Like most people, you can shake off a bad day or low moods by doing something fun or visiting with family or friends. But if sadness, low moods, and problems with sleeping or eating hit and affect your daily life, you may be experiencing anxiety or depression. Thankfully, treatment is available.
WHAT IS ANXIETY?
Experiencing sporadic anxiety is part of what it means to be human. You get sad based on different experiences, but the feelings gradually subside, often on their own. But people with anxiety disorders often have intense, excessive, and constant fear and worry about everyday life. Many times, such anxiety manifests itself with repetitive episodes of unexpected feelings of severe anxiety and terror or fear that can peak within only minutes. These are called panic attacks.
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
The American Psychiatric Association says on this, “Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home.”
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS
Common anxiety symptoms include:
- Feeling restless, worried, or tense
- Having a sense of looming danger, panic, or disaster
- Having a fast heart rate
- Breathing rapidly
- Tiredness or feeling weak
- Problems concentrating or focusing on something other than a current worry
- Having problems sleeping
- Experiencing digestive troubles
- Having problems managing worry
- Having the desire to avoid anything that elicits anxiety
Depression symptoms may include:
- Feeling sad or experiencing low moods
- Lack of interest or pleasure in once enjoyable pursuits
- Fluctuations in appetite resulting in weight changes
- Trouble getting to sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of vitality or increased lethargy
Research has shown that many therapies can successfully reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, including psychotherapy and certain medication.
DIAGNOSING ANXIETY & DEPRESSION
Diagnosis may involve your mental health provider:
- Giving you a psychological evaluation to talk about behavior, feelings, and thoughts to help pinpoint underlying causes and check for other complications, like depression or substance misuse. Related conditions can make diagnosis more troublesome.
- Equating your symptoms to the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Many doctors abide by standards in the DSM-5, published by the American Psychiatric Association, to arrive at a diagnosis.
TREATMENTS FOR ANXIETY & DEPRESSION
As doctors and clinicians recommend a course of treatment for anxiety and depression – primarily some form of psychotherapy combined with traditional medication like prescription anti-anxiety medicine and antidepressants – it’s critical for the millions of Americans suffering from mental illness that research and testing continues.
Shawn Singh said in Life Science Leader that “it is encouraging that the emergence of a non-systemic anti-anxiety medication with little to no side effects and a very low risk of abuse could revolutionize the way anxiety disorders are treated today.”
One such option that many have called a game-changer and revolutionary is the use of ketamine therapy, because it works quickly to soothe the symptoms of mental illness without the serious side effects of other medicine.
At the University of Minnesota, healthcare professionals sometimes recommend a holistic approach to treat the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Some of the coping mechanisms they recommend include:
- Mind-body practices to enhance the mind’s positive impact on your body — and vice versa. This encompasses hypnosis, imagery, meditation, mindfulness and yoga, and relaxation therapy.
- Nutritional supplements or dietary changes approved by your healthcare provider. This could include a multi-vitamin with B6 and minerals, foods with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D-3, and probiotics.
- Botanical medicines like St. John’s Wort.
- Exposure to nature.
- Animal-assisted and pet therapy.
- Music therapy.
- Traditional Chinese medicine.
- Naturopathic medicine.
It’s important to remember that no therapies should be attempted without the approval of a healthcare provider.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS IN AMERICA
Millions of people suffer from mental illness. Consider these facts:
- 43.8 million adults experience mental illness every year.
- 16 million adults suffer from depression.
- 42 million adults have anxiety disorders.
- About 10 million people with mental health issues also suffer from addiction.
- Depression is a leading source of global disability.
Anxiety and depression are serious conditions, but their symptoms can be treated. Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor or clinician may recommend psychotherapy combined with medicine, or newer treatment like ketamine therapy. Contact us today to learn more!