Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression
Many people who I see often begin psychotherapy reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression. Fortunately, most of these difficulties can be overcome through psychotherapy.
These symptoms can emerge slowly, over time, or may appear suddenly. Washington DC psychologist, psychoanalyst, Dr. Lynn Friedman examines generalized anxiety disorder and clinical depression.
Anxiety and depression are nearly universal. Who hasn’t experienced, “stress” or the “blues”. And, these difficulties frequently occur together. The term, “mixed anxiety-depressive disorder”, is applied to those who suffer from both. Feeling worried or down at times is part of the human condition. But, how does one know when everyday anxiety and depression turn into more serious difficulties? And, how does one know when these difficulties warrant psychological evaluation?
Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety is more prevalent than the common cold. Who hasn’t experienced a knot in the stomach, heart palpitations, sweaty palms, worrying, irritability, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, a dry mouth, difficulty sleeping or restlessness? Who hasn’t felt “wired” or found that they were easily fatigued? These feelings and symptoms are ubiquitous. How does one assess when these symptoms are an anticipated and reasonable reaction to the endless gridlock, long commutes and the pervasive workaholism that is endemic to the greater Washington, D.C., area, or, when they indicate that something more insidious lurks beneath the surface? This is an important question because anxiety disorder is very treatable. Individuals with anxiety disorder can be helped.
Does your anxiety warrant a consultation with a psychologist or mental health professional?
Every day anxiety or Anxiety Disorder?
Once one has determined that their anxiety warrants psychological evaluation, how does one go about seeking treatment? And, how does one navigate the maze of options available in the Greater Washington, DC, area? What sorts of treatments are effective with generalized anxiety disorder? Research has demonstrated that many types of treatment are effective in alleviating anxiety disorder. How one goes about seeking treatment reflects ones personal goals. Treatments for anxiety disorder include: medication, cognitive behavior therapy, couple’s therapy, family therapy, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis as well as others.
Symptoms of depression
What are the signs and symptoms of clinical depression? People suffering from depression report a plethora of symptoms. These include: sleeping difficulties (such as: early morning awakening, insomnia and sleeping all of time), eating difficulties (including, a loss of interest in food, weight loss and/or weight gain), psychomotor retardation (they move VERY slowly) or psychomotor agitation (they move about non-stop), irritability, memory difficulties, trouble concentrating, indecisiveness, sadness, tearfulness, thoughts of suicide and/or death, feelings of hopelessness, feelings of guilt, feelings of helplessness, feelings of worthlessness, apathy, fatigue, a loss of sexual appetite and a loss of interest in life in general.
If a person has a number of these symptoms, persisting over a period of several weeks (in the absence of other medical or psychological difficulties) then, they are likely to have clinical depression.
Readers are sometimes surprised to learn that a person can have clinical depression without having the conscious experience of sadness or tearfulness. For example, in many cultures men are taught to suppress or deny the experience of sadness or their sense of hopelessness. Typically, these sorts of men are quite unaware that they are depressed. Instead, their depression is identified when they lament to their primary care doctor that they are fatigued or lack, “get up and go”.
Do your symptoms of depression warrant a consultation with a psychologist or mental health professional?
Individuals suffering from five or more of these symptoms for a period of two weeks or more may have clinical depression, providing that there has been a change in their daily functioning. Those with fewer symptoms may suffer from a less severe form of depression known as dysthymia. Individuals with these symptoms should consult a psychologist or mental health professional for psychological assessment.
Like generalized anxiety disorder, there are many effective treatments for clinical depression, including, medication, cognitive behavior therapy, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. In this day and age with treatment depression can be effectively managed and, often, even resolved.