Lifestyle

Identifying signs of anxiety and depression

photo of three women lifting there hands

What is stress? And what can you do if you don’t manage it well?

Stress can result from being fired, losing a spouse, or going through a divorce. Stress can also be caused by getting married, changing jobs or having children. Everybody experiences stress at some point in their lives.

Stress is often viewed as either bad or good. Stress is something you see as beyond your control and that often happens outside of your normal routines. These and similar events can be managed by how you react.

Depression and anxiety are more apparent when people have trouble coping with stressful situations.

Anxiety and depression are very common. More than 40 million Americans suffer from these disorders each year, which is about 18% of the country’s population. According to the World Health Organization, there was a 27.6% rise in depression and a 25.6% rise in anxiety disorders in 2020.

These are the most common anxiety disorders:

  • Specific Phobias Phobias can be related to animals like spiders, cats, or dogs; the environment such as heights and storms; blood injection injury which is a fear or invasive procedure; or places like elevators or enclosed spaces.
  • Social anxiety disorder
    This is a fear of being in social situations or around other people.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
    This is a general worry about many things.
  • Separation anxiety
    This refers to an extreme fear or anxiety about separation from attachment items or figures.
  • Panic disorder
    This is a sudden surge of fear or discomfort.

These are the most common depressive disorders:

  • Major depressive disorder
    This is a depressed mood lasting for two weeks. This could be a one-time or ongoing episode.
  • Persistent depressive disorder
    This depressive mood is common for at least two-years.

People with anxiety disorders often also suffer from depression. Nearly 10% of the world’s population is affected by anxiety and depression. Although anxiety and depression are easily treated, only a few people who are affected receive treatment.

What is the relationship between stress, anxiety, and depression?

There are many things that can cause anxiety and depression, such as:

  • Genetics
  • Environmental exposure
  • Personality
  • Life events

Anxiety and depression symptoms early signs

A person who begins to avoid things they once enjoyed is a sign of anxiety or depression.

You should also be aware of these warning signs:

  • Shakiness
  • Heart rate increases
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Rapid breathing
  • Racing thoughts

Among the warning signs of depression are:

  • Separation
  • Negative thoughts are common
  • Feelings of sadness that recur
  • Anxiety and depression signs that are advanced

These are the signs and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.

  • Over-worrying for more days than necessary for at least six month
  • Feeling uneasy
  • Tiredness or fatigue frequently
  • Concentration is difficult
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbances: difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Stress or impairment in important functions such as social, occupational, or other areas

These are the signs that indicate a major depressive disorder.

  • Feeling depressed or down most of the time, almost every day
  • You have lost interest in the activities you once enjoyed
  • Significant weight changes (increase/decrease)
  • Sleep difficulties, such as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or having trouble sleeping.
  • Tiredness or fatigue frequently
  • Concentration is difficult
  • Recurrent thoughts about death
  • Stress or impairment in important functions such as social, occupational, or other areas

These tips can help you cope with depression and anxiety.

You can also try square and diaphragmatic breathing techniques.

Diaphragmatic breathing is a deep, exhaling from your diaphragm. As you inhale, your stomach should expand. Square breathing techniques are five counts of deep, deep breathing. Then exhale for five count, hold for five counts, and then exhale for five counts. Finally, hold for five counts. Instead of focusing on the stressful event, you should spend your entire time focusing on your breathing.

Your thoughts should be challenged

This means not judging situations, good or bad. It involves focusing on your feelings and identifying what is within your control. You can control your emotions, your feelings, and how you react to stressful situations. You must also be able to see the facts. Sometimes, your depressive and anxious thoughts may not be based on facts. Facts can be 100% certain — they are not just assumptions.

Ask yourself:
  • How do I feel?
  • These are your emotions.
  • What would you like to see the situation turn out?
  • What are the facts?

Next, set small goals that will lead you to your desired outcome. You will avoid the situation and experience increased anxiety and depression if you don’t acknowledge your feelings and emotions.

Keep your eyes on the facts.

You can challenge yourself to see the facts and accept any emotions or feelings that are revealed by the situation. This will increase your ability to deal with stressful situations.

When should you seek professional assistance

Talking to a healthcare professional is the best way to get help.

  • It is difficult for you to function in your daily activities.
  • Activities you used to enjoy are no longer available.
  • It is difficult to get out from bed.

Treatments for depression and anxiety

Most people suffering from anxiety and depression can benefit from psychotherapy and medication. You can get medication from your psychiatrist or primary care provider to ease symptoms. Outpatient psychotherapy can be very beneficial for many people, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy.

You can also try other treatments such as changing your eating or exercise habits, using social support, getting enough sleep, changing how you respond to stress, avoiding alcohol, recreational drugs and joining a support network.

You may need to access crisis resources if you are suffering from severe depression or anxiety. This includes contacting a crisis hotline or going to an emergency department to receive a mental health evaluation.

How important it is to take care of your mental health

To live fulfilling lives, it is important to take care of your mental health. Recognizing and treating your mental illness can help you build resilience. You will also learn to cope better. You will be able to deal with similar situations in the future.

Situations that cause stress are inevitable. Your response to these situations can impact how you feel. There are many resources available for stress, anxiety and depression. If you have any concerns regarding your mental health, talk to your doctor.

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