Being able to spot the signs of depression and anxiety early, is important for early intervention and treatment. Although signs and symptoms are vast and varied, there are some patterns you may be able to pick up – either in yourself or in those who are close to you.
Beyond Blue reports that in any given year, approximately 2 million Australians will suffer from anxiety and one million will experience depression. And, even though the reported diagnoses of Australians with anxiety and depression have increased, health officials tell us that it doesn’t actually mean that incidences of mental illness are on the increase – rather they are being reported better.
What Are The Signs Of Anxiety And Depression?
Knowing the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression can ensure that you or the people around you, can get help as soon as possible, and learn coping strategies to improve your quality of life.
What are the signs of depression?
Depression is more than just feeling down – we all have days when we don’t feel as great as usual. Depression is an extended state of feeling sad or miserable that persists for more than two weeks and which interferes with your day-to-day activities or relationships. It is usually (but not always) accompanied by one or more of the following behavioural symptoms:
- An inability to concentrate
- A withdrawal from activities that you would ordinarily enjoy doing, or friends and family members that you would ordinarily enjoy being around
- A dependence on sedatives, alcohol or other substances
- Isolation / not going out
- Not finishing tasks or avoiding tasks at school or work
In addition, you may find the following emotions difficult or impossible to control, and they may dominate your emotional state:
- Lack of confidence
People who are undergoing depressive episodes may also find themselves caught in negative mind sets or continually experiencing negative thoughts that might reinforce the emotions listed above.
There is also a strong link between depression and physical sickness, and some people may find that they experience unexpected or inexplicable physical symptoms such as:
- Constantly being sick or run down
- Muscular pains, cramps and headaches
- Stomach disturbances
- Insomnia, broken sleep patterns or inability to fall asleep
- Change in appetite: eating much more or much less
- A change in weight (which may or may not be linked to changes in diet)
- Feeling tired and fatigued
Depression can become a self-circulating condition that compounds symptoms. If you have any concerns over your emotional state or that of someone close to you, it is recommended that you seek professional help as soon as possible.
What are the signs of anxiety?
Everyone experiences some worries or stress on a daily basis – it’s part of life. For most people these feelings of worry go away when the thing that caused the stress is removed or resolved. People who suffer from anxiety however, live in this state of worry, even when there are no ostensible causes for it.
Feelings of anxiety can make daily life very difficult to cope with, but its symptoms are not always easy to identify. Anxiety can affect a person on a physical, psychological and behavioural level. Statistically, women are more likely to experience episodes of anxiety than men.
Examples of physical symptoms include racing heart rate, fast breathing, panic attacks, hot or cold flushes, feelings of tension or edginess and restlessness (pacing or constant movement).
The psychological symptoms of anxiety include obsessive thoughts, awfulising the future, and excessive worry or fear.
Anxiety can manifest in a person’s behaviour too, causing you to avoid places, people and situations that lead to anxiety.
How Can Depression And Anxiety Be Treated?
Diagnosing mental health disorders can be challenging and healthcare practitioners need to take careful notes of a patient’s medical history to make a diagnosis. Once the appropriate diagnosis has been made, your healthcare practitioner will need to establish the severity of your condition in order to recommend an appropriate treatment.
It is reported that 40% of patients who have depression or anxiety do not seek medical assistance.
Depression and anxiety have both proven to respond positively to cognitive behavioural therapies and, depending on the severity of the condition, this may be recommended in conjunction with antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications.
If you have noticed the signs of depression and anxiety in yourself or someone close to you, please get professional help as soon as possible. Our highly qualified and experienced team is available to assist you using a variety of treatment modalities.
Please contact us for a convenient and discreet appointment: (02) 9884 9300.