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What Is Chronic Depression And Anxiety

How Do Antidepressants Help Ease Dysthymia

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There are different classes of antidepressants available to treat dysthymia. Your doctor will assess your physical and mental health, including any other medical condition, and then find the antidepressant that is most effective with the least side effects.

Antidepressants may take several weeks to work fully. They should be taken for at least six to nine months after an episode of depression. In addition, it sometimes may take several weeks to safely discontinue an antidepressant, so let your doctor guide you if you choose to stop the drug.

Sometimes antidepressants have uncomfortable side effects. Thatâs why you have to work closely with your doctor to find the antidepressant that gives you the most benefit with the least side effects.

Children And Adolescents With Chronic Illnesses

Children and adolescents with chronic illnesses often face more challenges than their healthy peers in navigating adolescence. Chronic illnesses can affect physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development, and they can take a toll on parents and siblings. These limitations put children and adolescents at higher risk than their healthy peers of developing a mental illness.

Children and adolescents with chronic illnesses experience many forms of stress. Parents and health care providers should be on the lookout for signs of depression, anxiety, and adjustment disorders in young people and their families.

Try To Eat Balanced Meals

Nourishing your body with whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, can help you get the nutrition you need and it could also help improve your symptoms.

Caffeine, refined sugars, and processed foods, on the other hand, could potentially worsen symptoms of both anxiety and depression.

You dont need to cut these out of your diet entirely, but try to balance them with nutrient-dense foods when possible.

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Do I Have The Symptoms Of Chronic Depression

Is your depression chronic ? Then, yep, it meets the definition. Like we said, chronic depression isnt a clinical diagnosis, so theres no checklist of symptoms to tick off. If youre wondering whether you qualify for a clinical diagnosis of persistent depressive disorder , here are the symptoms.

People with PDD experience depressed mood for a period of two years or longer, and two or more of the additional symptoms below. Your symptoms would be distressing and affect daily functioning, and youd never be without them for more than two months at a time.

  • Every day feels like a bad day. You could be crying over laundry commercials or going emotionally numb during a crisis. If you wake up 100% certain you know what the day will be likeits going to suckyoure living in the definition of a depressed mood. This is the #1 symptom of PDD.

  • Youre eating your feelings . If your relaxed-fit jeans are fitting more like skinny jeans these days, or vice versa, take note. Weight gain or weight loss might be an indicator of PDD.

  • You cant sleep . What about waking up so exhausted that someone has to literally drag you out of bed in the morning? All types of sleep problems can be a sign of PDD.

  • You feel worthlessness. A little bit of insecurity is normalno one is self-confident all the time . However, having low self-esteem and constantly rehashing negative thoughts over and over in your mind are linked to depression.

  • Can Anxiety And Depression Be Treated Together

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    Yes. No one has to suffer from anxiety disorder or depression, and certainly not both. People with anxiety disorder should speak with a psychiatrist, therapist, or other healthcare professional about their symptoms and start treatment as soon as possible. If you suspect you have both anxiety and depression, Connolly recommends getting a thorough evaluation from a psychiatrist as a first step. “It’s really crucial for people with both to have a good assessment to rule out bipolar disorder,” she says.

    Important: If you or someone you know needs help coping with anxiety or depression, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK . The Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they text to 741741.

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    Ways To Identify The Conditions

    If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression, one place to start is to speak with your primary care doctor. They can do an initial screening and may look for medical conditions that could be contributing to your symptoms. You will likely then be referred to a mental health professional for an official clinical diagnosis.

    The mental health professional will use the standard reference manual for diagnosing recognized mental illnesses in the United States, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition .

    The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for depression and each anxiety disorder are different. A diagnosis might be harder to make when anxiety and depression overlap.

    How Do Doctors Diagnose Chronic Depression

    Well, they probably wont since, as we mentioned, chronic depression isnt an actual diagnosis per the DSM-5its a colloquial term.

    Your doctor will probably consult the DSM-5 and ask questions to see if your experience matches with the symptoms of PDD. Answering the questions to the best of your ability will lead to a more accurate diagnosis.

    Since theres no blood test or cheek swab that can determine if you have chronic depression, your doctor will need to rely on conversations with you to get a full history, including any depression symptoms in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood what stressors youre dealing with now any physical symptoms youre currently experiencing your medical history, plus a family history of mental illness and major medical issues.

    Your doctor may also want to rule out underlying medical causes, such as thyroid disease and vitamin deficiency, which can mimic symptoms of depression.

    They may ask about any medications youre taking, such as beta-blockers for hypertension, acid reflux drugs, anti-inflammatory corticosteroids, cholesterol-lowering statins, and more, or they might ask about your use of alcohol and street drugs. Theyre not just being nosytheyre trying to get to the root of the problem, and some of these substances are linked to depressive symptoms.

