Depression and Anxiety

 What you can do to treat depression and anxiety

Everyone feels sad, empty or anxious at times. If these feelings persist and start to interfere with daily activities, you might be suffering from depression, anxiety or both. Women suffer from these common mood disorders more often than men.

Often depression and an anxiety disorder can be treated similarly. In many cases, therapy can be tailored to a person so that it works to reduce the symptoms of both disorders. Treatment also depends on the type and severity of your depression or anxiety disorder. It's important to talk with a mental health professional for evaluation and specific treatment recommendations.

Treatment options for depression and anxiety may include:

  • Exercise regularly, do things you enjoy and limit alcohol. For mild symptoms, this might be all it takes to help you feel better. People with depression and anxiety disorders often self-medicate by drinking, which can make things worse.
  • Stick to a routine of daily activities. Decreased activity and changes in routines may make depression worse.
  • Try to relax. Relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing may help reduce stress levels.
  • Consider acupuncture. It may help relieve general anxiety disorder symptoms.
  • Seek counseling. A mental health professional can help you identify and address underlying problems.
  • Ask your doctor if medication may help you. People with depression and anxiety may benefit from prescription medications and cognitive behavior therapy.

And don't forget to ask your friends and family for help and encouragement. Creating a support network is vital to your recovery.

How to talk to your doctor

Depression and anxiety can affect you both emotionally and physically and may require treatment. Talk to your doctor and request a depression or anxiety screening if symptoms last more than two weeks.

Some common symptoms of depression are:

  • Loss of appetite or weight change
  • Feeling sad, anxious, empty, guilty, hopeless or worthless
  • Fatigue, lack of energy or motivation
  • Sleep problems, including not being able to sleep, oversleeping or waking often
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Some common signs of anxiety are:

  • Constantly feeling on-edge, restless or worried
  • Unexplained sudden shaking or trembling
  • Frequent panic attacks (increased heart rate, sweating, nausea, shortness of breath or chest pain)
  • Irrational thoughts, fears or obsessions
  • Compulsive behaviors or rituals

If you or someone you know is suicidal, get emergency help immediately.