Why It’s Important to Seek Help for Depression and Anxiety
At some point, everyone experiences down moods and extreme stress in their life. Nowadays it seems we hear of a new loss to suicide every time we turn on the TV or look through news sites. A combination of factors is giving mental health more visible, allowing for a more public conversation on seeking help.
It’s becoming more and more important to be able to recognize the signs that indicate what you may have thought was a mood has moved on to something more extreme, like anxiety or depression. It’s important to be able to recognize these symptoms in both oneself, as well as friends and family. Acknowledging the signs someone may be suffering from one of these diseases and encouraging them or yourself to seek help may just save a life.
Signs of Depression
There are different types of depression, but all should be treated as potentially life-threatening and requiring professional help. While not everyone experiences the same symptoms, in the same way, it’s crucial to know the basics of what to look for in both your loved ones and yourself. It is important to note that symptoms can manifest both in the mind and the body and be on the lookout for both.
- Feeling sad, empty, or anxious
- Feeling helpless, worthless, or guilty
- Losing interest in typically enjoyable activities
- Less energy
- Trouble concentrating
- Change in appetite (both increase and decrease can happen)
- Aches and pains
Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety can often go hand-in-hand with depression, but can also present entirely on its own. Whether experiencing these symptoms on their own or paired with those of depression, anxiety disorders are just as scary and potentially life-threatening as those of depression. Like depression, anxiety has both physical symptoms, as well as those that are in the mind, and it is important to be cognizant of both. If you’re concerned you or a loved one may be experiencing anxiety, keep an eye out for the following:
- Feeling nervous, restless, or tense
- A sense of danger, panic, or dread
- Difficulty focusing on anything but your worry
- Strong desire to avoid anxiety triggering activities
- Obsessive thoughts
- The compulsion to perform certain behaviors on repeat
- Rapid heart rate
- Rapid breathing or hyperventilating
- Increased sweating
- Muscle twitches or trembling
- Weakness and/or lethargy
- Gastrointestinal problems
When and How to Help
It is crucial to get anyone potentially suffering from depression or anxiety professional help as soon as possible. While it’s not always easy to tell if symptoms are being caused by a bad run of events or an underlying mental health issue, it’s best to seek the help of a mental health professional like Jan Rakoff, LCSW than to wait and hope for a turnaround.
If you are having a suicidal thought, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
If you are taking suicidal actions, call 911 right away.