Clinical depression and anxiety affect 40 million adults over the age of 18. These conditions are common and can lead to alcohol and drug abuse as people seek substances to mask their feelings. That’s why recovery is so important.
It’s important to know the difference between feeling depressed and having clinical depression. Feeling down every now and then doesn’t necessarily mean you have clinical depression. Life events – the death of a loved one, marital issues, work stress – often leave many of us feeling down and discouraged.
Clinical depression is deeper than having a bad day every now and then. It is usually diagnosed if a patient is feeling depressed most days of the week or for a long period of time. This kind of depression can cause changes in your weight, sleep patterns, energy levels and overall feeling of self-worth. People with clinical depression may lose interest in past hobbies, isolate, neglect responsibilities and have trouble making decisions. Some may contemplate suicide or feel life is just not worth living.
Anxiety also can impact your ability to work or interfere with your personal relationships. It’s normal to feel anxious during certain life situations. But if the feelings don’t go away or get worse over time, you should see a doctor.
Taking the first steps
Treatment for clinical depression and anxiety begins with identifying the problem and talking to your doctor about how you’re feeling.
It’s important to be open and honest about your symptoms and emotions. Keep a log of how often you’re feeling depressed and for how long. This can help your physician determine if you are experiencing a bout of depressive moods or suffering from clinical depression.
If you are diagnosed with clinical depression or anxiety, there are plenty of treatment options. These are highly treatable conditions.
Lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, are helpful in reducing the feelings of depression and anxiety. Psychotherapy can help you develop more effective coping skills. Therapy sessions may be one-on-one and/or in group settings. There are also medications available to help manage clinical depression and anxiety. The combination of therapy and medication has proven to be successful for many.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can direct you to service locations.
The National Helpline provides 24-hour free and confidential help for substance use and mental health disorders.
If you or your loved one aren’t quite ready to seek in-person help, there are national helplines that can ease you into your path of recovery.
Here are a few helplines available for 24-hour, confidential support:
National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Support for all mental and substance use disorders, as well as prevention and treatment advice
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-237-TALK (8255)
Prevention hotline available for anyone contemplating suicide or undergoing extreme emotional distress
National Drug Helpline: 1-888-633-3239
Support for those struggling with drug and alcohol abuse or addiction
Our Health Tips on recovery topics this September are in support of National Recovery Month. Learn more about UCF health and wellness services, including recovery support.