Coping With An Anxiety Disorder
While considering therapy is a great option if you’re not already going, here are some in-the-moment tips for managing your anxiety:
- Clear your mind: Whether you like to meditate, practice yoga or simply take a walk, taking a moment to remove the focus from the subject that you’re anxious about is beneficial.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine: These substances can make you more anxious, especially when consumed in excess.
- Exercise daily: You will feel much better once you get the endorphins pumping. This doesn’t have to be extensive, but enough to get your heart rate up.
- Get enough rest: When you’re experiencing higher levels of stress, your body needs more rest. Listen to it.
- Take deep breaths: This is especially relevant to the exact moments when you’re experiencing a spike in your anxiety levels. Breathe, count to ten, or meditate.
- Learn your triggers: Pay attention to the moments when your anxiety really kicks in and make note of what’s happening leading up to those moments.
Weight Loss Or Weight Gain
Your mood may impact your diet. For some, depression causes a loss of appetite that could lead to unnecessary weight loss.
For others with depression, feelings of hopelessness may result in poor eating choices and a loss of interest in exercise. Reaching for foods high in sugars, fats, and starchy carbohydrates is also common. Increased appetite and weight gain are also side effects of some medications for depression.
Obesity also seems to be common in people with depression, according to an older survey by the . The survey, conducted between 2005 and 2010, found that approximately 43 percent of adults with depression are obese.
How Common Is Depression
Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the country. An estimated 17.3 million adults in the US reported having at least one major depressive episode over the course of a year, a 2017 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows.
Thats 7.1% of all adults ages 18 and older. Women have a higher prevalence of experiencing a major depressive episode than men .
Depression is especially crushing for the workforce: Its the number one leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The total economic burden of MDD is estimated to be $210.5 billion per year in the United States alonea figure that reflects costs associated with missed days, reduced productivity, treatment for depression, and suicide.
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How To Manage Stress
Stress is harmful on two fronts: internal and external. Internally, chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system and living in a near-constant state of fight-or-flight can contribute to serious illness. Externally, stressful situations contribute to unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking, substance use, unhealthy eating habits, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Determining what you are experiencing both internally and externally can help you deal with it.8 Spend some time investigating what makes you feel stressed, where you feel it in your body and mind, and how you deal with it in your actions. Then, you can create a plan that incorporates stress management tips into your daily life.
How Is Depression Diagnosed
These days, a routine doctors visit with your general health practitioner may be all it takes to receive a diagnosis. Standard screening tools like the Patient Health Questionnaire a survey of yes, nine items, that physicians use to assess the severity of depressionare becoming widely used in primary care settings to screen for the condition.
In fact, most patients with depression are going to be diagnosed and treated by primary care doctors, not specialists or psychiatrists, says James Murrough, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Depression and Anxiety Center for Discovery and Treatment at Mount Sinai.
Depression is mainly diagnosed by history and clinical presentations, or a specific pattern of symptoms, says Dr. Murrough, which is to say theres no blood test for MDD. But if you have symptoms like changes in sleep or appetite, your doctor may look into other conditions unrelated to mental health .
The first thing your doctor might do is order blood testsnot to make the diagnosis of depression, but to rule out things that could be masquerading as depression, explains Dr. Murrough. For example, an underactive thyroid can present as low mood and feeling sluggish, and iron deficiency anemia is another reason why some people might have low energy.
Between hormonal changes, stress, and other environmental changes, getting pregnant can supercharge the D-word.
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Healthy Vs Unhealthy Stress
We all feel stressed now and then, some of us more often than others and thats OK.
After all, stress is a natural part of life. Sometimes, its even necessary for our growth and survival.
Stress is what keeps us alive, says Janine Ilsley, a licensed master social worker and a therapist with Cobb Psychotherapy in New York City.
Still, theres a distinct difference between healthy stress and unhealthy stress.
Healthy stress can often help us grow and thrive, whereas unhealthy stress may refer to unmanaged stress, which can be detrimental to our health and well-being.
Regardless of the stressors we face, Ilsley says we can learn to adapt to the ever-changing and challenging conditions were presented with.
The mind and the body are intimately and intricately connected, Ilsley says. When we reclaim our bodies, we have the power to rearrange and reorganize its system to allow us to thrive, Ilsley says.
Over Time If Its Something You Have A Say In
- Try meditation or breathing techniques. Set achievable goals, whether its 5 minutes of meditation morning and night, or deep breathing three times a day.
- Exercise at your own pace. Thirty minutes of exercise a day is good for mood and overall health. If that feels like too much right now, aim to go for a walk every other day, or stretch for a few minutes each morning.
