Thursday, February 21, 2008

Living with Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression are both very serious mental illnesses all on their own. Unfortunately, they can also go hand-in-hand, making everyday life very difficult for the person who is suffering. Fortunately, if the conditions are recognized and proper help is obtained, they can be overcome successfully.

Due to the nature of both anxiety and depression, understanding the signs and symptoms of the two conditions is vital for helping a person regain control of life. While one condition doesn't necessarily cause the other, it is not at all uncommon to see them manifest together. Considering the potential ramifications of both anxiety and depression, early diagnosis and proper treatment is almost always advisable.

Anxiety's Telltale Signs

Anxiety can present itself in a number of different ways. From very particular phobias to generalized anxiety about everyday living, the actual triggers might vary. Some of the symptoms that tend to go across the board, however, include:

- Signs of a heart attack. Things like racing heartbeats, palpitations and even chest pains and discomfort can go along with anxiety. People often think they are having an actual heart attack.

- Stomach discomforts
- Sweating
- Trouble sleeping
- Irritability
- Impending sense of fear, doom or even worry about imminent death

If anxiety is particularly severe, a person might experience a full-blown panic attack. These episodes are incredibly frightening to the person suffering from them. Inasmuch, many people who suffer from anxiety try to safeguard themselves from the things they see as triggers. Whether this is social situations, heights, public speaking or even being separated from family or leaving the house, the end result is the generally the same - some form of isolation. This tends to be where anxiety and depression can intersect.

Depression's Signs

Everyone feels blue from time to time, but real depression is a like a black cloud that smothers. The symptoms of this condition, if left unchecked, can lead to suicidal thoughts and even actions. Keeping an eye out for them is imperative when other mental illnesses, such as anxiety, are present. They are:

- Feelings of guilt, hopelessness
- Thoughts of suicide or death
- Changes in eating habits
- A desire to isolate oneself
- Lack of interest in normal activities
- A feeling of sadness that persists for several weeks or longer

Anxiety and depression are both very real, very serious illnesses. Fortunately, both can be treated rather effectively if their signs and symptoms are recognized and acted upon properly. Seeking counseling and even medication therapy can help put a person back on the right path. Trying to work through a combination of anxiety and depression alone generally is not advised.

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