Understanding Anxiety and Depression
A deeper look into the maladies of our time

Alzak Amlani, Ph.D. Psychotherapy, Consultation, & Workshops
220 California Ave. Ste. 120, Palo Alto, CA 94306 (650) 325-8393
3821 23rd St. San Francisco, CA (415) 205-4666

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Anxiety is another very common experience for many Americans.

Some of the symptoms of anxiety include:

     Excessive worrying and fretting about issues
     Feeling fearful and panicky
     Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
     Difficulty concentrating or the mind going blank
     Feeling nervous, irritable, and tense
     Difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless or unsatisfying sleep

Anxiety disorders include:

     Panic Attack
     Specific or Social Phobia
     Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
     Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
     Acute Stress Disorder
     Generalized Anxiety Disorder
     Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder

Underlying causes of anxiety

My experience with people suffering form various types of anxiety is that there is an essential disconnect with one's own inner strength, purpose, and power. Self-doubt and fear are common underlying components of anxiety disorders. Often there has been trauma, excessive criticism, shame, humiliation, and lack of safe, constant, and positive appreciation at consequential times in one's life.

When a person is experiencing frequent anxiety, the psyche is seeking balance and healing from previous negative experiences. Along with a wide range of psychotherapeutic modalities such as relaxation or changing anxiety-producing thoughts and images, I would ask you to begin exploring deeper into yourself. Your anxiety symptoms provide a window into areas where you need attention and are ready to make important lifestyle and relationship changes.



Depression is the most common mental health concern in our culture today. The main reason for this phenomenon is our dysfunctional lifestyle. We have stripped away supports such as family and community and replaced them with material objects, larger homes, entertainment centers, and more time at work for money and success, rather than interest, meaning, or passion. The lack of support, connectedness, and meaning leaves people feeling empty, lost, and depressed. These negatives feelings are symptoms trying to tell us that we're being deprived of essential human nutrients: to be seen, heard, and understood. Thus, depression is a healing crisis.

How do I know that I am depressed?

Following are some symptoms and patterns that would strongly indicate that you are depressed:

     Feeling sad and down often
     Difficulty in sleeping or getting up in the morning
     Losing interest in life and people
     Poor concentration, difficulty making decisions, and completing tasks
     Unable to cope with stress and constant feelings of overwhelm
     Decreased energy and fatigue
     Low self-esteem
     Poor appetite or overeating
     Agitation and low tolerance for stress

Are there other types of depression?

Depression falls within the category of mood disorders according to the American Psychological Association. They include the following types of depression

     Postpartum Depression,
     Depression with Psychotic Features,
     Bipolar Disorder,
     Substance Induced Mood Disorder,

Bipolar Disorder: This type of mood disorder is characterized by one or more Manic or Manic-Depressive episodes, usually accompanied by Major Depressive Episodes.

A manic episode would include the following symptoms:

     A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting at least 1 week.
     During the mood disturbance:
        √   your self-esteem is inflated and grandiose;
        √   sleeping 3-4 hours per night;
        √   more talkative;
        √   highly distractable;
        √   engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual encounters, or foolish business investments.

If you or your family is suffering from a few of these symptoms you need to get psychological counseling and quite often medical help. This is a treatable and manageable condition with appropriate therapies.


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  Am I Depressed
  Variety of Depression