    Before we move on to treatments, remember thisits important!

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    What Is Persistent Depressive Disorder

    Persistent depressive disorder is mild or moderate depression that doesnt go away. A person with PDD has a sad, dark, or low mood and two or more other symptoms of depression. The symptoms last most of the day, on most days, over a long period of time.

    Healthcare providers used to call the condition dysthymia or dysthymic disorder.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Depression

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    Each person is different and will have unique symptoms, but here are some of the more common symptoms of depression:

    • Depressed mood
    • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness or hopelessness
    • Loss of interest or pleasure in usually-enjoyed activities
    • Change in weight or appetite
    • Sleep disturbances

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    Symptoms Of Major Depressive Disorder

    The essential feature of major depressive disorder is a period of two weeks during which there is either depressed mood most of the day nearly every day or loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities. Other potential symptoms include:

    • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain and changes in appetite

    • Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day

    • Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day

    • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day

    • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt

    • Impaired ability to think or concentrate, and/or indecisiveness

    • Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a plan, or a suicide attempt or suicide plan

    The symptoms of major depressive disorder cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning.

    Where To Find A Therapist Who Is Familiar With Chronic Pain

    If you are already working with a medical professional for your chronic pain , you can start by asking them about resources for your pain-related mental health. Many primary care settings or pain clinics offer pain support groups or psychoeducation groups.

    Even if your doctor or medical center does not offer pain-related mental health support onsite, they can likely refer you to a therapist that specializes in pain management. It can be very helpful to have interdisciplinary teams work collaboratively on treating chronic pain. Therefore, you may want to consider signing a release of information to allow communication between the various professionals you are working with.

    If you are searching for a therapist on your own, using chronic pain as a search term on a therapist directory site will help you find a therapist with this subspeciality. You can also search for chronic pain support and therapy groups on the same site. Alternately, because CBT and ACT are therapeutic modalities that have both been shown to be effective in treating chronic pain, you may decide to search for a therapist with this specific orientation.

    In addition to general therapist search engines, the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies provides a searchable CBT therapist database. The Association for Contextual Behavioral Science provides a searchable database for ACT therapists.

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    Is Therapy Effective For Treating Chronic Pain

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has demonstrated small-to-medium effect sizes on pain-associated anxiety and depression and has even shown effects on pain and functioning that are comparable to medical care.8,12 CBT-related changes in helplessness and catastrophizing seem to be a particularly important component to long lasting change in overall functioning. The benefits of CBT have been demonstrated in a range of pain populations, including cancer, lower back pain, multiple sclerosis, and nonspecific musculoskeletal pain.

    Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction has shown long lasting reductions in the severity of pain intensity and has shown small-to-medium effects on pain-related anxiety and depression.7,8 It has also been studied with diverse pain samples, including cancer-related pain, fibromyalgia, and chronic migraine. Finally, MBSR has been found to enhance treatment outcomes when combined in interdisciplinary treatment.

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a newer therapeutic modality, so it has not been studied as extensively as CBT has, but it is also showing promise in treating pain-related mental health and functioning.8,9

    Some studies have found medium-to-large effect sizes in treating pain-related anxiety, disability, number of medical visits, and work status. Lower effect sizes have been found for depression and actual pain. ACT has also demonstrated effectiveness with multiple pain populations, including musculoskeletal pain and whiplash associated disorders.

    Chronic Pain And Depression Anxiety And Mental Health

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    Chronic pain is defined as any significant pain that has persisted for longer than three months. Chronic pain can have a far-reaching impact on someones life, including potential reliance on pain medication, limiting ones ability to engage in occupational and social activities, and emotional distress. There are clear links between chronic pain and depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Therapy has proven helpful for those experiencing chronic pain to manage their pain successfully and live full lives in spite of it.

    BetterHelp has over 20,000 licensed therapists who provide convenient and affordable online therapy. BetterHelp starts at $60 per week. Complete a brief questionnaire and get matched with the right therapist for you.

    Choosing Therapy partners with leading mental health companies and is compensated for referrals by BetterHelp

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    Why Are Anxiety And Depression Often Co

    Its a cycle, says Sally R. Connolly, LCSW and therapist. When you get anxious, you tend to have this pervasive thinking about some worry or some problem. You feel bad about it. Then you feel like youve failed. You move to depression.

