How To Manage Stress Anxiety And Depression
Anxiety and depression go hand in hand. People with social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, anxiety disorder, or other similar disorders spend most of their time in a highly agitated state.
In recent years, mental health issues have been on the rise. This is because of the amount of competition that a person faces in their life.
People are more worried about their job, money, and other responsibilities today than they were before. These daily stresses have given rise to several health issues among people.
Not everyone is capable of managing and handling stress efficiently, and often, depression sets in.
The Bottom Line On Managing Depression And Anxiety
If youre experiencing any of these signs of depression or anxiety, know youre not alone and youre not stuck.
Discover more mental health resources that have your back top of mind.
And when youre ready to connect with a mental health professional, you may want to begin with an online psychiatry evaluation to secure personalized advice, counseling and if relevant and recommended, medication.
Why Are Anxiety And Depression Often Co
Its a cycle, says Sally R. Connolly, LCSW and therapist. When you get anxious, you tend to have this pervasive thinking about some worry or some problem. You feel bad about it. Then you feel like youve failed. You move to depression.
These two disorders anxiety and depression have a complicated relationship:
- The chance of acquiring depression is much higher when an anxiety disorder already exists. Nearly half of those with major depression also suffer from severe and persistent anxiety.
- People who are depressed often feel anxious and worried. One can easily trigger the other, with anxiety often preceding depression.
- People with post-traumatic stress disorder are especially prone to developing depression.
- A biological predisposition for both of these conditions if often at the root of an individuals battle. This seems to be true with anxiety disorders even more than with depression. Connolly explains, Some people are just worriers and pass it down.
People with an anxiety disorder should speak with a psychiatrist, therapist or other healthcare professional about their symptoms. Treatment for an anxiety disorder should not be delayed. If not caught in time, depression may find the door wide open for moving in and setting up house in those individuals.2
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Volunteering Can Be A Great Way To Do Both
Knock out a few birds with one stone spending time with other people and doing something new by volunteering and giving your time to someone or something else.
You may be used to receiving help from friends, but reaching out and providing help may actually improve your mental health more.
Bonus: People who volunteer experience physical benefits, too. This includes a
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
- Sleep disturbance
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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When To Get Professional Help For Depression
If youve taken self-help steps and made positive lifestyle changes and still find your depression getting worse, seek professional help. Needing additional help doesnt mean youre weak. Sometimes the negative thinking in depression can make you feel like youre a lost cause, but depression can be treated and you can feel better!
Dont forget about these self-help tips, though. Even if youre receiving professional help, these tips can be part of your treatment plan, speeding your recovery and preventing depression from returning.
Seeing A Psychologist About Depression
Licensed psychologists are highly trained mental health professionals with experience in helping patients recover from depression. Several different approaches to psychotherapy have been shown to help individuals recover from depression, especially those with mild to moderate depression. Psychotherapy can help people with depression to:
- Pinpoint life events that contribute to their depression and help them find ways to change, accept or adapt to those situations.
- Set realistic goals for the future.
- Identify distorted thought processes or unhelpful behaviors that contribute to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
- Develop skills to cope with symptoms and problems, and identify or prevent future episodes of depression.
Two of the most common evidence-based therapies for depression are cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy.
There is no one “right” approach to therapy. Therapists work closely with their patients to create tailored treatment plans to address their unique needs and concerns. Psychotherapy can help patients learn ways to better cope with stress and manage their symptoms of depression. These strategies can lead to recovery and enable patients to function at their best.
To find a licensed psychologist in your area, use our Psychologist Locator.
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Symptoms Of Depression And Anxiety
Both of these mental health conditions impact quality of life in very real and very persistent ways.
Major depression is one of the most common mental health challenges in the U.S. The latest estimates from the National Institutes of Health suggest that more than seven percent of Americans have had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
Worldwide, major depression affects more than 264 million people.
Feeling sad most or all of the time
Avoiding activities you used to enjoy
Difficulty falling or staying asleep, waking up too early or sleeping longer than usual
Eating much more or less than usual
Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
Having aches and pains, such as migraines or stomach aches, that reoccur and dont respond to treatment
Feeling worthless, irritable, frequently frustrated, helpless, guilty or suicidal
Subtypes of depression include seasonal affective disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
To be diagnosed with major depression, several of these symptoms of depression must coexist, last for two weeks or longer and seriously alter the persons lifestyle.
