Ways To Fight Anxiety And Depression During The Pandemic
Depression and anxiety can be serious, but both conditions are treatable. Vannorsdall emphasizes four ways to maximize your mental health and keep anxiety and depression from taking over:
When the pandemic started, many peoples days felt unstructured and monotonous, but more recently, thats changing. Were getting back to a new sense or normal and falling back into a structure, says Vannorsdall. Compared to 2020, we are more used to being productive at home and have developed a pattern to our day with routines for work and school. For those who are struggling, taking simple steps to regain some structure can restore a sense of equilibrium, she says. Get up at the same time each day. Get dressed. Give yourself at least one accomplishable goal to complete each day.
The mind-body connection is essential. Engage in self-care, Vannorsdall advises. Prioritize good sleep, good nutrition, fresh air and exercise. Find a safe way to socialize and stay connected with friends and family.
Substance overuse is a risk among people who have anxiety and depression, Vannorsdall says, adding that substance use disorder can become a serious problem in and of itself.
Anxious Depression: What You Need To Know
Mental Health Education » Anxious Depression: What You Need to Know
Major depressive disorder can take different forms, with recent studies finding that certain cases of depression are marked by symptoms of anxiety, as well. Individuals contending with this form of depression, dubbed anxious depression, face a shared set of challenges. Read on to find out more about this newly discovered variation on a mental health staple.
Who Can Diagnose Anxiety Disorders
If your provider finds no signs of physical illness, they may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist. These mental health professionals specialize in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. They may use specially designed interview and assessment tools to figure out if you have an anxiety disorder. Typically, the provider bases a diagnosis on:
- Your reported symptoms, including how intense they are and how long they last.
- Discussion of how the symptoms interfere with your daily life.
- The providers observation of your attitude and behavior.
Providers also consult the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . The American Psychiatric Association publishes the DSM-5. Its the standard reference manual for diagnosing mental illnesses.
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How To Turn Anxiety And Depression Into Motivation Ive Got A Secret With Robin Mcgraw Podcast
Learn how to turn anxiety and depression into motivation when Robin McGraw welcomes NFL insider and mental health advocate Jay Glazer as her guest on the Ive Got a Secret! with Robin McGraw podcast.
If you suffer in silence, you feel hurt, says Glazer, noting he wants to take the shame out of anxiety and depression.
How To Get A Clinical Diagnosis
Theres no single test that can diagnose depression or anxiety. Instead, your doctor will likely conduct a physical exam and a depression or anxiety screening test. For this, theyll ask you a series of questions that help them get a better insight into what youve been experiencing.
If the results arent clear or if your doctor suspects the symptoms may be the result of another condition, they may order tests to rule out underlying issues. Blood tests can check your thyroid, vitamin, and hormone levels.
In some cases, general practitioners will refer you to a mental health expert, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, if they dont feel equipped to properly manage your symptoms and conditions or if they suspect youre experiencing more than one condition.
Although depression and anxiety are two separate conditions, they share many of the same treatments. A combination of these may be used to treat both conditions at the same time.
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Take Some Steps On Your Own
Get organized. “Less clutter in your physical surroundings, email inbox, and to-do bucket will help your mind be more at ease,” Braslow says. You donât have to tackle it all at once. Make a plan to work on one area at a time.
Make new goals. Is there something youâve always wanted to do, or a place you want to go? Create a step-by-step, realistic plan to make it happen.
Do something meaningful. Get involved in an activity that feels important to you. It may be athletic, political, spiritual, or a social cause where you can volunteer. Look for something that gives you a sense of purpose.
Be creative. Direct your focus into something constructive. Rediscover your strengths. If you have a long-lost talent or interest, dive back into it. Braslow suggests trying poetry, music, photography, or design.
Read a good book. It’s a great way to relax. Thereâs even research that shows that reading books on spirituality or psychology may boost your mood.