- Get into positive journaling. Each evening, write down three positive things that happened over the course of the day.
- Use your support network. Communicating with partners, friends, or family can help you stay on track.
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Covid And Mental Health: Does Coronavirus Infection Cause Depression Or Anxiety
It might. Vannorsdall, who cares for patients with long COVID at the Johns Hopkins Post-Acute COVID-19 Team clinic, collaborates with health care professionals from a range of disciplines to help patients recover from the long-term effects of COVID-19 and its treatment.
Severe COVID-19 can be devastating to patients. In addition to organ damage and persistent symptoms, loss of physical, emotional and even economic well-being can leave long haulers depressed and anxious.
Treatment in an intensive care unit, or ICU, is a risk factor, too. Post-intensive care syndrome can affect people who spend a long time in the ICU and can leave them with enduring, disabling anxiety and panic if not treated.
Vannorsdall says researchers are studying the inflammatory reactions caused by coronavirus infection and their effects on the brain. It is possible that COVID-19 itself causes physical changes that can manifest as problems with cognition thinking, remembering and reasoning.
One of the challenges to managing lingering COVID symptoms is how differently individuals fare with the disease and recovery. People are being treated by the PACT group for a variety of symptoms. Were seeing elevated rates of anxiety, depression and functional decline and cognitive changes lasting several months out.
The trajectory of recovery isnt clear yet, but short-term interventions are working to help COVID-19 survivors, even those with persistent symptoms and physical changes.
How Can You Tell When Stress Is Harmful
Stress itself is neither inherently good nor bad. Its simply how your brain and body respond to life and anything that disrupts your emotional or physiological balance.2 Stress can actually be helpful, increasing motivation and energy so you can respond to problems and enjoy pleasant experiences. This type of positive stress is called eustress.5
Its when the fight-or-flight reaction becomes chronically activated, either staying on for extended periods or stuck in a continual, erratic, roller coaster ride of on and off status, that it is harmful. Stress attacks us on multiple fronts, impacting the body and brain , the mind , and our behavior. The sympathetic nervous system involves the regions of the brain associated with mood, motivation, and fear.6 As previously mentioned, the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the fight-or-flight response.
Therefore, tuning in to all of these experiences can help you know when youre experiencing harmful stress. If you are experiencing stressors in your life and begin to notice physical or mental health symptoms that dont go away, it could be a sign that stress may be taking a toll on your health and wellbeing.
If your mood, emotions, or physical health isnt how you want it to be, stress management techniques may help.
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Discrimination Rises As Source Of Stress Particularly For People Of Color
When talking about stress in 2020, we cannot ignore the topics of discrimination and racism. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others have caused fear, anger and an increased awareness of the systemic racism that plagues our nation, and led to massive protests across the country. The majority of adults , regardless of race, report police violence toward minorities is a significant source of stress in their life. This is significantly higher than the 36% of adults who said the same in 2016 when this question was first asked.
On a personal level, one-third of adults cite discrimination as a significant source of stress in their life, a significant increase from 25% in 2019. Among people of color7, more than 2 in 5 report discrimination is a significant source of stress in their life, compared with 38% of people of color who said the same in 2019. Looking at races individually, Black Americans are the most likely to report discrimination as a stressor .
Depression Is Different From Sadness Or Grief/bereavement
The death of a loved one, loss of a job or the ending of a relationship are difficult experiences for a person to endure. It is normal for feelings of sadness or grief to develop in response to such situations. Those experiencing loss often might describe themselves as being depressed.
But being sad is not the same as having depression. The grieving process is natural and unique to each individual and shares some of the same features of depression. Both grief and depression may involve intense sadness and withdrawal from usual activities. They are also different in important ways:
- In grief, painful feelings come in waves, often intermixed with positive memories of the deceased. In major depression, mood and/or interest are decreased for most of two weeks.
- In grief, self-esteem is usually maintained. In major depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common.
- In grief, thoughts of death may surface when thinking of or fantasizing about joining the deceased loved one. In major depression, thoughts are focused on ending ones life due to feeling worthless or undeserving of living or being unable to cope with the pain of depression.
Grief and depression can co-exist For some people, the death of a loved one, losing a job or being a victim of a physical assault or a major disaster can lead to depression. When grief and depression co-occur, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression.
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How Is Depression Treated
Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80% and 90% percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.
Before a diagnosis or treatment, a health professional should conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation, including an interview and a physical examination. In some cases, a blood test might be done to make sure the depression is not due to a medical condition like a thyroid problem or a vitamin deficiency . The evaluation will identify specific symptoms and explore medical and family histories as well as cultural and environmental factors with the goal of arriving at a diagnosis and planning a course of action.
