When Should I Seek Help
Talking with a mental health counselor or doctor can help prevent things from getting worse, especially if your symptoms stay for any length of time.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or feelings, get help right away.
It’s important to understand that feeling depressed doesn’t mean you have depression. That condition involves not only changes in mood, but also changes in sleep, energy, appetite, concentration, and motivation.
If you have physical symptoms like these and find yourself feeling depressed much of the time for days or weeks, see your doctor.
Try To Eat Balanced Meals
Nourishing your body with whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, can help you get the nutrition you need and it could also help improve your symptoms.
You dont need to cut these out of your diet entirely, but try to balance them with nutrient-dense foods when possible.
Treatment For Anxiety And Depression
Medications and psychotherapy are effective for most people with depression and anxiety. Your primary care provider or psychiatrist can prescribe medications to relieve symptoms. Many people benefit from outpatient psychotherapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy.
Additional treatment can include changing your exercise or eating habits, using social supports, getting enough sleep, changing your responses to stress, avoiding alcohol and recreational drugs, and joining a support group.
If you have severe depression or anxiety, you may need to use crisis resources, like contacting a crisis hotline, going to the nearest emergency department for a mental health evaluation or participating in an inpatient or outpatient treatment program until your symptoms improve.
When To Seek Professional Help
If support from family and friends and positive lifestyle changes arent enough, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional. There are many effective treatments for depression, including:
Therapy. Consulting a therapist can provide you tools to treat depression from a variety of angles and motivate you to take the action necessary. Therapy can also offer you the skills and insight to prevent the problem from coming back.
Medication may be imperative if youre feeling suicidal or violent. But while it can help relieve symptoms of depression in some people, it isnt a cure and is not usually a long-term solution. It also comes with side effects and other drawbacks so its important to learn all the facts to make an informed decision.
Lifestyle Changes For Depression
Lifestyle changes, such as making art, journaling, exercising more, and practicing yoga or mindfulness, can also alleviate depression and the stress that can heighten it. Alternative treatments like massage, acupuncture, and light therapy may also help.
Diet changes, too, can uplift your mood by reducing inflammation and helping to ensure your brain gets the nutrients it needs to function at its best.
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Risk Factors For Depression
Depression can affect anyoneeven a person who appears to live in relatively ideal circumstances.
Several factors can play a role in depression:
- Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
- Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life.
- Personality: People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be more likely to experience depression.
- Environmental factors: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression.
When Your Boss Is Affecting Your Mental Health
Other studies show that people with bad bosses are more susceptible to chronic depression, stress and anxiety, all of which increase the risk of a lowered immune system. Some research even indicates that it takes people 22 months to restore their stress levels to a healthy range after working for a bad manager.
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Stressed Or Depressed Know The Difference
If you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, you are not alone it’s practically a fact of life on college campuses. A poll conducted by mtvU and the Associated Press in the spring of 2009 reported that 85% of students say they experience stress on a daily basis.
Stress is good if it motivates you but it’s bad if it wears you down. Many factors can contribute to the stress you experience, and this stress can cause changes in your body that affect your overall physical, mental, and emotional health.
Depression is more serious and long-lasting than stress, and requires a different kind of help. In a 2010 survey by the American College Health Association, 28% of college students reported feeling so depressed at some point they had trouble functioning, and 8% sought treatment for depression.
The good news is that depression is a highly treatable condition. However, it’s not something you can snap out of by yourself, so it’s important to get help. How do you tell the difference between stress and depression? Both can affect you in similar ways, but there are key differences. Symptoms of depression can be much more intense. They last at least two weeks. Depression causes powerful mood changes, such as painful sadness and despair. You may feel exhausted and unable to act.
Here are common signs of stress and depression. Which fits you best?
How Is Depression Diagnosed
To be diagnosed with depression, an individual must have five depression symptoms every day, nearly all day, for at least 2 weeks. One of the symptoms must be a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities. Children and adolescents may be irritable rather than sad.
If you think you may have depression, talk to your health care provider. Primary care providers routinely diagnose and treat depression and refer individuals to mental health professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists.