    These two disorders anxiety and depression have a complicated relationship:

    • The chance of acquiring depression is much higher when an anxiety disorder already exists. Nearly half of those with major depression also suffer from severe and persistent anxiety.
    • People who are depressed often feel anxious and worried. One can easily trigger the other, with anxiety often preceding depression.
    • People with post-traumatic stress disorder are especially prone to developing depression.
    • A biological predisposition for both of these conditions if often at the root of an individuals battle. This seems to be true with anxiety disorders even more than with depression. Connolly explains, Some people are just worriers and pass it down.

    People with an anxiety disorder should speak with a psychiatrist, therapist or other healthcare professional about their symptoms. Treatment for an anxiety disorder should not be delayed. If not caught in time, depression may find the door wide open for moving in and setting up house in those individuals.2

    Assessing Your Chronic Anxiety And Addressing The Symptoms

    Chronic anxiety is generally not something that goes away on its own. Anxiety can change your brain. It alters thought patterns and makes you more prone to negative thinking, catastrophic thinking, over-sensitivity to health and physical sensations, and more. The longer you live with anxiety, the more anxiety may consume your thoughts.

    That’s why it’s so hard to cure without some type of strategy and considerable commitment. You can’t wish anxiety away, and those that depend on some type of “quick fix” are likely going to be sorely disappointed. You CAN effectively treat anxiety, but you need to make sure that you’re at a point in your life where you’re willing to make life changes to ensure your anxiety doesn’t come back.

    There are a lot of strategies people use to combat anxiety. The more common include:

    There are several “alternative” therapies and anxiety reduction techniques as well. Some work better than others, and some people find that they have more success with one than others will. For example, hypnosis has been known to work, but it tends to work poorly for those that don’t believe in it.

    For any treatment to work, it needs to be based on your symptoms, and it needs to involve proven strategies that will help you cope with anxiety over the remainder of your life – not simply dull it away and prevent you from learning to cope on your own.

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    Symptoms Of Depression And Anxiety

    Anxiety and depression are some of the most common mental disorders today- and their prevalence is on the rise. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention reported that there has been a significant increase in the percentage of people in America exhibiting signs of anxiety or depression since the COVID-19 pandemic. Anxiety and depression can have a profound impact on work, relationships, and personal life, so it’s important to receive a proper diagnosis in order to take the right steps to manage your mental health.

    Anxiety and depression can often take different forms depending on age, gender, socialization, and cultural background, as well as personal differences unique to each individual. In men, anxiety and depression often manifest themselves in anger, irritability, and reckless behavior. Women are more likely to exhibit symptoms of depression including feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and persistent fatigue. In children and young adults, symptoms can vary from separation anxiety and clinginess to defiant behavior and trouble in school.

    Not sure if you’re going through depression or anxiety? While mental illness varies from person to person, there are a few common signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for. The more symptoms you experience and the longer you experience them for, the more likely you are to be dealing with a mental illness like anxiety or depression.

    How Psychotherapy Fits Into Chronic Pain Management

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    There are many ways therapy can help you to cope with chronic pain. As we talked about, the ways you think about and manage your pain can impact whether or not you will also experience associated depression and anxiety. For instance, focusing on and magnifying the negative aspects of your pain typically makes you feel worse.

    A therapist can help you learn to catch these thoughts patterns, so you can replace them with more balanced and helpful thoughts. Acknowledging the pain without judgment, reducing maladaptive ways of avoiding the pain , and learning to live a full life despite the pain.

    Therapy can also teach you things about pain that will help you learn to manage it more effectively. For instance, you might learn about how pain information gets to your brain, so you can learn how to use things like distraction to reduce pain. You will also learn tools for coping with pain, such as relaxation techniques and activity pacing.

    Many people with chronic already struggle with feeling like a burden to their friends and family, so therapy can provide you with a space where it is okay to talk about difficult emotions. A therapist can also help you learn how to get the most from your existing support system or may encourage you to begin to develop one.

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    Reach Out To Loved Ones

    Strong relationships can go a long way toward improving your outlook and emotional well-being when you live with mental health conditions.

    Friends and family can:

    Simply knowing you have someone you trust in your life can often help you feel less alone, whether you actually want to talk about your symptoms or not.

    Treating co-occurring depression and anxiety can sometimes be more complicated than treating one condition alone. Even when you get treatment for one condition, some symptoms might persist or seem to play off the others.

    For example:

    • You cant stop worrying about all the things going wrong in your life, or thinking about the ways things could get worse. These fears eventually drain your energy and motivation to keep trying, leaving you feeling low and hopeless.
    • Social anxiety keeps you from connecting with people in the ways youd like. You want to make new friends but generally end up avoiding interactions instead. This leaves you feeling lonely, sad, and guilty, especially when thinking of those missed opportunities, but helpless to do anything differently.

    A mental health care professional may recommend combining treatment approaches, since what helps ease depression symptoms may not always relieve anxiety symptoms, and vice versa.

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