When Do Anxiety or Depression Warrant Professional Help?
Anxiety and depression affect millions of Americans — between 5% and 12%, according to the CDC. During the COVID-19 pandemic, those numbers ballooned to over 40%, including a whopping 12% who say they’re not getting the medical care they need to manage their symptoms and feel better.
At Amavi Integrative Mental Wellness in Niwot, Colorado, our team knows that depression and anxiety can affect each individual patient in different ways. Our treatments for anxiety and depression are completely customized and based on each patient’s symptoms, lifestyle, and personal challenges to help relieve symptoms and improve their quality of life. Here’s how to know when it’s time to seek medical help for your depression or anxiety.
Anxiety and depression 101
Anxiety and depression are mood disorders that involve your brain chemistry — the way your brain produces and uses chemicals. Anxiety and depression can occur on their own, but many people suffer from both issues. In fact, together these two conditions can create a self-perpetuating cycle that can be very hard to manage without medical help.
Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental health issue in the United States, affecting about 40 million Americans. While most people think of anxiety as one, single condition, there are actually different types of anxiety, separated into anxiety disorders. Some of the most prevalent anxiety disorders include:
- Social anxiety
- Separation anxiety
- Panic disorder
- Phobias, like fear of heights or fear of enclosed spaces
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) causes widespread, recurring or persistent feelings of fear or worry about everyday life. People with GAD may find most of their day is consumed by anxious feelings, making it hard for them to concentrate or maintain healthy work or personal relationships.
People with anxiety disorders typically have symptoms like:
- Feelings of impending doom or danger
- Restlessness or agitation
- Intrusive thoughts of worry or anxiety
- Difficulty focusing
- Heart palpitations, sweating, or rapid breathing
In general, anxiety disorders cause feelings of fear or worry that are out of proportion to what’s really going on.
People who have depression have symptoms like:
- Feelings of hopelessness or deep sadness
- Feelings of worthlessness or self-loathing
- Loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities
- Isolation and avoidance of social activities
- Difficulty concentrating
- Low levels of energy
- Changes in sleep — either sleeping a lot or very little
- Moodiness or changes in mood
- Widespread aches and pains
- Changes in appetite or weight
Some people with depression have thoughts of self-harm or suicide. If you have these feelings, call 9-1-1 immediately.
When to seek medical help
Even relatively “low levels” of anxiety and depression can have serious impacts on your life, your health, and your well-being. If your symptoms of anxiety or depression interfere with your life in any way, it’s time to seek medical help.
In fact, seeking help early can help “short circuit” the cycle that drives both depression and anxiety, helping you learn effective ways to cope with and manage your symptoms through psychotherapy, medication management, ketamine therapy, or a combination of approaches.
The problem: All too often, people suffering from depression and anxiety feel they should be “strong enough” to handle their symptoms on their own — a perception that’s not only incorrect but potentially dangerous.
Overcoming the stigma
Many people with depression and anxiety also find themselves mired in feelings of guilt or shame, perceptions that often result in delayed treatment. “Think positive” or “Be grateful for what you have” is common advice remarks from others who mean well, but for many people, those sentiments only serve to make their symptoms worse.
Bottom line: Chronic depression and anxiety are real medical problems involving your brain, and your brain is an organ, just like your heart or kidneys. No one would tell you to treat kidney disease or heart disease by thinking positively. Just as these medical issues require professional care to manage their symptoms, depression, and anxiety are real medical ailments that also benefit from professional treatment.
Don’t let anxiety or depression control your life
Anxiety and depression affect your mental well-being, your physical health, and your quality of life. Fortunately, there are safe, effective treatments that can help. The key to feeling better faster is to start treatment now. To learn more about the treatment options we offer, call Replace the phone number with this number. 303-652-4196 or book an appointment online at Amavi Integrative Mental Wellness today.