During the visit, your provider may ask when your symptoms began, how long they last, how often they occur, and if they keep you from going out or doing your usual activities. It may help to make some notes about your symptoms before your visit. Certain medications and some medical conditions, such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same depression symptoms. Your provider can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests.
Read NIMHs Tips for Talking With Your Health Care Provider to help prepare for and get the most out of your visit. For additional resources, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website.
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Do Something You Have Control Over
Regaining some control in the moment could help overwhelming feelings feel a little easier to cope with.
You dont have to take any major action, but accomplishing a short task, such as making your bed, taking a shower, or unloading the dishwasher, can help boost a sense of accomplishment. It could also offer a temporary distraction.
Symptoms Of Anxiety And Depression
According to the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States, anxiety and depression can share several common symptoms, including, but not limited to:
- Being easily fatigued
Other signs that a person may suffer from both anxiety disorder and depression include:
- Constant, irrational fear and worry
- Physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, headaches, hot flashes, sweating, abdominal pain, and/or difficulty breathing
- Changes in eating, either too much or too little
- Persistent feelings of sadness or worthlessness
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
- Inability to relax
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Is Eliminating Gluten All You Need To Do To Reverse Your Symptoms
Unfortunately, the secondary effects of gluten must be addressed as well. We utilize the term secondary because the primary thing that occurred was the ingestion of gluten with bad consequences. Following that a variety of secondary responses can occur including:
Such secondary effects require identification and treatment before full health can be regained. This is an area in which we specialize. Specialized lab tests exist that allow us to hone in on the exact secondary effect affecting you.
Do you have a better idea of what gluten can cause as far as symptoms are concerned? Did you see yourself or someone you know on the lists above?
We are happy to assist if you think you may be suffering from a gluten condition. If gluten is the culprit to your health problems, it should not be ignored.
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How Can I Support My Mental Health
Having depression or anxiety isnt a sign of weakness and theres no need to feel embarrassed. Keep active in your community, consider joining a support group and do things that boost your mental wellbeing.
Meeting other people who understand what youre going through can be helpful, especially if youre feeling isolated or lonely. You can find a local support group by asking your GP, or by contacting Mind, Anxiety UK, SANE or Rethink Mental Illness.
Keep a regular social routine
There are a range of services in the local community where you can meet new people and learn new skills. This will give you something to look forward to, and prevent you feeling isolated or alone. Your local Age UK can help you find an activity or group that will suit your interests.
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Ways To Identify The Conditions
If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression, one place to start is to speak with your primary care doctor. They can do an initial screening and may look for medical conditions that could be contributing to your symptoms. You will likely then be referred to a mental health professional for an official clinical diagnosis.
The mental health professional will use the standard reference manual for diagnosing recognized mental illnesses in the United States, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition .
The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for depression and each anxiety disorder are different. A diagnosis might be harder to make when anxiety and depression overlap.
Can Anxiety And Depression Be Treated Together
Yes. No one has to suffer from anxiety disorder or depression, and certainly not both. People with anxiety disorder should speak with a psychiatrist, therapist, or other healthcare professional about their symptoms and start treatment as soon as possible. If you suspect you have both anxiety and depression, Connolly recommends getting a thorough evaluation from a psychiatrist as a first step. “It’s really crucial for people with both to have a good assessment to rule out bipolar disorder,” she says.
Important: If you or someone you know needs help coping with anxiety or depression, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK . The Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they text to 741741.
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When Anxiety Is Too Much
Some forms of anxiety are routine while being helpful to raise awareness or keep you alert. Yet, anxiety at times may make things more challenging and even lead to reduced productivity and excessive worrying. Such aspects are similar for people with generalized anxiety disorder, but sometimes people may not realize they have a problem with anxiety. While some may experience anxiety, it doesnt mean a disorder is present. Anxiety impacts your life in different ways, including your relationships and how you socialize with others. Here examples of a disorder affecting daily activities:
- You feel really anxious about work and decide to stay home.
- You decide to skip socializing with friends because of anxiety.
- You find it hard to establish or maintain a relationship because of anxiety.
