When it comes to any medical condition, the first step on the road to recovery is establishing the correct diagnosis. This is also true for depression and anxiety disorders. However, complex mental health conditions such as these often cannot be diagnosed in an easy and straightforward way—for example, there is no simple blood test to tell if a patient has depression or anxiety.
Instead, a doctor must rely on a series of probing questions about the patient’s symptoms to assess whether or not he or she suffers from a depression or anxiety disorder. A patient may be in pristine health from a physical perspective, yet he or she may be suffering from an intense internal turmoil at the same time.
Understanding Anxiety and Its Symptoms
As with many mental illnesses, anxiety can vary from person to person. In fact, there are multiple anxiety disorders, all with different criteria for diagnosis. That said, the following are common symptoms to look out for when it comes to anxiety:
- Constant worry or fear
- Difficulty sleeping
- Heart palpitations
- Fatigue, trouble concentrating
- Inability to control fear
- Fast heart beat or breathing
These symptoms are often at the forefront of different forms of anxiety, from generalized anxiety disorder to social anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and specific phobias. Again, one might experience a different combination of these symptoms and of varying severity than another person with anxiety. The good news is, in any case, a counselor at Thriveworks Columbia can work to help you manage your anxiety and, in turn, live better.
Understanding Depression and Its Symptoms
Depression is characterized by severe and intense sadness or despair. Additionally, those with depression lose interest in their day to day and can’t function properly at work or school. Here are a few other symptoms to know and look out for:
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Loss of energy
- Suicidal thoughts or ideation
Just as with anxiety, the symptoms one experiences might not match up exactly with the symptoms someone else experiences. There are multiple depression disorders and no case is exactly the same. Therefore, your Howard counselor will assess your situation before coming up with your treatment plan.
What Causes Anxiety and Depression?
As with the diagnosis of these disorders, the ultimate causes of depression and anxiety are complex and varied. Whilst scientists have been studying the two conditions for decades, there is still no complete understanding of the biological processes behind their development. There are, however, several potential causes of depression:
- Nature: If your parents (or siblings) have suffered with depression or anxiety, you are more likely to develop it as well—in fact, your risk for developing depression is two or three times greater if close family members have it.
- Nurture: Your risk of developing depression and anxiety is also influenced by your environment, especially your environment as a child. Traumatic events such as the loss of a parent at a young age can lead to the development of a mental illness. Trauma experienced later in life can also lead to depression and anxiety.
There are other causes of anxiety and depression. The important thing is that you focus on what is in your control and that’s building a healthy life. So, do what you can to preserve your mental health—engage in self-care and seek professional help when you need some additional assistance.
Schedule Counseling for Anxiety and Depression at Thriveworks Columbia
Identifying the root cause of the disorder is a clear goal for any counseling treatment program. Once the root cause has been addressed, your therapist is more likely to succeed in helping you manage the disorder. That said, sometimes there isn’t a clear cause—in this case, your counselor can still help you to better manage your depression or anxiety and live a happier, healthier life.
At Thriveworks Columbia in Howard County, we have therapists and psychologists who specialize in helping clients with depression and anxiety. If you are experiencing symptoms of either or both depression and anxiety, give us a call today to arrange your first session with one of our experts. We work together with our clients, in a holistic manner, to help them heal.