Depression and anxiety – Basic facts and how to fight them during this pandemic

depressionToday, people all over the world are suffering from the immense effect of COVID – 19 outbreaks. Doctors and medical researchers are working day and night to find a cure for this pandemic. But it will probably take more time and effort to get a solution to this problem. Until then, people around the world might need to help each other to overcome such tough situations.

People may need constant support from their family, friends, and people close to them for surviving the devastating effect on their physical, mental, and financial health.

The effect of coronavirus not only drains physical health, but it will also ruin our mental health. Sometimes it’s tough to identify which mental illness is affecting our mind. But if we look closely and give the effort to recognize the symptoms, we may determine the problems and fight against them.

Here I am going to discuss the basic facts, such as the types, symptoms, and treatments about 2 major mental health disorders – Depression and Anxiety. This information will be highly beneficial for people to fight against such mental health issues.

#The definition of depression

Depression is an emotional sign when people may experience sadness, lowness, upsetness, or unmotivated. Depressive disorder typically affects human thoughts, moods, feelings, and behaviors. There are multiple symptoms of depression that can be seen in a patient. After identifying the symptoms, a patient should inform the doctor about such a situation. By consulting a mental health specialist, patients may learn more about the type of depression they are currently experiencing

#What are the different types of depression?

 

Name Details
a. Major depression The most common type of depression
b. Bipolar Disorder Also called Manic Depressive Disorder
c. Psychotic Depression Experience hallucinations or delusions.
d. Dysthymia Low mood over a long period
e. Postpartum Depression Seen mostly on moms after baby birth
f. Atypical Depression Feelings of heaviness in the limbs are caused by irritability and relationship issues.
g. Seasonal Affective Disorder Depression is due to a lack of natural sunlight.
h Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Seen on women and affects their ability to function normally
i. Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) The key feature is irritability which is chronic and severe
j. Situational Depression Normally experienced due to sad life-changing events

 

#The symptoms of depression

There are many symptoms of depression which can be observed in a patient:

●        Withdrawal from close relations

●        Feeling hopelessness

●        Extreme sadness

●        Crying

●        Aggressiveness

●        Lack of concentration

●        Oversleeping

●        Lack of appetite

●        Fatigue

●        Headache

●        Insomnia

●        Tiredness

●        Anger

●        Substance abuse

●        Irritability

●        Anxiousness

●        Suicidal tendency

●        Avoiding sexual interest

●        Weight loss or gain

 

These symptoms are useful for identifying a patient suffering from severe depression. People should consult a professional asap if such symptoms are seen

#How to fight against depression

a) Medication

Doctors will suggest several antidepressant medications initially, on a trial and error basis. This is because different patients may react differently to the same medicines throughout the entire course of the treatment. So, doctors may need to observe first, after using particular medicine and then proceed to further treatment.

 

Types of antidepressant may include:

●        Tricyclic antidepressants

●        Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

●        Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

●        Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

●        Atypical antidepressants

 

b) Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy can be beneficial for depression treatment, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Psychiatrists may also prescribe patients to try meditation or yoga to reduce depression. Apart from that, people also need to remember that they should avoid drugs, smoking, and alcohol at any cost.

c) Light therapy

This therapy is mostly used to treat patients suffering from seasonal affective disorder.

In several serious cases, doctors may also suggest electroconvulsive therapy or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

d) Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

This method is approved by the FDA and performed through a specific device. TMS is used to heal Depression (adults ages 22 to 68 years) if other conventional treatment methods fail. This method uses magnetic pulses which may stimulate nerve cells in the brain, and improve symptoms of depression. There are many patients who are living a normal life after getting the positive effects of TMS on depression.

e) DIY strategies

People who are struggling with coronavirus depression may follow these strategies to keep their spirits up:

 

a) Limit the amount of information you consume – Set a time limit of 30 minutes for news and social media to gather information each day.

 

b) Keep a schedule – Schedule every day’s work, before starting the day. At the end of the day, check everything and make a to-do list for the next day.

 

c) Be productive with your free time – Make a list of activities to perform such as reading, drawing, painting, singing, dancing, cooking, etc.

 

d) Focus on the things you can control – Follow the suggestions provided by the major health agencies monitoring and fighting coronavirus such as the CDC and the WHO.