- You worry too much about things making it hard to focus during the day.
- You dont enjoy certain activities like you used to or have trouble engaging.
- You have trouble sleeping at night because anxiety keeps you awake.
It is one thing to go through different situations where anxiety may contribute to the outcome. You may also experience physical side effects or symptoms of anxiety that should be addressed. Common symptoms include:
- Restlessness, agitation, or tension
- Lack of concentrating due to worrying
- Difficulty sleeping, insomnia, and fatigue
- Physical discomforts such as an upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation, or gas
- Avoiding socializing with others
When Should You Get Help For Anxiety?
You Cannot Control Your Worrying
With anxiety disorders, worrying is excessive, meaning that you dont just worry about stressful events, like an upcoming exam or presentation. Instead, you constantly worry, and the worry is out of proportion to the present threat. For example, you may worry about the worst possible scenario in every situation.
For people suffering from anxiety, worrying seems to be out of control. Anxious thoughts can become quite intrusive so that a person cannot stop them, even if they find the thoughts to be upsetting.
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How Long Does It Take To Diagnose Depression
It can take weeks after depression begins before it is diagnosed. This is partly because people may be resistant to ask for help, says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, Professor Emeritus of psychology and management at Union College and chief in the Division of Psychology at Ellis Hospital, both in Schenectady, New York.
When a primary care doctor is looking into whether a person is depressed, they may initially think the symptoms could be caused by a physical illness, Nydegger explains. Often, a primary care doctor may be looking at the persons medications or whether something is going on physiologically, he says. They are trying to rule out medical causes as the reason for the symptoms, which is appropriate, but then it can take longer to get a diagnosis.
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Psychological Depression Symptoms Include:
- doing poorly at work
- difficulties with your family or home life
Its not always possible to tell that youre having symptoms of depression right away it can start and progress gradually. A lot of people dont realise theyre ill and try to carry on and cope with their symptoms. Sometimes it takes a friend or family member to notice that theres a problem.
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What Do I Do If Im Worried That A Relative Or Friend Has Depression Or Anxiety
If you think a friend or relative is experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, try to talk to them about it.
You may feel uncomfortable bringing up a sensitive topic, especially if the person you’re concerned about doesn’t often talk about their emotions. Explain why you are concerned but avoid diagnosing their problem or forcing solutions.
They may be unwilling to talk about it, but let them know that you’re willing to listen when they’re ready.
There are various ways you can help them, such as:
- Offer your support, listen and reassure them that how theyre feeling can be improved.
- Stay in touch, call or visit regularly. The risk of depression increases when people feel alone and unsupported.
- Encourage them to make an appointment with their GP or another health professional. Offer to go with them to appointments.
- Encourage them to keep active and healthy. Plan occasional outings to get them out of the house.
Supporting a relative or friend with depression can be both rewarding and stressful. There is information and support for carers where you can get help for the difficulties you experience. Contact Carers Direct, Carers UK and the Carers Trust for more information.
Reach Out To Loved Ones
Strong relationships can go a long way toward improving your outlook and emotional well-being when you live with mental health conditions.
Friends and family can:
- provide encouragement and emotional support
- join you in hobbies or activities that offer a positive distraction
- offer rides, grocery runs, and other more tangible forms of support when you have trouble getting things done
Simply knowing you have someone you trust in your life can often help you feel less alone, whether you actually want to talk about your symptoms or not.
Treating co-occurring depression and anxiety can sometimes be more complicated than treating one condition alone. Even when you get treatment for one condition, some symptoms might persist or seem to play off the others.
- You cant stop worrying about all the things going wrong in your life, or thinking about the ways things could get worse. These fears eventually drain your energy and motivation to keep trying, leaving you feeling low and hopeless.
- Social anxiety keeps you from connecting with people in the ways youd like. You want to make new friends but generally end up avoiding interactions instead. This leaves you feeling lonely, sad, and guilty, especially when thinking of those missed opportunities, but helpless to do anything differently.
A mental health care professional may recommend combining treatment approaches, since what helps ease depression symptoms may not always relieve anxiety symptoms, and vice versa.
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