Recovering from depression and anxiety is not easy but not impossible. It’s not like healing from a physical injury but requires more patience and consistent behavior.
Overcoming these mental disorders can take a few months or sometimes years. It’s different for everyone.
If you’re in search of the right remedy for you to deal with anxiety and depression then we’re here to help you. Learn more about the symptoms and coping strategies of anxiety and depression in this blog.
Recovering from depression and anxiety
Depression and anxiety affect millions of people and can occur to anyone in this world. If you’re suffering from either of these mood disorders then don’t feel alone. Various treatment options are effective in the process of recovery.
Your recovery depends upon your symptoms and their severity. Here are approaches you can follow to help you in recovering from depression and anxiety.
Learning about Anxiety and Depression
The most important step in overcoming anxiety and depression is learning about your symptoms and identifying the cause. Specifying the triggers can help in selecting the right type of treatment for you.
It is one of the most effective coping strategies for depression and anxiety. Several types of talk therapies including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) helps in minimizing the symptoms.
CBT helps in teaching how to work with your triggers. For anxiety, it reduces avoidant behavior and helps in reducing fear. For depression, it activates positive emotion and pleasant feelings when you feel low.
Psychotherapy or counseling sessions for anxiety and depression can help in relieving the burden over your chest.
For mild symptoms, self-help approaches can be a good start. You can start with changes in lifestyle such as exercises, mediation, dietary changes, relaxation techniques, yoga, breathing exercises, etc to reduce your symptoms.
If your symptoms are severe, your doctor or psychiatrist may prescribe your anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications. Some medications such as Selective serotonin retake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help with both depression and anxiety.
Other medications such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and anti-anxiety medications can be taken as per your doctor’s instructions.
Symptoms of depression and anxiety
Depression and anxiety are the most common mood disorders that can present clinically as physical as well as psychological symptoms.
They can affect the ability of a person to live his life normally. Here are the common symptoms and signs of depression and anxiety.
Depression can present as
- Lack of concentration
- Lack of energy
- Tiredness, fatigue and weakness
- Persistent low mood
- No motivation in life
- Body pain without any cause
- Loss of appetite
- Socially inactive for a long period
Anxiety, on the other hand, has a few similar and more different symptoms such as
- Racing thoughts and difficulty in concentration
- Irritable or agitated behavior
- Dizziness and weakness
- Increased heartbeat, breathing rate and sweating
- Muscle weakness and tension
- Lack of hunger, appetite issues
- Gastrointestinal distress (nausea, diarrhea, constipation)
- Choking or shortness of breath
- Fear, nervousness,
- Excessive worry about everyday events and problems
How to deal with depression and anxiety?
Dealing with depression and anxiety needs time and persistence. They are curable diseases and you can take professional help in your recovery process. You might need to see therapists for depression and anxiety if your symptoms do not show any improvement at home.
Most of the management options could work for both depression and anxiety. Following are few effective management options,
Relaxation Techniques: You can follow various relaxation techniques including yoga and meditation to relax your mind.
Correct Breathing Techniques: Taking deep, slow breaths will ease the tension and stress your body might be feeling.
Counselling and Behavior Therapy: Psychological counseling whether talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or exposure therapy, your doctor can decide which will work best in your case. They not only provide relief from anxiety but also benefit those suffering from depression.
Dietary Adjustments: Foods can increase or worsen your symptoms of emotional distress so it’s important to know what you’re putting inside your body.
Limit alcohol, caffeine, high sugar and high carbs intake. Add more fresh and unprocessed food to your diet.
Exercise: Physical activity or doing short bursts of exercise can help boost your mood when feeling low or sad. It will not only refresh your mind but also help in maintaining good physical health.
Building Self-esteem: Low self-esteem is somewhat similar to having depression. You should never feel low on yourself or feel worthless. Focus on the positive side and challenge negative beliefs.
Support Groups: Studies have shown that discussing your feelings with others having a similar experience can help people overcome anxiety and depression.
Medications: Along with therapy and a self-help approach, you might be needing medications to help with depression and anxiety. Medications for anxiety and depression are mentioned below.
Medicine for depression and anxiety
Several classes of antidepressants that can treat moderate to severe depression are :
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro (escitalopram), Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Tricyclic Antidepressants
- Atypical Antidepressants
- Selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
Most common anti-anxiety drugs include
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Lorazepam (Ativan).
You should only take these medicines as your doctor prescribes. In case of any side effects, call or visit your doctor immediately.
Depression and anxiety in college students
College might be a time of students’ life where they enjoy freedom and have new wonderful experiences. Recently, it has been reported that students suffer from depression and anxiety at an alarming rate.
In a study, it has been shown that one out of five students suffers from anxiety and depression in their college life. This is an alarming situation.