Does Depression Affect Children
Depression can affect people of any age, including children. Although children naturally have mood swings as they grow and develop, depression is different. The disorder can affect how children interact with friends and family. It may prevent them from enjoying school, sports, hobbies or other normal childhood activities.
In children, depression and anxiety often go hand in hand. Anxiety is a medical condition that causes feelings of fear, panic or worry about everyday situations. Sometimes, depression or anxiety in children gets chalked up to growing pains. But if you have any concerns about behavioral or mental health, talk to a healthcare provider.
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How Do You Treat Stress
Stress is highly treatable. Even though much of your reaction to it involves automatic processes within your brain and body that you dont directly control, youre not at the mercy of your physiological response to stress. Therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes can treat stress and any problems it may be causing.
How To Support Gen Z
- Create meaningful opportunities for connections with family, culture and community. Although many have left home physically, these connections remain fundamental to youth well-being.
- Create traditions for Gen Z that celebrate milestones in new ways. They can be the generation that reinvents society by creating new celebrations and traditions that are meaningful.
- Facilitate access to mental health services during and after the pandemic. This can include telehealth services, interstate psychological services and increasing funding to better support mental health services provided within schools when this is over.
- Provide educational, work, training and employment opportunities specifically targeted at supporting this generation of young adults. They need to see a possible path forward for themselves.
- Thank our youngest generation for the sacrifices theyve made for the greater good. This includes social involvement that is critical to their development, milestones such as graduations and proms, and even their education. We should acknowledge what they and many others are doing to keep us safe.
Emma Adam, PhD, Northwestern University Earl Turner, PhD, Pepperdine University
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Can You Worry Yourself To Death
Many studies have found a link between anxiety-prone personality and shortened lifespan. The tendency to always react to frustration, loss, or threat with negative emotions is referred to as neuroticism by researchers who have found this trait to be widespread and worrisome.
A 2009 article published in American Psychology stated that there is growing evidence that neuroticism is a psychological trait of profound public health significance. Neuroticism is a robust correlate and predictor of many different mental and physical disorders, comorbidity among them.
For instance, for a study published in 2008, researchers at Purdue University followed 1,600 men, ages 43 to 91, for 12 years to examine how those with neurotic personalities fared over time. At the end of the study, only 50 percent of the men with high or increasing neuroticism were alive compared to 75 percent to 85 percent of the other group.
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Can Stress Kill You
Whether its work deadlines, debt or even road rage, we all get stressed from time-to-time.
While for most the feeling passes, others become overwhelmed and unable to cope.
In the short term, stress can leave us anxious, tearful and struggling to sleep.
But over time, continuously feeling frazzled could trigger heart attacks, strokes, and even suicidal thoughts.
In short, yes, stress can kill you, Dr. Diana Gall from Doctor4U told Yahoo UK.
Though its not the stressful situations that kill you, its how you deal with stress that affects your health.
When we encounter a stressful situation, our body produces hormones that send us into fight or flight.
This causes a surge in the hormone adrenaline, which gets our heart pumping and raises our blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The stress hormone cortisol also gets released, curbing functions that are non-essential in a fight or flight scenario, like the immune and digestive systems.
Fight or flight can be helpful, with the sudden release of adrenaline giving us the boost we need to get through a big work presentation or even escape danger.
Once the stressful situation has passed, our hormone levels should return to normal.
Over time, sufferers may endure digestive problems, weight gain, and even heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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Helping A Suicidal Friend Or Relative
If you see any of the above warning signs in a friend or relative:
- get professional help for them
- let them know they are not alone and you care about them
- offer support in finding other solutions to their problems
If you feel there’s an immediate danger, stay with the person or have someone else stay with them, and remove all available means of attempting suicide, such as medicine.
Over-the-counter medicine, such as painkillers, can be just as dangerous as prescription medicine. Also, remove sharp objects and poisonous household chemicals such as bleach.
What Are The Symptoms Of Stress
Stress can affect you emotionally, mentally and physically, according to the NHS.
Emotionally, many feel overwhelmed, wound up and anxious.
Feeling frazzled may also put a downer on their mood, leave them unable to enjoy themselves and cause a looming sense of dread, according to the charity Mind.
Others may become anxious and afraid or feel neglected and lonely.
Struggling to cope with stressful situations can also take its toll on our mental wellbeing.
Many battle racing thoughts, constant worrying, and difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
Perhaps surprisingly, stress can also affect us physically.
In more severe cases, sufferers may hyperventilate, have panic attacks, grind their teeth, endure chest pain or see their blood pressure rise.
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