Lifestyle Changes That May Help With Managing Anxiety Or Depression
Many of us have been there before youre in a stressful situation and can feel your heart racing or a sudden feeling of being overwhelmed. Anxiety is kicking in. Its the bodys natural response to stress, but these days, it may feel more prevalent or prolonged than usual.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states large medical outbreaks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, may have been associated with increased mental health challenges.
In fact, more than 40% of adults say they are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression.
This isnt surprising, said Dr. Jamie Dupuy, the medical director for Sanvello, an app for anxiety and depression relief. Weve been experiencing compounded stressors for two years now, with layers of grief, loss of routine, job instability, family disruptions and more.
For some people, that mental toll may lead to pervasive anxiety or even depression. Disruptions to sleep, nutrition and other routines may contribute to and even worsen mental health issues. As the pandemic continues, it may be worthwhile to understand and assess how your habits have changed.
In the beginning, many people rallied with the hope we could collectively prevent the spread of the virus. More than two years later, our reality is different, and its taken a mental toll on everyone, Dr. Dupuy said. We are in a prolonged emotional burnout.
Dr. Dupuy shares some actionable tips and recommendations:
4. Avoid or limit alcohol and other substances
How To Prevent A Depression Relapse
Commit to treatment If you have been prescribed antidepressants it is vital that you take the full course of your medication and follow your doctors advice. It can be tempting, when you start to feel better, to stop taking your meds but that increases your risk of relapse. If your treatment involves counselling and therapy sessions make sure you keep going to them until your psychologist advises that you are okay to stop.
Meditation Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation, practiced a few times each week, can reduce your chance of relapse by up to 50 percent within a year. You dont have to spend hours crossed-legged on the floor to achieve this. It is all about taking a moment to be completely present each day rather than allowing your mind to dwell in the past or future.
Accept help Friends and family can provide support when it comes to noticing the warning signs of depression. If you open yourself to their help, you can reduce your chances of falling back into depression.
Have a plan Always discuss with your therapist the best plan of action when it comes to acting on the warning signs of depression. Consider writing out a plan so that you feel empowered to deal with symptoms if they return.
Signs Of Depression In Children
Younger children can also experience depression. However, because their behavior may change as they go through different childhood stages, and because they may exhibit different signs of depression compared to adults, it can be difficult for caregivers to recognize that a child is depressed.
Signs of depression in children may include:
- Clinging to caregivers
- Experimenting with alcohol or drugs
- Displaying a lack of care for things they used to value highly
Other more typical signs of depression in adults, such as sleep disturbances, tiredness, changes in appetite and loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable, may be less commonly present in children with depression.
The symptoms of depression may interfere with the childs ability to partake in social activities, complete schoolwork and enjoy family life.If a caregiver notices that their childs behavior and day-to-day functioning has changed significantly, it is recommended that they speak to a healthcare professional.
Like people of other age groups, children can show signs of suicidal thoughts or actions. If a caregiver suspects that a child is at risk of harm, they should contact a healthcare professional or suicide prevention helpline immediately.
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An Attempt Or Suicidal Behavior
- Doesnt know why theyre doing it, but feels unable to stop it.
- May not remember the attempt when its over
- Feels as if they were/are in a trance.
- May think they will be rescued.
- Acting out pain because of an inability to verbalize feelings.
- Increased impulsiveness and impaired judgment, perceptions and cognitive skills.
Healthy, non-impulsive children who talk about death or seem preoccupied after losing a friend or loved one, but have a clear understanding that death is final, and who are not depressed, are probably at a very low risk for suicidal behavior.
Typically, when asked about their own death, children most often state it will happen due to old age or getting sick when theyre old. Many suicidal children believe that when others die, death is final, but that if they die, their death is reversible. Vulnerable children and adolescents who may be under stress may have a change in perceptions of and feelings about death.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression
Major depression is more than just feeling down for a few days. You may have depression if you have signs or symptoms of depression that last for more than 2 weeks. Signs of a condition are things someone else can see or know about you, like you have a rash or youre coughing. Symptoms are things you feel yourself that others cant see, like having a sore throat or feeling dizzy.
