Approximately 40 million people struggle with anxiety and depression in the United States every year, and anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed mental illness. These mental illnesses are common, but they are still often misunderstood. Most people who have battled anxiety and/or depression have probably heard something like…
“Are you getting enough sunshine and fresh air? I walk outside every day, and that keeps me feeling good.”
“Try this breathing technique—inhale to a four-count and then exhale to a four-count. It can really help you calm down.”
“Yoga might help! My cousin teaches a class. Want to come?”
“Maybe you need a good sleep or a vacation. When I’m tired, life is always harder.”
Loved ones almost always offer these recommendations with a pure desire to help, but such advice often underestimates anxiety and depression. Such advice may see anxiety and depression as phases of the blues or jitters, but the reality is that they are serious mental illnesses.
Anxiety and depression often disrupt people’s daily lives such that normal functioning becomes difficult if not impossible. Their treatments may include a sleep therapy or relaxation technique, but they will likely involve much, much more. Just as serious physical illnesses often require a physician’s care, so many people benefit from working with a mental health professional to find treatment for their anxiety and/or depression.
The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks in St. Louis, MO understand the psychological and physical toll that anxiety and depression can take, and they understand the different treatment options available. We have helped many clients find the right treatments for their symptoms.
Diagnosing Anxiety and Depression
Author J. K. Rowling has famously used depression as the inspiration for the Dementors in Harry Potter. These creatures are cold and dark and decrepit. They suck the happiness out of anyone who is unfortunate enough to be in their presence. They leave their victims without souls and without hope. Rowling gives a detailed picture of what it is like to fight depression.
One of the best ways to fight depression is to seek help early and find the right diagnosis. Although people often speak of anxiety and depression as one, they are separate illnesses. Each also has variations that can be diagnosed.
For example, there are different anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, selective mutism, specific phobias, separation anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and panic disorder. These types of anxiety come with varying symptoms, from panic attacks to nightmares, fatigue, and changes in appetite.
Depression can come in many forms as well. Examples include…
- Major depressive disorder is what most people refer to simply as depression. Its symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, sadness, emptiness, and/or despair. People may experience apathy toward activities and relationships that they once enjoyed. Eating and sleeping patterns are often disrupted, and people may lose or gain weight accordingly. Thoughts of death or even suicide idealization may occur, and people often have difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly. These symptoms will occur on more days than not and for the majority of the day during a period of at least two weeks to be diagnosed as Major Depressive Disorder.
- Minor depression is very similar to Major Depressive Disorder, but the severity of the symptoms and their longevity are often less severe. It many ways, it is what it sounds like.
- Persistent depressive disorder can also be called dysthymia or chronic depression. Its symptoms are the same as Major Depressive Disorder, but it occurs for a period of two years and sometimes longer.
- Adjustment disorder can occur when people are facing severe stress from life changes. Its symptoms are the same as Major Depressive Disorder, but they are tied to transitions like divorce, job loss, illness, moving, and career advancement. The stress from these events can trigger depression. When people emotionally process the change, their symptoms may lessen.
- Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that swings people’s mood between two extremes: mania and depression. The depression pole has the same symptoms as Major Depressive Disorder, and the mania pole is nearly the opposite. People may experience frenetic energy that is either irritable or euphoric during mania. They may make unwise and harmful choices that affect their physical, emotional, financial, and sexual health. They may also experience psychosis during mania.
- Postpartum depression is a form of depression that can develop in expecting or new mothers. The symptoms include those outline for Major Depressive Disorder, but they involve more. Mothers may fear their baby or worry irrationally about caring for the baby. They may even be disinterested in or hostile toward their baby.
Fortunately, there are effective treatments for both depression and anxiety. Therapy is one of the most effective and most common. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), in specific, can effectively treat anxiety and depression. Other types of therapy can help with certain anxiety and depressive disorders too. For example, exposure therapy can help those who have specific phobias.
Schedule Depression and/or Anxiety Therapy at Thriveworks in St. Louis
If you have experienced some of the symptoms of depression and/or anxiety, know that help is available. The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks Counseling in St. Louis, MO understand that anxiety and depression can come in a variety of forms, but we also understand that treatment can come in a variety of forms as well. We have helped many clients find a treatment plan that is tailored to address their unique symptoms.
We are ready to work with you. When you call our office, you may be meeting with your therapist the following day. We accept many forms of insurance, and we offer evening and weekend sessions.
Call Thriveworks St. Louis today.