Crisis Symptoms, Causes and Effects
Life is full of stressful events and experiences, and sometimes the seriousness of those stresses can become overwhelming, leading to crisis-related anxiety and debilitating depression.
What Are the Main Sources of Personal Crisis?
There are many triggers that can take you over the edge, including stress and personal issues. Sudden, drastic changes in your personal life, such as the death of a spouse or family member, marital separation or divorce, the loss of a job, incarceration or personal injury can result in emotional overload and overwhelming feelings of helplessness. Unexpected environmental challenges, such as extreme weather or natural disasters, can also make you feel like you’re experiencing a personal crisis.
What Are the Signs of a Person in Crisis?
Because personal crises are very difficult to deal with, they can lead to wide-ranging symptoms and consequences that are both emotional and physical. Depression, fearfulness and difficulties in dealing with day-to-day life are common signs that someone is in crisis.
The outward effects that someone demonstrates are related to the severity of the crisis and the person’s capacity for coping with personal troubles. It’s important not to minimize crisis-related behaviors or assume they are something that can be corrected easily. Solutions require external support from friends, family members and qualified practitioners.
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Emotional Symptoms of Crisis-Related Stress
Personal crisis can often lead to emotional overload. The sheer magnitude of sudden or accumulated stresses can make it difficult for you to deal with the problems you are having. You may experience:
- Scattered, unfocused thinking
- Loss of motivation
- Lack of patience or irritability
Physical Symptoms of Crisis-Related Stress
Crisis-related stress can also result in physical troubles. Headaches and loss of appetite are common. Stomach and digestive upset, joint pains, fatigue and other somatic symptoms are often related to depression. Pain and depression are linked because a person’s mood is influenced by the same neurotransmitters that send pain signals.
Physical symptoms reinforce emotional disorders, so it’s essential to find resources that will help you break this unhappy cycle.
Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Crisis-Related Anxiety
In the short-term, crisis-related anxiety can be crippling. You may feel too overwhelmed to make decisions or to take the normal actions required to keep life moving smoothly. Fears and irrational paranoia can keep you from seeking out support and assistance from others. Changes in sleeping and eating patterns can make you physically vulnerable and susceptible to illness. The depression that often accompanies crisis anxiety can lead to withdrawal, indecisiveness and suicidal thoughts.
Because of the severity of these emotional symptoms, someone who does not receive support to deal with crisis-related stress may suffer from many long-term consequences including:
- Avoidance of relationships
- Poor life decisions
- Chronic physical pain
- Eating disorders
- Self-confidence issues
Is There a Test or Self-Assessment I Can Do?
It isn’t always easy for a person who is suffering from a personal crisis to realize what is going on. If your symptoms are not yet overwhelming or if you have experienced major life changes and are concerned that you may be prone to crisis-related depression or anxiety, there are self-assessment tests you can take.
Self-diagnosis will not result in a clinical assessment, but it can give you feedback on your current emotional state. If you find you are exhibiting signs and symptoms of depression, call to discuss treatment options.
Medication During Crisis: Drug Options
If you are suffering from severe crisis-related symptoms, medication can offer an effective crisis treatment solution. There are several different antidepressants available that can be used to treat this disorder. The one your doctor prescribes will depend on the stage and severity of your symptoms.
Make sure you discuss the benefits and risks of all medical treatments with your doctor. Together, you’ll be able to determine which type of drug will best suit your individual circumstances.
The following classes of antidepressant medications are most commonly prescribed for crisis-related anxiety symptoms:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Tricyclic anti-depressants (TCAs)
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
Each type of anti-depressant requires different monitoring and may result in different side effects. SSRIs, such as Zoloft and Prozac, are the most commonly prescribed medicines. Effexor and Serzone are examples of SNRIs. Antidepressant drugs of all sorts can be highly effective and might help ease your symptoms in as little as three weeks.
Crisis Drugs: Possible Options
While each class of antidepressant medication can be effective, some are more potent than others. TCAs and MAOIs like Parnate and Nardil are often prescribed when other medications have proven ineffective. These drugs have more side effects, and so their use is carefully monitored. Still, MAOIs can provide results when other medical treatments failed.
Stimulants and antipsychotic medications are also prescribed when needed.
Medication Side Effects
The side effects of antidepressant medications vary. SSRIs and SNRIs carry similar risks including:
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Urinary difficulties
- Undefined restlessness
There may also be effects on a person’s sexual performance, though these are less common with SNRIs. Lowered sex drive may be countered by small doses of complementary medications.
Bupropion may cause seizures, and so it’s contraindicated for epileptics or those who’ve suffered from previous brain trauma. Mirtazapine commonly leads to weight gain and lethargy or sedation.
TCAs and MAOIs represent older classes of medications and, as such, tend to have more serious side effects including:
- Cotton mouth
- Elimination difficulties
- Blurry vision
- Irregular heart action
Still, both can be effective and might provide results when newer drugs fail. However, when you take MAOIs, you’ll have to follow a special diet to prevent hypertensive problems.
Drug Addiction, Dependence and Withdrawal
The medications most commonly used to treat depression and crisis-related anxieties are not generally addictive. Depression may lead to addictive behaviors, but the link is uncertain. Still, the mood-altering benefits of antidepressant drugs can potentially become habit-forming in some patients.
More typically, patients experience certain withdrawal symptoms upon abruptly stopping drug treatment. Such symptoms include irritability, insomnia, lethargy and general body aches. To avoid these symptoms, your doctor will likely reduce your dosage of the medications you use gradually over a period of time. If you suffer from withdrawal symptoms, you may be prescribed another antidepressant or other medication temporarily to offset the negative effects.
Bupropion is an anxiety medication can lead to seizures when taken in high quantities. To be safe, you should call for medical help if you think you may have overdosed on this drug.
Depression and Crisis
People in crisis may find themselves unable to deal with their current circumstances, and crisis-related anxiety can lead to clinical depression. Depressed individuals often find themselves unwilling or unable to reach out to the people who can help them the most. Family and friends can provide a great deal of support and are often able to recognize symptoms the sufferers may not see for themselves.
Dual Diagnosis: Addiction and Crisis
Some people turn to addictions and substances to deal with personal crises. Some people find themselves in crisis because of uncontrollable addictions. Either way, this double-headed monster requires professional intervention.
Addictions can be dealt with effectively with modern treatment methods. The underlying causes of crisis-related anxiety can be identified and corrected. There is support available to help you get through the seemingly overwhelming problems you are facing.