Recognizing and Proactively Treating Anxiety and Depression
Depression and anxiety affect at least 25% of the population at any point in time. Symptoms of depression may include feelings of worthlessness, poor concentration, lack of energy, sadness and an inability to experience pleasure or joy in life, changes in sleep and appetite, and sometimes a loss of hope for the future and suicidal thoughts. Clinically significant anxiety may or may not coexist with depressive symptoms. Typical anxiety symptoms often include persistent worry, irritability, a feeling of being “on edge” or “keyed up”, and difficulties with insomnia. In addition to generalized anxiety, some people may also experience panic attacks, specific phobias, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms. When screening for depressive and anxiety disorders, it is also essential to rule out the presence of bipolar symptoms which may be characterized by intense mood swings, unnatural euphoria or irritability, markedly increased energy with less of a need to sleep at night, and at times impulsive behaviors reflecting impaired judgment. Whether a person suffers from depression, anxiety, or a bipolar spectrum disorder, untreated mood symptoms can have a profound effect on a person’s subjective quality of life, interpersonal relationships, and functioning at work. Treatment involves individual psychotherapy and, when necessary, medication, as well as education regarding the recognition and prevention of future mood episodes.
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