As part of the natural experience of life all people can experience sadness over a present life circumstance or worry over what could happen. Problems arise when our sadness and or worry become overwhelming, and begin interfering with our everyday functioning. Once our daily functioning is significantly impacted by overwhelming worry and pervasive sadness a person may be clinically diagnosed.
Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders. They affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives.
This ongoing worry and tension may be accompanied by physical symptoms, such as restlessness, feeling on edge or easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension or problems sleeping.
Anxiety disorders can cause people to try to avoid situations that trigger or worsen their symptoms. Job performance, schoolwork and personal relationships can be affected.
There are several types of anxiety disorders:
Generalized anxiety disorder Panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, specific phobias, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder and selective mutism.
Depression commonly manifests physically, through stomach pains, headaches, disrupted or excessive sleep, and motor control difficulty. While the causes of depression are unknown, a predisposition for it runs in families and it can be triggered by trauma and adverse life circumstances. Depression is diagnosed more frequently in women and tends to display differently in women than in men.
People tend to suffer higher rates of depression after giving birth and in late fall. Depression and anxiety often exacerbate each other and people with depression commonly have difficulty concentrating on tasks and conversations. Some people abuse alcohol and drugs or overeat as a way of coping, causing them to develop other medical problems. Depressed people are also at increased risk for self-harm.
Depression is a mental illness which is characterized by prolonged emotional symptoms including:
Diagnosing depression and / or anxiety involves a psychiatric evaluation and physical tests to determine whether a person’s symptoms are actually being caused by a different disorder. A person must have been experiencing symptoms for at least two weeks to be diagnosed with either anxiety or depression. Every case is unique however and requires individual attention, but there are a number of effective complementary ways of treating depression and / or anxiety including:
- Talk therapy
- Adopting a healthier lifestyle