Signs and symptoms of depression include:
Changes in your feelings
- Thinking about death or suicide
Changes in your everyday life
- Eating more or less than you usually do
- Having trouble remembering things, concentrating or making decisions
- Not being able to sleep or sleeping too much
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Losing interest in things you usually like to do
Changes in your body
- Having no energy and feeling tired all the time
- Having headaches, stomach problems or other aches and pains that dont go away
If youre pregnant and you have any of these signs or symptoms, or if they get worse, call your health care provider. There are things you and your provider can do to help you feel better. If youre worried about hurting yourself, call emergency services at 911.
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Seeking Treatment For Depression
Your Energy Level Has Hit The Wall
Depression-related lethargy may be simply the consequence of not eating enough or sleeping too much. But it’s also the result of having a black cloud of sadness or hopelessness over you all the time. Dealing with chronic emotional pain is an energy suck, and it makes you too dragged and tired to tackle routine tasks, not to mention work and family responsibilities. “You feel overwhelmed by day to day life even getting out of bed and taking a shower becomes exhausting,” said Wolkin. When you’re always tired and that fatigue impairs your life, it’s time to seek help.
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Physical Effects Of Depression
Depression can appear physically via symptoms felt in the body. Examples of physical effects of depression include sleep disturbance, appetite changes, poor concentration or memory, and a loss of interest in sex. Some people with depression may also feel chronic pain, experience gastrointestinal issues, or have a higher level of fatigue.
When To Get Help
It is important not to ignore signs of depression, particularly if they seem to be getting worse. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible is recommended.
Depression is considered a treatable condition. For information on depression tests, diagnosis and treatment, including psychotherapy and antidepressant medication, .
If a person shows signs of crisis obvious indicators that they are strongly affected by depression or at risk of suicide it is important to
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Loss Of Interest Or Pleasure
Another hallmark sign of a depression relapse is the loss of interest in things that you used to find enjoyable. This might include attraction to your partner, sex with your partner, hobbies, seeing friends, or anything that you used to enjoy.
If you are noticing that things you once enjoyed have started to feel like a burden, then you may be experiencing loss of interest or pleasure related to a depression relapse. If your favorite activities feel like too much effort and not worth it, this could be a sign that you are relapsing.
Interpersonal Therapy For Depression
This time-structured treatment approach, typically done as individual therapy sessions or group work in 12 to 16 weeks, was developed only about two decades ago as a research intervention for major depression disorder, but has gained popularity in recent years with clinicians . It seeks to change relationship patterns and difficulties instead of associated depression symptoms with a focus on interpersonal relationships .
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Get Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast
Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares what it means to have ‘existential depression,’ featuring Melissa & Doug’s co-founder Melissa Bernstein.
Symptoms of depression can occur along a spectrum both in duration and severity. Mild depression can occur during periods of stress but resolve with time and may not require any specific treatment. Moderate to severe depression causes chronic symptoms and usually requires at least one form of treatment, if not multiple treatments.
Generally speaking, severe depression requires some type of treatment to find some relief. Additionally, depression severity can change over time, growing increasingly worse or alternating between mild and severe during the same depressive episode.
If someone has severe depression, they may self-harm, have suicidal thoughts, or be at risk for attempting suicide. If you are severely depressed, help is available to help you manage your symptoms and ensure your safety and well-being.
How Safe Are Antidepressants During Pregnancy
If you take an antidepressant during pregnancy, there may be some risk of birth defects and other health problems for your baby. In most cases, the risk is low. But if you stop taking an antidepressant during pregnancy, your depression may come back. Dont start or stop taking any medicine during pregnancy without your providers OK.
You and your prenatal care provider and your mental health provider can work together to decide about treatment with antidepressants. Learn as much as you can about your medicine options so you can make the best choice for you and your baby. If youre taking an antidepressant and planning to get pregnant, talk to your prenatal and mental health providers before you get pregnant.
There are several kinds of antidepressants. Most affect chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, but each kind does it in a different way. And each has risks and benefits during pregnancy. Antidepressants that may be used during pregnancy include:
- Serotonin reuptake inhibitors . SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medicines. SSRIs that may be used during pregnancy include citalopram , fluoxetine and sertraline .