How Is Depression Different From Anxiety
Depression is different from anxiety. Rather than feeling anxious and nervous, feelings of gloom and melancholy overwhelm. Feeling sad or down after experiencing a loss or disappointment is an emotion that everyone feels at one time or another. But when low mood and sadness is severe and lasts for long periods of time, it could be due to depression.
There are two main types of depression: Major Depressive Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder . While the signs and symptoms of both are similar, the intensity and duration differ. Symptoms of both Major Depressive Disorder and dysthymia include:
- Sleep disruptions
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Mental Markers Of Depression
People with depression may:
- Be hopeless, assuming that nothing positive will happen in the future for themselves, for others, or for the world
- Believe it is not worth trying to think or feel differently, because of this hopelessness
- Feel worthless, as if who they are or what they do is not valuable
- Think about death due to a persistent belief that life is not worth living or that the individual is a burden on others. In cases of moderate to severe depression, more specific suicidal thoughts can be present.
In major depressive disorder , these types of thoughts are persistent most of the day and more days than not for weeks on end. If a person vacillates between a very low and very high mood state, then a diagnosis of bipolar disorder may apply. For any variant of a mood disorder, the low mood state is likely to be characterized by the type of thinking described above.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
What Are Symptoms Of Anxiety And Depression
It is not uncommon for people with depression to experience anxiety, along with symptoms such as nervousness, irritability, and trouble sleeping. Likewise anxious people can become depressed and experience low energy or a loss of interest in life.
People suffering from anxiety or depression can have a broad range of experiences- some may have only mild symptoms of anxiety and depression, while others may experience debilitating anxiety attacks or severe depression. Symptoms may also fluctuate, from difficult episodes to periods of relief.
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A More Anxious Shade Of Depression
To receive an official major depressive disorder diagnosis, one must meet a certain number of symptomatic criteria. As a result, differing depressive profiles can exist, at times in stark opposition to one another. Anxious depression is one such suggested profile, with one of its definitive features being comorbidity with certain symptoms of anxiety.
Anxious depression is generally applied to cases where the patient has been diagnosed with depression, in addition to symptoms of anxiety. Research has shown that many cases of major depression include symptoms of anxiety, as well.
Patients who, on the other hand, have been officially diagnosed with both anxiety and depression, would be considered having a comorbidity of anxiety and depression, instead of anxious depression.
The FDA has recognized the ability of treatments such as Deep TMS to safely and effectively bring about anxious depression symptom relief. Research on anxious depression suggests applying this definition to cases where the criteria of an official major depression diagnosis have been met, as well as the existence of subthreshold anxiety. Studies continue to suggest referring to cases where an anxiety diagnosis and a depression diagnosis are both given, as comorbidity.
Build Up Evidence That You Are Amazing
We’re constantly achieving goals, even if we don’t realize it. Every day, we achieve things we set out to do. We got out of bed, we brushed our teeth, we went to work. Now you’re reading this! Those are all decisions you made, and the result of actions you took. So now see them as evidence.
In other words, look for proof that you’re capable. That you can achieve what you set out to achieve.
Build up your case. Convince yourself that you can do it.
Let’s take public speaking as an example. Say you have to give a presentation next month, and you hate public speaking. Maybe you’ve never done it before, or you haven’t been onstage since you forgot all your lines in your eighth grade Christmas pageant. Either way, just the idea of it makes you shake.
No matter how scary it is, though, I bet you’ve got some skills in your back pock-et. You know how to speak to people, one-on-one. You know the subject backwards and forwards. You’ve done hard things before.
Collect those things. Generate as many examples of your own competence as you can. Build your case. Find evidence that you can do this. No action or piece of evidence is too small.
You know what? The more you look, the more you’ll find.
By starting to look for evidence of your own awesomeness,youre programming your Reticular Activating System, a complex system in your brain, to filter information differently. Its like a lawyer gathering evidence for a case. Make sure its on your side!
