Depression and anxiety are two of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses worldwide. Many people struggle with their mental health because of these illnesses. Generalized anxiety disorder affects approximately 6.8 million adults in the United States annually, while 21 million adults reported at least one major depressive episode in 2020.
Depression and anxiety are often difficult to diagnose, as many symptoms are not easily visible. Many people suffering from these conditions will go for years without realizing they have a problem. This is because the signs of depression and anxiety can vary significantly from person to person.
Know the common signs of depression and anxiety
There are many signs of depression and anxiety, some of which are more obvious than others. It’s important to be aware of all the potential signs to seek treatment early.
Some of the most common signs of depression and anxiety include:
Feeling anxious or stressed all the time
Feeling down or unhappy most of the time
Losing interest in activities that used to be fun
Changes in appetite, either eating too much or not eating enough
Changes in sleep patterns
Feeling like you can’t concentrate or focus on anything
These symptoms may also indicate anxiety or depression
Along with the typical signs, there are many unusual signs of depression and anxiety that you may not be aware of:
One of the most common but least recognized symptoms of depression and anxiety is fatigue. If you are feeling tired all the time, it could be a sign that something is wrong. Feeling exhausted even after a full night’s sleep is not normal and can be a sign of an underlying mental health condition.
You’re always cold
This is a common sign of anxiety, as your body is in a constant state of “fight or flight.” This can also lead to other physical symptoms, such as sweating and shaking.
If you are having difficulty concentrating, it could be a sign of depression or anxiety. If you find that you forget things more often than usual, or if you can’t focus on tasks, it may be time to seek help.
You suddenly have a lot of energy
This may seem like a good thing, but it’s actually one of the signs that something is off. If you find yourself with more energy than usual, it could be because you’re trying to compensate for the low energy levels typical of depression.
Depression isn’t always about being sad. When people imagine depression, they typically picture someone who has trouble functioning day to day and may not even be able to get out of bed. In reality, many people turn to self-destructing behaviors as a coping mechanism for dealing with their emotions.
For some, it may be a way of numbing themselves to their pain. Others may see it as a way of punishing themselves for what they see as their own failings. And still, others may believe that if they hurt themselves, they’ll be able to feel something, anything, other than the numbness and emptiness they’re currently feeling.
Some other common coping mechanisms are:
Whatever the reason, self-destructive behaviors are a sign that something is wrong. If you or someone you know is engaging in these behaviors, getting help is crucial. Depression is a serious illness, and getting treatment as soon as possible is important.
When to seek mental health treatment
Knowing when it’s time to seek professional help for anxiety or depression can be challenging. After all, everyone feels down from time to time, and a certain amount of anxiety is perfectly normal. However, there are some key differences between occasional feelings of sadness or worry and clinical depression or anxiety. The most important factor in deciding whether or not to seek help is if the symptoms are so severe that they impact your daily functioning.
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms regularly, it may be time to seek treatment from a mental health professional.
-You’re not enjoying activities that you used to love
-You’re sleeping more or less than usual
-Your appetite has changed significantly
-You’re feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless
-You’re having difficulty concentrating
-You’re experiencing unexplained aches and pains
-You’re abusing alcohol or drugs
-You’re thinking about harming yourself or someone else.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, reach out for help.
Treatment options for anxiety and depression
Both anxiety and depression can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. While many treatments are available, some of the most common include medication, therapy, and self-care.
A doctor can prescribe medication to help manage symptoms of anxiety or depression. Therapy typically involves meeting with a therapist regularly to discuss thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Self-care includes maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, and avoiding alcohol and drugs.
Every case is unique, and a mental health professional can help develop a treatment plan tailored for your needs.
There’s no shame in seeking treatment
Mental illness is often seen as a taboo subject, and those who suffer from mental health conditions can face a great deal of stigma. This stigma can make it difficult for people to seek help, as they may worry about being judged or misunderstood. Additionally, the stigma surrounding mental illness can make it hard for people to find support from family and friends. In many cases, the shame and isolation that comes with mental illness can worsen symptoms and make a recovery more complex.
No one should feel ashamed to seek mental health services. Mental health is just as important as physical health, yet it is often overlooked or ignored. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health disorders and can profoundly affect someone’s life.
Left untreated, depression can lead to suicide in some cases. Anxiety can lead to panic attacks and a host of other problems. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, please seek help from a professional. You are not weak or crazy for talking to a therapist or counselor. Your mental health is worth it.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression that just won’t go away or are getting severe, reach out for help- give Serene Health a call. We offer a variety of behavioral health and mental health services and flexible appointments through our telehealth platform so you can speak to a therapist online from the location of your choice. Call us at 844-737-3638 or visit www.serenehealth.com to schedule an appointment.