual to learn new natural methods to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, as well as changing disordered thought patterns related to excessive fear and worry that lead to the symptoms.
Different Types of Anxiety Disorder
Just as with depression, there are multiple types of anxiety disorder. Each of these types has the common symptoms of irrational fear and avoidance behaviors.
The different types of anxiety include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): GAD features constant and excessive worry lasting most of the day, resulting in headaches, nausea, muscle tension, and trouble concentrating.
- Panic disorder: This type of anxiety features sudden and unpredictable feelings of overwhelming terror. It causes heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and isolation.
- Social anxiety disorder: This form of anxiety features an intense and irrational fear of being embarrassed or judged in public. Causes social isolation and avoidance.
- Specific phobias: Phobia is an irrational fear of a specific thing, place, or situation. To manage this fear, the individual goes to extreme measures to avoid encounters with it.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD features unresolved trauma that lasts more than a month. It can lead to avoidance of people, places, or situations that trigger memories of the traumatic event. Flashbacks, nightmares, or repeated thoughts of the trauma trigger anxiety symptoms.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): OCD features obsessive worries about things like germs, causing harm, or a need for order. This drives compulsive behaviors in an attempt to manage the symptoms of anxiety caused by the obsession.
Retreats for Anxiety
Mental health retreats for anxiety are a perfect setting to let go of your worries and achieve a calm state of mind. These programs feature an array of holistic activities that can be highly effective in lowering blood pressure and heart rate. They can also help reduce muscle tension, especially in the neck and back areas.
Personalized Treatment for Depression and Anxiety
A wellness retreat considers each client as a unique person with unique needs. This personalized focus allows the clinical team to design a tailored program that fits the specific needs of the client.
Generally, anxiety is treated using evidence-based therapies that target dysfunctional thought-behavior patterns. By “evidence-based” this means the therapies have been extensively studied in the clinical setting, providing real data on the efficacy of each approach.
Examples of evidence-based approaches include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Exposure therapy
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
The retreats for depression and anxiety rely to a great deal on integrative holistic therapies that compliment the evidence-based therapies. Holistic therapies are often Eastern-based practices, many of them ancient, which help relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety naturally. Achieving a state of relaxation can augment the therapeutic effects overall. Some examples of holistic therapies include:
- Massage therapy
- Guided meditation
- Sound therapy
Diet and exercise round out the treatment elements found at a wellness retreat. A healthy, organic, plant-based diet can help restore physical wellness by improving the immune system and brain health. Regular physical activity helps boost mood, reduce stress, and improve sleep quality.
How Retreats for Depression and Anxiety Can Change Your Life
Sometimes the best treatment for someone with depression or anxiety is self-love. Self-love translates to caring enough about one’s mental health and wellness to focus on getting the very best support for improving it.
Acknowledging how you are feeling—your lack of energy and motivation, your tendency to isolate and withdraw socially, and your persistent feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness—and then honoring this truth and seeking out a treatment setting that will help improve these issues is a sign of self-love. You want to be your best so you can offer your best to others, and yourself.
A retreat for depression offers a unique opportunity to embrace the moment that leads to positive change. The same is true about a retreat for anxiety. Taking that time, be it a few days or a few weeks, to focus on improving self-worth, self-confidence, and self-love, can be the best investment you ever make.
Mental Health Hope Offers an Online Resource for Wellness Retreats
Mental Health Hope is an online resource for individuals seeking treatment options for such mental health conditions as depression and anxiety. It is difficult enough just to live with a mood disorder or anxiety, so why not get someone in your corner who can offer free assistance toward the most appropriate wellness retreat for you? If you are searching for retreats for depression and anxiety, reach out to Mental Health Hope today at (877) 967-9274.