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Combinations That Cause Misery
The incidence of developing depression in addition to an anxiety disorder is high almost half of all people with major depression also suffer from severe and persistent anxiety. Depression and anxiety are mental illnesses that are frequently co-occurring with substance abuse such as alcohol and drug addiction. The relationship between the disorders is bi-directional, meaning people who abuse substances are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, and vice versa.
The three tend to work together creating a cycle of suffering. Substance abuse can not only put you in a depressed state but the process of obtaining and taking a substance often causes anxiety and shame which leads to further depression. A depressed state can cause people to try and escape with the only way that they know how, through substance abuseand the cycle continues.
How Can I Best Cope With An Anxiety Disorder
There are several steps you can take to cope with anxiety disorder symptoms. These strategies can also make your treatment more effective:
- Explore stress management: Learn ways to manage stress, such as through meditation.
- Join support groups: These groups are available in-person and online. They encourage people with anxiety disorders to share their experiences and coping strategies.
- Get educated: Learn about the specific type of anxiety disorder you have so you feel more in control. Help friends and loved ones understand the disorder as well so they can support you.
- Limit or avoid caffeine: Many people with anxiety disorder find that caffeine can worsen their symptoms.
- Talk to your healthcare provider: Your provider is your partner in your care. If you feel like treatment isnt working or have questions about your medication, contact your provider. Together, you can figure out how to best move forward.
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Who Is At Risk For Anxiety Disorders
A mix of genetic and environmental factors can raise a persons risk for developing anxiety disorders. You may be at higher risk if you have or had:
- Certain personality traits, such as shyness or behavioral inhibition feeling uncomfortable with, and avoiding, unfamiliar people, situations or environments.
- Stressful or traumatic events in early childhood or adulthood.
- Family history of anxiety or other mental health conditions.
- Certain physical conditions, including thyroid problems and heart arrhythmias .
Anxiety disorders occur more often in women. Researchers are still studying why that happens. It may come from womens hormones, especially those that fluctuate throughout the month. The hormone testosterone may play a role, too men have more, and it may ease anxiety. Its also possible that women are less likely to seek treatment, so the anxiety worsens.
What Is It Like To Have High
People living with high-functioning anxiety and depression usually do not fit the stereotype of either disorder. In fact, many appear to be overachievers. The anxiety can serve as an energizer, driving the person towards achieving his or her goals. Its later, when in private, that the symptoms of depression tend to emerge. Feelings of self-doubt and self-criticism, fatigue, helplessness or guilt, moodiness, and a desire to avoid interaction with others become intensified. Because the stereotypical image of depression or anxiety doesnt match up with what people living with high-functioning anxiety and depression look like, it is hard to spot, even for sufferers to recognize in themselves. However, the symptoms of high-functioning anxiety and depression are the same as for non-high functioning anxiety and depression. The main difference is the ability to suppress or diminish the appearance of disruptions in life activities.
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Physical Signs Of Anxiety
The physical state of anxiety can be conceptualized overall as that of heightened arousal. Specific characteristics include:
- Difficulty concentrating due to state of agitation or racing thoughts
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep due to racing thoughts or other physical symptoms
Depression is primarily characterized by changes in usual physical processes from baseline, such as:
- Difficulty with concentration, focus, and memory due to ruminative thought processes or other physical symptoms
- Lack of energy
- Loss of appetite or a significant increase in appetite
- Moving or talking more slowly than usual
- Physical achiness without cause
- Sleeping much more or much less than is typical due to ruminative thought processes or low energy
When Is My Anxiety Harmful
Identifying what sort of anxiety youre dealing with can be somewhat challenging because how ones body reacts to perceived danger can be entirely different compared to another person.
Its likely you heard anxiety as a blanket term for that general feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease. Its often a feeling grown in response to an upcoming event that has an uncertain outcome.
Every person deals with it at one time or another, because its part of our brains response to a perceived danger even if that danger isnt real.
That said, there are times anxiety can get serious and turn into anxiety attacks that initially feel manageable and then gradually build up over a few hours.
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