Depression can be caused by a wide range of things, life events, trauma, loss, or hardships. It can be self-induced, influenced by external factors, or as a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. Depression is often associated with a mind that is caught in a dangerous cycle of negativity and cynicism. The NIH estimates that around 17 million Americans struggle with depression each year, and that number is largely underestimating the millions of cases that go unreported or undiagnosed.
Anxiety, on the other hand, is the remnant of a survival mechanism that helped people survive dangerous situations. Modern-day lifestyles have freed us from physical dangers, but our brains remain wired the same. The result is a tendency to overthink and worry to an extent that can actually incapacitate you. Anxiety is a condition of the mind that, if left unchallenged, is powerful enough to overwhelm the body. Social anxiety is estimated to affect 24 million Americans each year.
Depression and Anxiety both present themselves differently in each individual. It is possible to experience one or both simultaneously and can be seen in children, adults, and the elderly. The team of specialists at Family Medicine Austin has diagnosed and implemented management plans for patients with all degrees of depression and anxiety. You can trust our team to get you the help you need, and restore your sense of hope!
Recognizing Sign of Depression
When someone is depressed they may find themselves experiencing one or more of the following: feelings of sadness, despair, anxiety, emptiness, discouragement, hopelessness; having no feelings or tearful. Other common symptoms include:
- Depressed mood
- Lost interest or pleasure in activities you love
- Insomnia (not enough sleep) or hypersomnia (sleeping too much)
- Substantial weight loss or weight gain
- Constantly changing appetite
- Psychomotor retardation or agitation nearly every day that is observable by others,
- Fatigue or low energy
- Decreased ability to concentrate, think, or make decisions,
- Thoughts of worthlessness or excessive/inappropriate guilt
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation, potentially even a suicide attempt
Mood disorder affects social life, intimate relationships, and jobs. A depressed individual should not be left alone and should have a support network of friends and family. There is no shame in experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety, it is more common than you think.
Different Forms of Depression
Depression is a complex condition and can present itself in many ways. You might experience temporary bouts of depression after traumatic events but rebound to your normal state after a few weeks. Below are the most common forms of depression with brief explanations:
Major Depression – Known as classic depression, these patients struggle with depression on a daily basis. People may seem fine on the outside but are suffering on the inside.
Persistent Depression – long-term, lasting for two years or more. The condition has become so normal, they may not even recognize symptoms anymore
Manic or Bipolar Depression – extreme shifts in mood, short periods of extreme happiness contrasted with periods of depression, alternating weekly.
Seasonal Depression – Most common in populations where seasonal changes are more obvious, more hours of darkness, shorter days, colder weather
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety can take many forms and can be tied to certain situations or events that trigger symptoms, for example, large crowds, social gatherings, driving on the highway, and many more. The symptoms can range from discomfort and trouble concentrating, all the way to anxiety attacks that can completely immobilize you. Common symptoms include:
- Feeling nervous or overwhelmed
- Sense of danger or panic
- Elevated heart rate
- Breathing rapidly, sweating, and/or trembling
- Weakness and fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating, mind racing
Types of Anxiety Disorders
General Anxiety Disorder – characterized by persistent worrying and fear of the future and unknown.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – unwanted thoughts crowd the brain and repeatedly try to encourage specific behavior, such as orderly tasks like counting or cleaning, anxiety levels will build until the problem is resolved.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Extreme danger or traumatic events like violent assaults and accidents can leave someone with PTSD. Overwhelming anxiety can occur when a situation arises that emulates the original event.
Panic Disorder – Sudden and intense fear that causes a physical response like chest pains or trouble breathing.
Social Phobia – fear of public speaking or intense self-consciousness in social settings, make the person want to avoid social gatherings completely.
Depression and Anxiety Management Available in Austin, Texas
Given the fact that depression and anxiety are such multi-faceted conditions, before you can consider treatment you need to have the source of your condition accurately diagnosed. Understanding what is causing your depression or anxiety can be challenging, but once you shine a light on it, you can begin to learn how to overcome it.
If you would like to learn more about depression and anxiety and how to manage them, reach out to the specialists at Family Medicine Austin for more information. Call our offices to speak with a representative from our team or schedule an appointment online today!