Why Bird Flu Isn’t The Only Pandemic To Be Stressed, Anxious Or Depressed About

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As we move into the spring of 2006, the threat of a global outbreak of avian flu still hovers – menacingly - over us.

For many people, a potential bird flu pandemic is a major cause of worry. Each day, medical experts warn that if the H5N1 bird flu virus mutates, it could be easily passed on to humans causing a pandemic affecting millions of people.

To date, the number of people around the world killed by bird flu is just over 100. But such a low mortality rate doesn’t alleviate the fear of a pandemic. However, there is a far greater menace that is already at pandemic proportions and it doesn’t cause anywhere near the amount of concern that avian flu does.

Stress, anxiety and depression are modern day plagues and they’re having a destructive impact on the lives of millions of people in the developed world. Contrast the following statistics with bird flu:

17.5 million US Citizens suffer from depression every year and women are affected by it twice as much as men.

50 percent of people who suffer a depressive episode will suffer a second episode and episodes of stress and anxiety will probably co-occur at the same time as depression.

In the UK, one in eight teenagers suffers from depression and the major cause of death in young people is suicide.

In Canada, suicide is the leading cause of death in young people aged 15 to 24.

The Canadian Institute of Health has recently reported that the number of men who committed suicide exceeded the number of men killed in car crashes in a period covering ten years, 1990-2000.

In addition to the harrowing torment endured by sufferers, depression also affects their loved ones too. It is very hard for families to reach out to a depressed loved one as they just don’t know what’s happening and how best they can help.

It is blatantly obvious. Three of the world’s most advanced societies are experiencing a pandemic of mental trauma right now. They aren’t the only countries: South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and emerging industrial nations such as India are all enduring a pandemic of stressful illnesses.

“It amazes me that people can be so concerned about a virus that has had such a little effect on humans. Obviously, for the people who died it is tragic, but when you compare it to the devastation caused by depression, stress and anxiety, bird flu pales into insignificance. Millions are suffering right now and they need help or the pandemic of depression will just get worse”, says Chris Green, author of “Conquering Stress”.

For people who are concerned that they maybe experiencing an episode of stress, depression or anxiety – or concerned about a loved one – the following three actions will help to minimize the trauma:

1. Visit the family physician and ask to be referred to a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist. Stress, depression and anxiety play havoc with cognitive functions and seeing a cognitive specialist is a very helpful way of limiting the damage. They will help sufferers to keep perspective and make sense out what’s happening.

2. Confide in someone very close, either a family member or a best friend. Seeking isolation is a major part of these plagues and retreat into a lonely dark world is common and will exacerbate the feelings of depression. Choosing one person to confide in or even just spend time with maybe watching a film or just reading will help to avoid the descent into isolation.

3. Accept change. Change is the one constant in life and resisting change will trigger stress. Change can be perceived as a threat and this is frightening. It’s better to view change as an opportunity to grow. Change isn't what causes stress, depression or anxiety, it's how we react to it. There is a choice to react negatively or positively, and we all have the power to choose between them.

Chris Green conquered 5 years of anxiety-induced depression without taking antidepressants. He is the author of the globally acclaimed book “Conquering Stress”, and the just released “Six Steps To Happiness”, a new e-course to help people beat stress, depression and anxiety without taking drugs. It can be freely downloaded from the author’s website at: http://www.conqueringstress.com


Chris Green

Diamond Strategies



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