Depression & Anxiety

in Real Talk
It is possible to have both depression and anxiety at the same time. Many people with anxiety go through bouts of occasional depression. Symptoms of depression and anxiety often co-occur in certain disorders.
In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health,1 major depression often accompanies panic disorder and other anxiety disorders. While depression and anxiety have distinct clinical features, there is some overlap of symptoms. For example, in both depression and anxiety, irritability, decreased concentration and impaired sleep are common.
It is not uncommon to experience occasional and brief periods of feeling down and anxious. These episodes are not usually a cause for concern, and once passed, you are able to resume life as usual. If you suffer from depression and anxiety and your symptoms are present for more than two weeks, frequently recur, or are interfering with how you live your life, it’s time to get help.
We’ve all felt “sad” or “blue” at one time or another. Rare bouts of depression2  that last only a few days are usually not a problem for most people. But, clinical depression—the type that people seek help for—is a different story.
The DSM 53 uses the term “major depressive disorder” to classify and diagnose clinical depression. Major depressive episodes are the hallmark features of this type of depression. These episodes are characterized by extreme symptoms that interfere with daily functioning.
* Feeling sad or anxious often or all the time
* Not wanting to do activities that used to be fun
* Feeling irritable‚ easily frustrated‚ or restless
* Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
* Waking up too early or sleeping too much
* Eating more or less than usual or having no appetite
* Experiencing aches, pains, headaches, or stomach problems that do not improve with treatment
* Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
* Feeling tired‚ even after sleeping well
* Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
* Thinking about suicide or hurting yourself
What Causes Depression?
The exact cause of depression is unknown. It may be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.2 Everyone is different‚ but the following factors may increase a person’s chances of becoming depressed:
* Having blood relatives who have had depression
* Experiencing traumatic or stressful events, such as physical or sexual abuse, the death of a loved one, or financial problems
* Going through a major life change‚ even if it was planned
* Having a medical problem, such as cancer, stroke, or chronic pain
* Taking certain medications. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about whether your medications might be making you feel depressed.
* Using alcohol or drugs
What you can do to feel better
When you’re depressed, it can feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. But there are many things you can do to lift and stabilize your mood. The key is to start with a few small goals and slowly build from there, trying to do a little more each day. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there by making positive choices for yourself.
To cope with depression
Reach out to other people. Isolation fuels depression, so reach out to friends and loved ones, even if you feel like being alone or don’t want to be a burden to others. The simple act of talking to someone face-to-face about how you feel can be an enormous help. The person you talk to doesn’t have to be able to fix you. They just need to be a good listener—someone who’ll listen attentively without being distracted or judging you.
Get moving. When you’re depressed, just getting out of bed can seem daunting, let alone exercising. But regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication in countering the symptoms of depression. Take a short walk or put some music on and dance around. Start with small activities and build up from there.
Eat a mood boosting diet. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, sugar and refined carbs.
And increase mood-enhancing nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids.

Find ways to engage again with the world. Spend some time in nature, care for a pet, volunteer, pick up a hobby you used to enjoy (or take up a new one). You won’t feel like it at first, but as you participate in the world again, you will start to feel better.

Written by lala

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