Saturday, February 8, 2020
Depression and Anxiety
Feeling down or having the blues now and then is normal. Everyone feels anxious from time to time- it’s a normal response to stressful situations. But severe or ongoing feelings of depression and anxiety can be a sign of an underlying mental health disorder. Depression and anxiety are different conditions, but they commonly occur together. They also have similar treatments. The best way to understand the difference between the two disorders is with the primary symptoms, starting with the mental symptoms.
- Fear of what’s about to happen and what could happen in the future.
- Worried thoughts, or a belief that something could go wrong.
- Feeling like you need to run away or avoid things that could cause further anxiety.
- Feeling of sadness about the future, as though it’s hopeless.
- Lethargic, and a lack of a belief that positive things will occur.
- Little worry, but instead a certainty of future negative emotions. Possible suicidal thoughts.
Those with anxiety often find themselves feeling like something bad might happen and they’re worried it will. Those with depression often assume a bad future and don’t expect anything else or think there’s anything worth preventing.
Depression can occur after someone experiences anxiety, because someone that deals with severe anxiety may end up feeling drained and hopeless once their anxiety or anxiety attack is over. That’s why the two conditions can be difficult to tell apart. Similarly, those with depression can still fear certain things getting worse, despite already being of the belief that the future is less positive or bright. Physical symptoms can be very different as well. Though again, there are similarities. Both anxiety and depression can leave you feeling drained and fatigued. But in the case of anxiety, it tends to occur after intense anxiety, while with depression it tends to be more constant, without necessarily any triggers. Other physical symptoms include:
- Fight-or-flight response symptoms, such as shaking, sweating, feeling the need to run or move.
- Physical symptoms that resemble health disorders, especially if accompanied with health worries.
- Fast heart rate, bowel issues, hyperventilation, and other energy-caused symptoms.
- Severe lack of energy or drive.
- Flat affect (complete lack of emotion) along with slowed thinking and behaviors.
- Severe appetite changes, headaches, and sleep problems.
Depression actually tends to have fewer physical symptoms, but the mental symptoms can be so dangerous (especially the potential for suicidal thoughts) and the lack of energy so pronounced that many people with depression deal with intense struggles daily that certainly rival the symptoms of anxiety.
Anxiety may occur as a symptom of major depression. It’s also common to have depression that’s triggered by an anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder or separation anxiety disorder. Many people have a diagnosis of both an anxiety disorder and clinical depression.
Symptoms of both conditions usually improve with psychological counseling, medications, such as antidepressants, or both. Lifestyle changes, such as improving sleep habits, increasing social support, using stress-reduction techniques or getting regular exercise, also may help. If you have either condition, avoid alcohol, drugs, and smoking. They can make both conditions worse and interfere with treatment.
If you or someone you know has five or more of these symptoms for two weeks or more, it could be caused by depression or anxiety.
Confidential help is available by calling your APFA EAP Department at (817) 540-0108 extension 8701 and a National EAP rep will return your call. You may also email us at [email protected]
Employees also have the option to meet with a counselor for up to four in-person counseling sessions free of charge.
If you’re covered under BCBS or United Healthcare, please call (800) 363-7190.
Counselors provide confidential support and are there to assist you with information, resources, referrals, and a list of therapists in your area. Inform them you are an American Airlines Flight Attendant that would like to take advantage of the four free counseling sessions.
In Unity & Solidarity,
APFA National EAP Coordinator