Our guest post today comes from Marie Miguel, she has a heart for helping those hurting with mental illness. She highlights the importance of getting online therapy for anxiety and depression if you are struggling.
Facing Anxiety or Depression? Online Therapy can Help
Many people experience some anxiety or depression in their lives – everyone has had a bad day or experienced a difficult few weeks once in a while. However, for some people, anxiety and/or depression can take over their lives and interfere with their ability to live a happy and successful life.
Anxiety and depression are the two most common mental health disorders in the United States. Close to one-quarter of American adults suffer from anxiety disorders every year – that is well over 40 million people with anxiety disorder in the country alone. In addition, there are more than 16 million (close to 7%) people in the United States that have some form of depression.
Even if you are not depressed, you are likely to have an anxiety disorder sometime in your life. Of course, you could have both anxiety and depression – it’s very common that these are comorbid, or occur together. 60% of those diagnosed with anxiety will also have depression symptoms, and about the same percentage of those that are diagnosed with depression will also experience anxiety symptoms.
Because anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition, the chances of you being affected are pretty high. As a matter of fact, either you or someone you know probably has some form of anxiety disorder.
There are several types such as social phobias, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Some of the most commonly reported symptoms of these include:
- Avoiding certain people and places
- Breathing fast, or feeling unable to catch your breath
- Chronic fatigue
- Fear for no obvious reason
- Feeling extremely stressed out
- Feeling like you are going to die
- Gastrointestinal distress (stomach issues such as vomiting or diarrhea)
- Inability to relax
- Insomnia (cannot fall asleep or stay asleep)
- Lack of concentration
- Muscle tension and/or spasms
- Obsessing over everything or over one thing constantly
- Racing thoughts
- Rapid heart rate or heart palpitations
- Shaking or trembling
- Sweating more than usual
As with anxiety disorders, there is more than one kind of depression. Some depressive disorders include seasonal affective disorder (SAD), bipolar depression, persistent depressive disorder (PDD), and major depressive disorder (MDD). While some of the symptoms can vary, the most commonly reported signs of depression are:
- Chronic fatigue
- Eating more or less than usual
- Inability to concentrate
- Inappropriate feelings of guilt
- Isolating yourself from others
- Lack of daily hygiene such as showering or changing clothes
- Lack of interest in activities usually enjoyed
- Lowered self-esteem
- Memory loss
- Negative thoughts
- Persistent sadness or feeling down for no reason
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Slow-talking or moving
- Thoughts of suicide
- Vague aches and pains
- Weight gain or loss
How Can You Tell the Difference?
Of course, it may be difficult to tell the difference between one mental condition and another for some. Unlike other conditions, mental health disorders are still quite a mystery of sorts because there is no cut-and-dry test like a blood analysis test or x-ray that can help your provider diagnose you. In fact, sometimes it may take years for even the most experienced mental health providers to diagnose a person with a certain mental illness because many of them have overlapping or similar symptoms.
Treating them is, therefore, extremely difficult. However, getting treatment always starts with talking to someone who is an expert on the subject.
Why is it So Difficult to Manage Anxiety or Depression?
For those with anxiety disorders, going out in public places or crowds or being in certain social situations (like giving a presentation at work or in front of their class) can cause a full-blown panic attack (rapid heart rate, chest pain, dizziness, fainting, sweating, feeling like you are going to die).
In fact, many people with severe anxiety disorders have a hard time keeping a job or maintaining relationships because of their inability to interact with others comfortably. So, how can you be expected to find a therapist, set an appointment, show up for the appointment, and actually talk to a stranger face-to-face about your feelings? That is difficult for everyone, of course, but for someone with an anxiety disorder, it can be an impossible task.
Those with depression are not in any better position to research and find some help. Many days it may be hard to get out of the house and for some, it is hard to even get out of bed. Some people with depressive disorders may spend several days in bed without showering, managing their personal hygiene, eating, or interacting with anyone. This isolation is just a facet of the depression.
If you have a severe case of depression, making an appointment and going to it can feel like an insurmountable task.
How Online Therapy can Help
When you do not want to go out in public or even get out of your bed, going to see a therapist in person is not likely. Online therapy is a wonderful choice in situations like these. You can use your cell phone, laptop, or tablet and message your therapist right from your bed, or wherever else you feel comfortable. And no appointment is necessary so you can contact your therapist whenever you feel the need.
Online Therapy for Anxiety and Depression
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.