In the movie, Melancholia, Claire desperately wanted to help her sister, Justine, who has been fighting depression. Claire invited her sister to live with her and her family so that Justine could rest and recover. One evening, Claire arranged to have Justine’s favorite meal for dinner—meatloaf.
The family sat down to eat while the delicious smell lingered in the air. Everyone watched as Justine picked up her fork and took the first bite. Immediately, however, she spit it back out. “It tastes like ashes,” she explained and burst into tears. Depression has robbed Justine of so much, even her taste buds.
No, Justine was not being rude or inconsiderate. Depression is a complex mental illness, and many loved ones try to help their family members or friends who struggle with it. However, fighting depression is not as simple as cheering someone up.
Depression is far more than the blues. Anxiety is more than a case of the jitters. These are two of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses in the United States, and yet, myths and misunderstandings about them still abound.
The severity and longevity of their symptoms often may it difficult, if not impossible, for people to function on a daily basis. And yet, treatment options are available for them. More and more people are working with a therapist or counselor to find the help they need—to find relief.
When anxiety and depression make daily life more difficult, it may be time to reach out for help. The professionals at Thriveworks Counseling in Indianapolis have helped many people who are suffering with anxiety and/or depression. You are not alone.
Anxiety and Depression: What Are They?
As many as one in four adults will be diagnosed with anxiety in their lifetimes in the United States, and as many as one in six will be diagnosed with depression. While they are distinct and separate illnesses, they often accompany one another.
About half of all people who receive one diagnosis will receive the other in their lifetime. They are the most common mental illnesses in the US. What does it feel like to wrestle with depression, anxiety, or both?
“Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.” – Jodi Picoult, Sing You Home
One of the best ways to fight myths and misunderstandings about depression and anxiety is with facts. Anxiety and depression are not the normal cycles of ups and downs that all people experience. They are mental illnesses that have proper symptoms and diagnostics. In fact, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) gives a detailed description of each.
The DSM-5 defines Generalized Anxiety Disorder DSM-5 300.02 (F41.1) as follows:
- Experiencing acute anxiety and worry on more days than not and for a minimum of six months.
- Experiencing complications with being able to manage anxiety and worry—an inability to control them.
Children will also experience one of the following symptoms. Adults will also experience a minimum of three of the following:
- Sleep disturbances (insomnia or hypersomnia)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty staying on task
- Muscle tension
- The fallout from these symptoms will impair people’s ability to function socially and professionally.
- Another substance or medication or medical condition cannot cause these symptoms in order for generalized anxiety to be diagnosed.
When therapists diagnose Major Depressive Disorder, they must work closely with each client. Many of the symptoms for depression are gauged in relationship to what people normally feel, and clinicians rely upon their clients to describe their experiences and inform the processes.
- Some people experience insomnia during depression while others are lethargic.
- Some people want to eat all the time while others (like Claire from Melancholia) have difficulty taking a single bite.
- Some people experience emotional pain as physical pain. This is called psychosomatic pain.
- Others have no physical symptoms.
When diagnosing depression, trust between the patient and the therapist is of utmost importance as these symptoms must be explored with great care and sensitivity.
The DSM-5 gives these symptoms, and for Major Depressive Disorder to be diagnosed, people will experience at least five. These symptoms will persist for most of the day, each day for at least two weeks. Major Depressive Disorder can last for a few weeks or even a few years. These symptoms also disturb an individual’s ability to function in their daily life.
- Difficult and acute feelings such as sadness, worthlessness, guilt, hopelessness, self-hatred, emptiness, or despair.
- Lost interested in everyday life—in particular, formerly enjoyable activities are no longer fun.
- Fluctuations in weight and appetite (gain or loss).
- Different sleep patterns (e.g., insomnia or hypersomnia).
- Diminished activity levels.
- The loss of concentration or the ability to think clearly.
- Suicide idealization or thoughts about dying.
Counseling for Depression and Anxiety at Thriveworks Counseling in Indianapolis, IN
The staff at Thriveworks Counseling in Indianapolis offers holistic care and multi-faceted treatment to our anxiety and depression clients. Often, the best care involves multiple approaches. One treatment may be medication— serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Medication may allow clients to experience relief from their symptoms so they can heal.
Another approach to treatment may be a talk-based therapy such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). Such therapies may equip clients with healthy coping mechanisms and unearth the root cause of the illness so that deep healing can be applied.
If you are ready to meet with a therapist, the mental health professionals at Thriveworks in Indianapolis are ready to meet with you. When you contact us, you may have your first appointment within 24 hours. We accept many forms of insurance, and we offer evening and weekend appointments.
Let’s get started. Contact our office today.