Tip : Challenge Negative Thinking
Do you feel like youre powerless or weak? That bad things happen and theres not much you can do about it? That your situation is hopeless? Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself and your expectations for the future.
When these types of thoughts overwhelm you, its important to remember that this is a symptom of your depression and these irrational, pessimistic attitudesknown as cognitive distortionsarent realistic. When you really examine them they dont hold up. But even so, they can be tough to give up. You cant break out of this pessimistic mind frame by telling yourself to just think positive. Often, its part of a lifelong pattern of thinking thats become so automatic youre not even completely aware of it. Rather, the trick is to identify the type of negative thoughts that are fueling your depression, and replace them with a more balanced way of thinking.
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Reach Out For Support
One of the best ways of overcoming anxiety and coping with depression is to make yourself feel safe and cared for. Find a good listener, someone who will listen to you attentively and empathetically without judging you or being distracted. Connecting with support via phone calls or social media is a great way to make yourself heard, but nothing can replace face-to-face quality time. The simple act of talking to someone face to face about how you feel can play a significant role in relieving depression and keeping it away.
Use Caution In Selecting The Initial Antidepressant Dose For Anxious Patients
The usual starting doses for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors were established primarily through studies of patients with major depression and may be too high for patients with significant levels of anxiety. Anxious patients may have increased anxiety, agitation or even panic attacks with standard starting doses. Starting at half the usual dose for four to six days before increasing to the typical starting dose can greatly improve tolerability and adherence.19
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Learn To Recognize Negative Thinking
Sometimes these thoughts can be obvious, such as times when you berate or criticize yourself. Other times, they can be more subtle. You might find yourself engaging in things like catastrophizing or all-or-nothing thinking.
Catastrophizing involves always anticipating negative outcomes. All-or-nothing thinking means that you think of things as either successes or failures with no in-between. Once you get better at recognizing these cognitive patterns, you can start working on some healthier replacements.
Tap Into Your Spirituality
Religion can be an impactful source of support for many people dealing with depression, but there is no need to join a church, synagogue, or mosque unless you wish to. Simple daily practices such as meditation or adding to a list of things you’re grateful can help boost mood and overall well-being.
Meditation can have a range of beneficial effects such as lowering stress levels and helping people to become more aware of their thoughts and reactions.
Research indicates that an intervention called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy , which combines elements of cognitive behavioral therapy with mindfulness meditation, can be helpful in treating depression and preventing future relapses of symptoms.
Studies also suggest that different types of mindfulness meditative practices can also be effective in the treatment of depression.
There are many different types of meditation, but you can get started with a simple meditative exercise with these steps:
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The Relationship Between Anxiety And Depression
While anxiety is generally considered a high-energy state and depression a low-energy state, anxiety and depression are more closely related than you might think. A person with depression often experiences a lot of anxiety, possibly even to the extent of having panic attacks.1
Anxiety disorders involve more than common nervousness and worry. They can cause terrifying fear about things other people wouldnt think twice about. Many people with anxiety disorders fully comprehend that their thoughts are irrational. But they still cant stop them. Feelings of losing inner control haunt them. This angst is one of the entry ways for depression.2
When To Seek Help
If youre having thoughts about harming yourself or others, you should seek immediate medical help. Stress and anxiety are treatable conditions and there are many resources, strategies, and treatments that can help. If youre unable to control your worries, and stress is impacting your daily life, talk to your primary care provider about ways to manage stress and anxiety.
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Alcohol Tobacco And Other Drugs
The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSAs 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.
Exercise Is Something You Can Do Right Now To Boost Your Mood
Your fatigue will improve if you stick with it. Starting to exercise can be difficult when youre depressed and feeling exhausted. But research shows that your energy levels will improve if you keep with it. Exercise will help you to feel energized and less fatigued, not more.
Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic. The most benefits for depression come from rhythmic exercisesuch as walking, weight training, swimming, martial arts, or dancingwhere you move both your arms and legs.