Several potential factors have led to such an increase in mood instability in college students. Some of the most common ones are changes in lifestyle, social media race, drug abuse, financial stressors, academic worries, etc.
The excessive use of smartphones and digital gadgets has increased the susceptibility to cause sleep disturbance, anxiety, and depression.
In a research study, it was noted that students from low-income backgrounds had higher rates of depression. Their low socioeconomic status and financial status became a source of insecurity and complexity for them.
Many college students reported the large volume of work and burden to be the major stressors in their lives. Those who lived in hostels or rented rooms suffered the most.
Another factor that led to emotional distress in college students was fear about future capability. They feared not getting jobs after graduation which led to anxiety.
Students, as well as parents, need to know the physical and mental impact of the college beforehand.
Not only them, but colleges also have to play a role in confronting this stigma. They can help with anxiety and depression by providing guidance, trained psychiatrists, and psychologists to college students.
What is the difference between depression and anxiety?
Anxiety and depression have quite similar biological bases as they both involve neurotransmitter changes. Despite that, both mental disorders are experienced differently.
They may occur sequentially yet they have some distinctive signs and symptoms. Let’s look at them individually.
Depression is a state of “low mood” or persistent feeling of sadness where you’ve lost the spark for life. You feel hopeless, worthless, and lack the motivation to do things you once enjoyed.
They believe nothing positive can ever happen to them in the future and the world is hopeless. They can spend days and weeks without getting out of bed or doing something productive.
Depressed people also have changes in their sleep, appetite and other daily routine work as they are demotivated.
Anxiety is usually a sense of fear, nervousness or feeling overwhelmed. It leaves you in a state of worry or stress. Intense stress can lead to distress and exhaustion, mentally and physically.
Suffering from anxiety means having uncontrollable, racing thoughts which are mostly negative. Not only do they have physical symptoms such as tachycardia, hyperventilation, palpitations, and nausea but they also are mentally affected.
They constantly think about death or fear of dying. Anxiety can literally drain you of your strength and hope.
Anxiety and depression have some key differences. Anxiety disorder is an umbrella term including conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), phobias, panic disorders, social anxiety disorder, etc.
Depression, on the other hand, is one condition with several symptoms. Signs of depression and anxiety can co-occur in a person leading to dual diagnosis.
Foods that help with depression and anxiety
There are many food items having beneficial nutrients that can ease your symptoms of anxiety and depression. You can add antioxidants to your diet to lessen the destructive effects of anxiety and depression.
Let’s have a look at what nutrients and food items you can add to your diet to improve your mental health.
Various studies have shown that Vitamin C has lowered the levels of anxiety and depression. Foods rich in vitamin C are tomato, oranges, kiwi, citrus fruits, blueberries, broccoli, etc.
Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that can help with improving mood and recovering from depression and anxiety. Foods such as kale, apricots, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach are rich in beta carotene which increase antioxidant levels and help optimal brain working.
During anxiety, our body uses Vitamin E in excess. This can deplete the stored vitamin and worsen the symptoms of anxiety.
Taking Vitamin supplements or food rich in Vitamin E such as margarine, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oil can restore the balance. It can provide some relief from stress and depression.
Omega-3 is a fatty acid and is found in high levels in fatty fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, and herring.
Omega-3 fatty acids provide eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which regulate neurotransmitters and improve cognitive function. They are beneficial in reducing the signs of depression and anxiety.
Researchers have shown a link between low Vitamin D levels and mood disorders including anxiety and depression. In a recent study, it has been proven that Vitamin D can help in recovering from depression and anxiety.
Eggs, salmon, tuna, beef liver, and cheese are good sources of Vitamin D.
Selenium rich foods
Selenium is an antioxidant and has proven to help improve mood. Foods such as beans, legumes, mushrooms, soybeans, Brazilian nuts, seafood, etc are a rich source of selenium.
Natural herbs or Herbal supplements
There is scientific evidence showing the benefits of natural herbs for depression and anxiety as well as herbal supplements. Herbal teas such as green tea, chamomile, etc claim to help reduce anxiety and depression.
Chamomile tea is a natural herbal remedy with antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Green tea contains an amino acid Theanine which has an anti-anxiety and calming effect. It is an easy replacement for soft drinks, coffee, and alcohol.
Foods to avoid
You should avoid food such as processed meat, fried food, refined cereals, high sugar foods, and high-fat dairy products. They are more likely to increase the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Avoid intake of nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol as they are best avoided.
Having a balanced healthy diet rich in fiber and fresh food can help in recovering from depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety are like two sides of one coin. They share some characteristics yet they are very different.
Many potential remedies exist to help in recovering from depression and anxiety. From clinical treatment to healthy lifestyle changes, you need to find the right type of remedy for you.
It’s important to identify the cause and seek prompt treatment before your condition worsens. It may take time but don’t lose hope, don’t give up!