Mental health is a fundamental aspect of our overall well-being. It encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social state, influencing our thoughts, feelings, and actions. However, akin to physical health, mental well-being can sometimes be compromised, leading to the manifestation of various disorders.
In this blog post, we will delve into two common mental health disorders: depression and anxiety. We will explore their symptoms and discuss the crucial role that psychiatrists play in their treatment.
What is mental health?
Mental health, according to the World Health Organization, is a state of mind that equips you to cope with stress, recognize your capabilities, learn effectively, work productively, and support your community.
Mental health is significant for everyone, irrespective of age, gender, culture, or background. It can influence our physical health, relationships, work, education, and our ability to enjoy life and achieve our goals.
Some of the most prevalent mental health issues that individuals may face include anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Next, we will explore the symptoms and treatment options for the first two.
Anxiety: symptoms and types
Anxiety is a mental health disorder that can significantly impact daily life. It is characterized by excessive worry, fear, and a constant feeling of unease.
The American Psychiatric Association explains that anxiety is a normal stress reaction and it can be beneficial in certain situations such as before a job interview or a performance. However, it becomes problematic when it begins to interfere with daily activities.
A person diagnosed with this disorder must experience fear or anxiety out of proportion. Some other anxiety symptoms include:
- Excessive worrying
- Restlessness or feeling on edge
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty concentrating or controlling worry
- Sleep disturbances
- Panic attacks
The causes of anxiety are not entirely clear. It can be a combination of multiple factors such as genetics, chronic diseases, or a family history of stress. The good news is that with proper treatment, anxiety levels can be managed.
Depression: how to recognize it?
According to the WHO, approximately 280 million people in the world have depression. Depression is a mental health disorder that goes beyond experiencing occasional sadness or feeling down. It is characterized by persistent feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and a lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities.
The mood fluctuations associated with regular life are different from depressive episodes. These could last most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks.
To recognize signs of depression and differentiate them from feeling sad or down, you should pay attention to the following symptoms:
- Persistent low mood or sadness
- Fatigue or low energy levels
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Psychiatrist: what do they do?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing, treating, and managing mental health disorders.
The American Psychiatric Association explains that psychiatrists can perform a wide range of medical laboratory and psychological tests to obtain a full picture of a patient’s mental and physical health.
To diagnose mental disorders, psychiatrists rely on the DSM-5, the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a manual containing descriptions, symptoms, and other criteria.
Psychiatrists use a variety of treatment methods, such as talk therapy, medications, psychosocial interventions, and others, depending on the patient’s needs.
Mental Health Treatment: how to address anxiety and depression?
The first step in seeking help from a psychiatrist involves an initial evaluation where they will assess your symptoms and medical history. During this process, psychiatrists use evidence-based techniques to diagnose mental health disorders accurately.
Once an anxiety or depression assessment is done, comes the diagnosis. Psychiatrists formulate a treatment plan, which may include a combination of the following:
- Psychotherapy: also known as talk therapy, psychiatrists help individuals manage mental health issues through discussions and counseling.
- Medication: In some cases, therapists prescribe medications such as antidepressants, also known as “depression pills”, that include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine, to help relieve symptoms and promote recovery.
Mental health disorders can have a profound impact on individuals’ lives. Fortunately, at DaVinci Health we have a team of psychiatrists, adult and child psychologists, psychotherapists, and counsellors who are ready to help.
Don’t hesitate to prioritize your mental health and seek help from a psychiatrist when needed. Check our consultant’s timetable, find a doctor near you and book your appointment.
Your health will thank you!