Add a mindfulness element, especially if your depression is rooted in unresolved trauma or fed by obsessive, negative thoughts. Focus on how your body feels as you movesuch as the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, or the feeling of the wind on your skin, or the rhythm of your breathing.
Pair up with an exercise partner. Not only does working out with others enable you to spend time socializing, it can also help to keep you motivated. Try joining a running club, taking a water aerobics or dance class, seeking out tennis partners, or enrolling in a soccer or volleyball league.
Take a dog for a walk.If you dont own a dog, you can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group. Youll not only be helping yourself but also be helping to socialize and exercise the dogs, making them more adoptable.
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How To Fight Depression Without Medication
Verywell / Bailey Mariner
For many people living with depression, prescription medications can be life-saving drugs. Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac and Zoloft , are the most widely prescribed medication for depression, and while they are often effective, they can have side effects and be expensive depending on your health insurance coverage.
There are many ways to counter some of the symptoms of depression that don’t involve prescription medications. If you have depression, you might like to try managing it naturally without medication or supplement your antidepressant with other options. If so, check out these natural alternatives and then talk to your doctor about which might make sense as part of your treatment regimen.
This article discusses some natural treatments that may help fight depression including lifestyle changes and supplements. It also covers other strategies you might try such as practicing mindfulness or enhancing your home environment.
Stress Is Not Anxiety Or Depression
Stress is not the same as anxiety or depression but for some people, being stressed for a long time can lead to anxiety or depression, and it can affect a persons physical health, particularly cardiovascular health.
When we talk about being stressed, it usually means were upset or tense about something thats happening in our lives. Stress is a normal part of daily life. Its a natural physical and mental response that is designed to help people cope effectively with emergencies.
Some stress can be a good thing. It can help us get motivated to get things done, but health problems from stress happen when it is regular and doesnt let up.
Depression In Children And Adolescents
Depression is common in adolescents. In 2014, an estimated 2.8 million children age 12-17 in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode, according to NIMH.
Adolescents are often moody. But if your child is extremely irritable, has ongoing problems with motivation, or has persistent sadness that lasts two weeks or more, it’s a good idea to have him or her evaluated for depression.
While antidepressant medications can be effective for children and adolescents, they can have side effects in young people, including an increased risk of suicidal thoughts. For that reason, many parents and healthcare providers prefer to try treating children with psychotherapy first. Both CBT and IPT are effective treatments for young people with depression. Studies also show that a combination of antidepressant medication and cognitive behavior therapy is highly effective in treating youth depression.
The good news is that most kids recover from depression. Still, research shows that people who have depression as children are at a higher risk of having a recurrence later in adolescence or adulthood. Both CBT and IPT can help kids recognize the signs of a depressive episode, so that they can monitor their symptoms and get help quickly if they experience a recurrence.
The American Psychological Association gratefully acknowledges Laura Mufson, PhD, Lynn Bufka, PhD, and C. Vaile Wright, PhD for contributing to this fact sheet.
Accept Anxiety To Deal With It
Sometimes, though, trying to find the upside of a stressful situation can be hard.
Some situations are what they are and there are no ways to fool yourself into thinking about them differently.
In that case its better just to accept the situation to cope with anxiety and stress, rather than fighting it.
Acceptance doesnt mean its right, that youre happy about it or that you ignore it.
It also doesnt mean that you give up.
Rather its acceptance that something cant be changed and it is wasted effort trying to work out how it can be changed, or how it could have been different.
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Small Steps Big Impact
If a person feels sustained, intense, feelings of sadness or loss of interest in activities, they may have clinical depression. People also refer to this condition as major depressive disorder.
However, there are small steps you can take to help you gain more agency in your life and improve your sense of well-being.
Read on to learn how to incorporate these strategies in a way that makes sense for you.
If Youre Up For Exercise Consider A Walk Around The Block
On days when you feel as if you cant get out of bed, exercise may seem like the last thing youd want to do. However, exercise and physical activity can help to lower symptoms of depression and boost energy levels.
future depressive episodes.
Even when you have the feeling that youre unable to or have very little energy, see if youd be willing to do the opposite of what your mood is telling you to do, such as curling up in bed. Instead, set a small goal for yourself, such as taking a walk around the block.
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