What is depression?

Depression is a severe illness that stems from chemical imbalances and neurological dysfunction in your brain. The condition may also be triggered by environmental factors such as abuse, neglect, poverty, or substance abuse.

Depression symptoms include:

  • Feelings of intense sadness, hopelessness, or guilt
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or friends
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts

Depression is different than the occasional feelings of sadness or grief that everyone experiences from time to time. It causes pervasive symptoms that impact your quality of life and make even the most simple daily tasks feel impossible. Depression can last for weeks or months, and will not get better on its own if left untreated.

What is anxiety?

Stress and anxiety are also normal emotions that play a role in helping you avoid danger throughout your life. However, anxiety disorders cause intense feelings of fear or nervousness about situations or objects that are usually benign. For example, if you have generalized anxiety disorder, you may have anxious feelings about:

  • Job responsibilities
  • Family health
  • Schoolwork
  • Day-to-day chores or appointments

In addition to intense and irrational fears, anxiety can cause symptoms such as muscle tension, irritability, and insomnia.

There are several different types of anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, separation anxiety, and specific phobias. Your experience of panic attacks identifies panic disorder, characterized by episodes of extreme fear accompanied by heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating, trembling, and other disruptive physical symptoms.

How are depression and anxiety treated?

At LifeStance Health, the team begins treatment for depression or anxiety with a comprehensive assessment to develop a deep understanding of your condition and to confirm your diagnosis. Assessments can take 90 minutes or longer but should feel like a conversation where you answer a lot of questions about yourself.

Once your provider understands your condition and symptoms, they work with you to create a customized treatment plan to address your needs. Your program may include medication, therapy, and lifestyle modifications.

Many patients benefit from medicines that control their symptoms so they can focus their energy on exploring the underlying issues that contribute to their symptoms. You will also learn techniques to adjust your behavior in response to negative thoughts or feelings.

Call LifeStance Health or make an appointment online today.