With almost 40 million Americans receiving a diagnosis of anxiety each year, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US. As many as half of those who suffer from anxiety will also fight depression at some point in their lives. Yes, anxiety and depression are common, and yet, myths and misunderstandings about what they are and how to treat them persist. Anyone who has struggled can tell. They have heard advice like…
- “Do you ever get outside into the fresh air and sunshine? I try to spend an hour working in my yard, and that helps me a lot.”
- “Have you tried breathing and relaxation techniques? Next time you feel stressed, breathe in and out to a four count.”
- “Come to yoga with me! That’s how I stay sane.”
- “Could a good night’s sleep help? Or a vacation? Or a spa day?”
While the above self-care activities can help people with anxiety and depression, these illnesses often require additional treatment. When friends and family members offer these suggestions, they almost always do so with an earnest and sincere desire to help. No one likes seeing their loved ones struggle. The problem is that anxiety and depression are not the normal ups and downs that everyone experiences in life. They are serious mental illnesses, and treating them often requires the supervision of a mental health professional—just as serious illnesses, like cancer, requires a physician’s care. There are many, many treatment options available to those suffering with anxiety or depression, and a skilled therapist can often help them find the right diagnosis and the right treatment.
The anxiety and depression therapists and psychologists at Thriveworks have worked with many clients who are facing these illnesses. We understand the physical and emotional toll these mental illnesses take, and we understand the treatment options that are available. You are not alone. If you think you could benefit from working with an anxiety therapist or depression therapist, reach out to Thriveworks Counseling in Jacksonville, FL today. We’ll get you scheduled.
Diagnosing Anxiety and Depression: What Are the Symptoms?
In the famous Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling creates decrepit creatures called dementors. These creatures bring darkness and coldness wherever they go, and anyone unfortunate enough to be near them has the happiness sucked out of them. Their victims are left without hope and without souls. Where did Rowling draw her inspiration for such terrible creatures? Depression.
Rowling’s dementors are possibly the most realistic description of what it is like to live with depression. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) also gives a thorough outline of the various ways that depression can manifest itself in a person’s life. Far from a singular diagnosis, depression comes in many forms:
- Major Depressive Disorder is what most people think of when they think of depression. Symptoms can leave people with disrupted eating and sleeping patterns. People may want to sleep all the time (hypersomnia), or they may have difficulty sleeping (insomnia). They may want to eat all the time or be unable to eat. Major Depressive Disorder also means that people will feel difficult emotions such as despair, emptiness, hopelessness, and/or sadness. People often lose interest in once enjoyed activities and relationships. They may even experience recurring thoughts of death or suicide. These symptoms will last for at least two weeks.
- Minor Depression is exactly as it sounds—it comes with the same symptoms as Major Depressive Disorder but the severity and longevity of the symptoms are not as acute.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder is a form of Major Depressive Disorder that recurs frequently and for a longer period of time. For Persist Depressive Disorder to be diagnosed, symptoms must persist for at least two years.
- Adjustment Disorder can be triggered by significant life changes such as divorce, illness, relocation, job loss, or career advancement. The stress from these adjustments can cause depression symptoms similar to Major Depressive Disorder. Treatment for Adjustment Disorder is often focused upon helping people process the change emotionally—grieving the losses and accepting the future.
- Bipolar Disorder can cause extreme swings between depression and mania. A swing toward depression induces the same symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder. A swing toward mania can induce risky behavior within an individual’s personal and professional life. People often experience a frenetic energy that can be euphoric or irritable. They may injure themselves because of the poor choices they make.
Just as depression can take many forms, so can anxiety. Examples of anxiety disorder include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Whether you are struggling with a form of anxiety, a form of depression, or both, a good diagnosis is often the key to finding the right treatment. Working with a mental health professional may be an important step toward healing.
Get Anxiety and Depression Help at Thriveworks Counseling in Jacksonville, FL
If you want to meet with a mental health professional, know that help is available. Thriveworks Counseling in Jacksonville, FL offers appointments for depression and anxiety. Our professionals have helped many clients find the diagnosis and treatment they needed for relief and healing.
When you contact our office, a scheduling specialist will answer your call and help you schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience. We accept many forms of insurance, and we offer evening and weekend sessions. We do not keep a waitlist, but we do our best to get our clients the help they need when they need it! Let’s work together. Call Thriveworks today.