 

e) Connect with others – Talking to family members is beneficial during such situations. Using smartphones or computers to make video calls can be effective to connect with friends and relatives.

 

f) Exercise regularly – By doing a regular workout for at least 30 mins a day, people may reduce stress and depression. Meditation or yoga can be helpful to increase concentration and reduce mental pressure.

 

Let’s get some light over the Mental health issue called ANXIETY.

 

#The definition of Anxiety disorder?

 

As per the American Psychological Association (APA), anxiety is – “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.”

Severe anxiety disorders may trigger excessive nervousness, fear, fearfulness, and shock into the patient’s mind.

 

40 million citizens in the United States are already affected by anxiety disorders. Unfortunately, only 36.9% of patients receive proper treatment.

#What are the different types of anxiety disorders?

There are several types of anxiety disorders that patients may experience:

 

# Name Details
a. Generalized anxiety disorder The signs may include continuous worry, restlessness and lack of concentration.
b. Panic Disorder or Agoraphobia Caused by fear, patients may experience one or more panic attacks.
c. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Triggers unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that may lead to compulsive behaviors.
d. Social anxiety disorder Social interactions may trigger irrational anxiety, fear, self-consciousness and a feeling of embarrassment.
e. Separation anxiety disorder Kids are especially prone to separation anxiety if they feel stressed. Symptoms may include nightmares, fear, shyness, crying, rapid breathing, or palpitations.
f. Illness anxiety disorder (hypochondria) Symptoms include a long-term and intense fear of having a serious condition. Adults are more prone to this illness.
g. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptoms may include nightmares or flashbacks, agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, insomnia or nightmares.
h. Substance-induced anxiety disorder Practically, the consumption of drugs or alcohol may increase nervousness, agitation, sleeplessness, irritability, and obsessive fears.
i. Selective mutism or situational mutism Especially seen in kids and teenagers, and characterized by a kid’s inability to communicate properly or effectively in some critical situations.
j. Specific phobias The sense of unreasonable or irrational fear related to a specific object or situation.

 

#The symptoms of anxiety disorders

An anxiety disorder may damage a patient’s mental health as well as affect their physical health too. Here are the symptoms that may indicate a severe anxiety disorder.

Signs and symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:

●        Lack of concentration

●        Excessive tension

●        Frequent urination

●        Difficulty in breathing

●        Unusual thirst

●        Restlessness

●        Sleep sickness

●        Headaches

●        Muscle tension

●        Muscle aches

●        Sweating

●        Feeling edgy

●        Irritation

●        Loss of appetite

●        Nausea

●        Sudden numbness

●        Tiredness

●        Trembling

 

#How to fight against anxiety disorder

Patients with anxiety disorders might suggest these methods of treatment:

1) Proper medications

Doctors may suggest a few antidepressants to treat anxiety disorders. Two of the most popular names are Escitalopram and Fluoxetine.

Patients may also be given fewer anticonvulsant medications if they experience epilepsy. Low-dose antipsychotic drugs and anxiolytics also work well in such cases.

Alprazolam and Clonazepam can be used for treating social, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic attacks.

2) Prolonged psychotherapy

Patients should consult an expert on psychotherapy who can deal with anxiety disorder with proper care and emotional response. With proper counseling, a mental health expert may heal anxiety disorder. But the treatment process may take time to cure the patient. So, patients should trust the doctor and be patient.

The family members should support the patients during such time so that they can comfortably proceed with the treatment.

3) Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychological treatment method which is used to treat multiple mental health problems such as anxiety disorders, depression, substance abuse problems, marital issues, eating disorders, etc.

 

Apart from the above-mentioned therapies, some common habits may also help you to fight anxiety:

a) Following a daily routine

b) Staying active

c) Doing regular exercises

d) Getting enough sleep

e) Try meditation or yoga

f) Eat less oil and fresh veggies. You may eat salmon, green tea, turmeric, chamomile, dark chocolate, yogurt, etc.

g) Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, and chocolate.

h) Strictly avoid alcohol and smoking cigarettes.

Endnote

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues may become a serious problem if they are not treated well with proper medications and therapies. Always consult your doctor before trying any new therapy or medicines. Consult your healthcare provider at any time if you face sudden symptoms. Best of luck.

By Ralph Macey

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