Learn about the symptoms of different mental health conditions and what you can do to tackle them.
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Anxiety & Depression Symptoms Explained
Anxiety and depression are becoming increasingly common in today’s fast-paced world. However, we’re also becoming more aware of different mental health disorders, and more compassionate towards people managing these conditions. Whether you’d like to boost your own wellbeing, are worried about someone close to you, or are just interested in learning more mental health, then this information may be helpful for you.
Everyone experiences symptoms of anxiety and depression from time-to-time. Worry, sadness, dread, regret, panic, and fear are all normal and healthy human experiences.However, sometimes these emotions can become intense and persistent, which can get in the way of us enjoying life.
If you’ve felt low, tired, flat, and unmotivated for a long period of time, then you may be experiencing a major depressive episode (generally called depression).
If you experience excessive and disruptive anxiety, then you could have an anxiety disorder. There are different types of anxiety disorders, depending on what triggers your anxiety.
Physical health conditions, stress, and major life changes can also have a significant impact on our wellbeing.
Learning the facts about the way you feel is an instrumental step in your recovery, and the knowledge gained will ultimately help you to feel better in the long run.
Excessive Worry & General Anxiety
People with generalised anxiety disorder worry about lots of different things. They find it difficult to stop worrying, and a result, feel worried most of the time. Their worry tends to be out-of-proportion, and they can have trouble sleeping, relaxing, and concentrating.
People with social anxiety tend be self-critical and feel very worried about being judged by other people. They try to avoid situations where they might be judged, like parties, meeting new people, or interviews. When they do encounter these kinds of situations, they feel very anxious, and might blush, sweat, or tremble as a result.
Panic disorder occurs when someone has recurrent panic attacks and is very afraid of another panic attack. People with panic disorder often worry that they’ll go crazy, have a heart attack, or lose control. If the person avoids certain situations out of fear that these attacks will occur, then they may have agoraphobia as well as panic disorder.
Low Mood & Depression
Depression is more than just sadness. It’s intense and long-lasting low mood, low motivation, and low energy. People with depression find it difficult to enjoy things, and experience changes in their sleep, weight, and appetite. They can feel worthless and guilty, and in some cases, have thoughts of suicide.
People with health anxiety are very worried about developing serious illnesses, even if they have no symptoms or risk factor for these conditions. They feel very distressed by common physical symptoms, like pain and nausea. They either go to the doctor more than most people, or avoid doctors entirely for fear of sickness and infection.
People with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) have intrusive, unwanted, and distressing thoughts that they find difficult to control, as well as strong urges to do specific behaviours to manage these unpleasant thoughts. These thoughts and behaviours are very time consuming and disruptive, sometimes taking up hours in a person’s day.
Some people experience post-traumatic stress for months after a traumatic event. They can have unwanted and upsetting nightmares, memories, and flashbacks about the trauma, and try to avoid reminders of what they went through. They often feel stressed and ‘on edge’, and might also have symptoms of depression.
Perinatal Mental Health
Having a baby is an exciting, but sometimes overwhelming experience. You and your family often experience some dramatic changes, and pregnancy and childbirth can trigger hormonal changes that impact your mood. As a result, many women experience anxiety and depression around the birth of a child.
Chronic pain is pain that has lasted for at least 3 months after a person would be expected to have healed. It can be distressing, and sometimes debilitating, often impacting people’s mood, ability to work, relationships, and overall quality of life.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterised by difficulty falling or staying asleep. People with insomnia don’t get enough good quality sleep, and as a result, feel constantly tired, irritable, and ‘foggy’.
Stress & Wellbeing
Stress is the body’s natural response to a threatening or overwhelming situation. Having some stress is normal and healthy. Today however, many people feel stressed most of the time, which can negatively impact their psychological, social, and physical wellbeing.
Mindfulness is the skill of directing your attention to the present moment in an accepting and non-judgemental way. Mindfulness can help you manage negative thoughts and emotions, respond more effectively to stressors and improve your well-being.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is the most commonly recommended for mental health intervention. CBT teaches people practical and effective skills for overcoming the unhelpful thoughts and behaviours that contribute to mental health problems.
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