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors , like duloxetine and venlafaxine
- Tricyclic antidepressants , like nortriptyline
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Causes Of Morning Depression
A 2013 study found that people with depression often have disrupted circadian rhythms. This disruption is one of the main causes of morning depression.
Your body runs on a 24-hour internal clock that causes you to feel sleepier at night and more awake and alert during the day. This natural sleep-wake cycle is known as the circadian rhythm.
The circadian rhythm, or natural body clock, regulates everything from heart rate to body temperature. It also affects energy, thinking, alertness, and mood. These daily rhythms help you keep a stable mood and stay in good health.
The rhythms of certain hormones, such as cortisol and melatonin, help your body prepare for certain events. For example, your body makes cortisol when the sun rises. This hormone gives you energy so you can be active and alert during the day. When the sun sets, your body releases melatonin. That hormone that makes you sleepy.
When these rhythms are disrupted, your body starts to make hormones at the wrong time of day. This can have a negative effect on your physical health and emotional well-being. For instance, when your body makes melatonin during the day, you may feel very tired and irritable.
People with morning depression often have severe symptoms in the morning, such as feelings of sadness and gloom. However, they feel better as the day goes on. Symptoms may include:
Is Your Depression Coming Backsigns Of A Depression Relapse
Depression is a widespread mental health concern that affects an individual’s ability to function on a daily basis. If you’ve experienced depression in the past, you may be worried about the potential for relapse.
While treatment for depression such as therapy or medication has been shown effective, research has also shown that about one-third of individuals who discontinue treatment will relapse within one year.
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More On Being Diagnosed With Depression
Depression is a broad diagnosis that can change based on the type of medical professional or mental health professional you see.
For example, your general practitioner may begin pharmaceutically treating you for depression but give you little insight into whats causing it or what type of depression it is. In all fairness, specifying depression types isnt your doctors area of expertise. While your GP can help you access prescription medication that can help with symptoms, you will do best in also seeing a mental health professional.
Your therapist or other mental health professional can help you understand how certain life events are contributing to your feelings of depression. They can also discuss how life factors like your gender, age, sexual orientation, ability status, and more impact your experience of depression.
You Have Trouble Maintaining Relationships
You care about people, but you often lack motivation to engage with them, to do things with them, or to see them at all. Where you used to feel rewarding sensations of love and contentment around people you cared about, youre now just on edge, drained, or worse, numb. Its not that you dont care anymore, its just that your brain isnt making things work. This again relates the reward circuit and the lack of dopamine kicking in to motivate and reward you for social interaction.
This kind of disconnection can be extremely difficult for you and the people around you to deal with. Depression cuts you off from the people you love, but you need people to get better. And, if people arent aware of your condition, theyre likely to take cold, disaffected attitudes as rejection and be hurt. You might lose them as part of your life.
Disconnection is a major sign of depression. While there are many things you can do to improve symptoms on your own, getting treatment should always be your first step. Depending on your existing diagnosis and previous treatment, you might need medication, behavioral therapy, counseling, or other forms of therapy. Most importantly, these should help you to reduce symptoms, manage those symptoms moving forward, and get back to your life. Reconnecting to your life, your friends, family, and emotions is possible and it will help.
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Not All Symptoms Of Bipolar Depression Are Obvious
I have bipolar disorder, and even though I use the plan that I write about in all of my books, I still have mood swings. Its an illness. By knowing the signs of an episode, Im able to catch it in the middle and do something about it.
Its easy to spot what we consider traditional depression symptoms: crying, lack of movement, sadness, silence, brain fog, slumped body, lack of desire, fear, hopelessness, helplessness, and an overall perception that life is not worth living.
Im here today to talk about the OTHER depressionthe one that is often mistaken for a personality flaw or written off as being in a bad mood.
I call the first kind of depression WEEPY DEPRESSION, and I call this depression ANGRY & IRRITATED DEPRESSION. People with bipolar tend to experience both, but we rarely get help for the second type since helping someone in this kind of depression is like talking with a really angry snake.
Are you ready to explore your own depression or the depression of someone you care about who has bipolar disorder? Lets Go!