The symptoms of depression include low mood, loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, loss of appetite and energy, sleep disturbance, feeling agitated or lethargic, worthless or guilty, difficulty in thinking straight and having repeated thoughts about suicide. Antidepressant drugs may help some people because they lift levels of a ‘feel-good’ chemical in the brain; unfortunately, they do nothing to change the underlying circumstances or thinking patterns that led to the depression. Depression is always related to unmet essential emotional needs and that is why the human givens approach, which focuses on helping people in distress find healthy ways to meet their emotional needs, is so successful.
We all need to experience some degree of anxiety at times – it would be unnatural not to feel any of its symptoms, such as racing pulse, dry mouth, sweatiness and shallow breathing, just before a big speech or exam, for instance – as it helps get us motivated to act. But excessive anxiety causes problems. Excessive anxiety may develop gradually, starting, perhaps, with loneliness after the loss of a loved one; being too shy to make new friends when moving somewhere new; experiencing unwelcome life changes because of chronic illness and pain; or feeling loaded down with too much responsibility – all cases of unmet emotional needs.
Stress results from a build-up of mental and/or physical pressures to a level that we find overwhelming. The amount and type of stress we can stand will vary from individual to individual – for instance, one person may get a buzz from giving a talk to hundreds of people whereas someone else will be a nervous wreck in similar circumstances.
You may choose to call it a craving, a fancy, a bit of a dependence but the truth is that anyone who becomes overly drawn to or obsessed by any activity – whether drinking alcohol, taking drugs, over- or under-eating, shopping, gambling, sex or even doing good deeds – is trying to fill a void or block out something that is missing in their lives. (Even smoking may start for that reason.) That’s why the human givens approach, which focuses on helping people in distress find healthy ways to meet their emotional needs, is such a successful method for overcoming addictions.
Road rage, plane rage, even art-gallery rage (when an exhibition is too crowded) are becoming all too familiar terms and are just some of the forms that over-the-top anger can take in modern-day life. Excessive anger can have an obvious trigger or else seem to occur out of the blue; and it can ruin lives, as work and relationships suffer. Excessive anger always results from stress and essential emotional needs not being met. That’s why the human givens approach, which focuses on helping people in distress find healthy ways to meet their emotional needs, is so successful.
OCD is a highly upsetting condition in which a sufferer experiences powerful, intrusive and distressing thoughts or images, usually connected with an imagined disastrous event (perhaps that one’s son will die in a car crash), and devises one or many rituals designed to reduce or ward off that event or make reparation for having the ‘bad’ thought. Usually, the more the rituals are carried out, the more the thoughts recur, requiring yet more rituals.