Justine moved in with her sister Claire because she is going through a difficult time. In an attempt to cheer her up, Claire makes Justine’s favorite meal—a meatloaf. The savory smells fill the air, and the whole family comes to the table. As they sit down to dinner, Justine takes a bite but immediately spits it back out. “It tastes like ashes,” she says. Disappointed, Justine and Claire both sob uncontrollably. Far from being rude or inconsiderate, Justine is portraying the realities of living life with depression. This mental illness can turn the world upside down—what was once delicious becomes disgusting, literally. Justine’s story is a part of the movie Melancholia, but the experience of depression is more than a storyline for many people.
Far from the blues, far from jitters, anxiety and depression are severe mental illnesses. The severity and longevity of their symptoms can keep people from functioning well in their everyday lives. And yet, effective treatment options are available. Experienced counselors can often find a plan that brings their clients relief and allows them to refocus upon what truly matters to them.
If anxiety and/or depression is making daily living harder, then consider reaching out for help. You are not alone. The counselors and therapists at Thriveworks Chattanooga offer treatment for depression and anxiety, and we have seen many people find the relief they so desperately desire.
What Exactly Are Anxiety and Depression?
Anxiety will affect almost 25 percent of adults in the US, and approximately 15 percent of adults will experience depression. These are the two most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses, and while they are separate, they frequently co-occur. As many as half of people who receive one diagnosis will also receive the other at some point in their lives. What is it like to live with anxiety, depression, or both?
Misinformation about anxiety and depression abound. Well-meaning people may describe them as the jitters or the blues. Loved ones may offer advice about snapping out of it, but anxiety and depression are not phases. They are mental illnesses that disrupt people’s lives with the following symptoms:
- Disinterest in activities that were formerly enjoyable.
- Plaguing, negative emotions such as hopelessness, sadness, and emptiness.
- Psychosomatic pain (physical pain that is rooted in psychological injury).
- Persistent thoughts of death and/or suicide attempts.
If these symptoms are keeping you from the life you once lived, consider reaching out for help. Anxiety and depression are serious and can lead to loss of life when left untreated, but effective treatments are available. Just as someone diagnosed with a life-threatening disease would work closely with their physician, so people who are battling anxiety and depression can work closely with a mental health professional. It takes effort to commit to treatment, but the effort is often well worth it. Anxiety and depression can exact a high price.
The Potential Effects of Anxiety and Depression
People’s minds and bodies are wonderfully interwoven. When the mind and body both experience health, this connection is beautiful. However, when people’s minds are ill, their body may follow. Many people experience just that as they battle anxiety and depression—the side effects are not all psychological. Many of the problems anxiety and depression bring into people’s lives are physical. For example,
- Hypersomnia or Insomnia – Irregular sleep patterns are a common side effect. Some experience them as sleeping all the time (hypersomnia). Others experience the sleep disruption as an inability to sleep (insomnia).
- Fatigue – This can result from the sleep disruptions, but a lack of energy can stand alone as well. Anxiety and depression can leave people physically depleted and lethargic. Accomplishing tasks often becomes far more difficult.
- Difficulty Focusing – Depression and anxiety can stir negative thinking patterns that make focusing difficult. Tasks that should be simple become complicated. Clarity is hard to grasp.
- Disrupted Eating Habits – Sometimes, anxiety and depression increase an individual’s appetite so that they want to eat all the time. Sometimes, like with Justine, anxiety and depression make eating more difficulty and literally change people’s taste buds.
- Indecisiveness – Making a clear decision when fighting anxiety or depression can feel impossible. Even the smallest choice can leave people stuck instead of moving forward with their lives.
These effects are severe, but they are not inevitable. Effective treatments are not magic or easy, but when people commit to a plan and work with a therapist, they often experience relief.
Therapy for Anxiety and Depression at Thriveworks Chattanooga, TN
The best treatment for anxiety and/or depression is often a multi-faceted approach that involves both talk therapy and medication. Combining these two approaches often set people up for long-term relief. Therapists may prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI). Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a common and effective form of talk therapy that helps people focus their attention upon true, positive thoughts as well as work to heal underlying wounds that may be contributing to the mental illness.
When you want to meet with a mental health professional to talk about treating your anxiety or depression, know that the therapists and counselors at Thriveworks Chattanooga want to meet with you. When you call us, you may have an appointment the following day. We work with many forms of insurance, and we offer evening and weekend appointments.
Call Thriveworks Chattanooga today. Let’s work together.