Mental illness affects one in five adults in the United States each year; that’s about 43 million people. The most prevalent mental illnesses are depression and anxiety, affecting 18.1% of ages 18 years and older each year. Emotions are healthy. Humans are designed to experience grief, loss, sadness, and fear. However, if these healthy emotions turn to anxiety or depression, it may be a sign of a deeper issue. Anxiety disorders are treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive the treatment they need.
Reacting to a stressful or life-changing event such as losing a job, or losing a loved one is healthy. As we look to take care of our minds and bodies, it is important to realize the point where sadness turns into depression or worry turns into anxiety attacks. Being mindful of these distinctions is crucial. When you start to drown your feelings by drinking a few glasses of wine at night to de-stress, or your mood starts to limit your day-to-day activities, this is an indication it is time to stop for a moment and seek help. Depression and anxiety can be a serious condition, impacting every aspect of your life, from your appetite to sleeping.
Most people turn to their primary care health provider; others reach out to a mental health professional for counseling, and some might need more intensive treatment to stay safe and stabilized. Knowing when to ask for help is critical. Keep in mind that if you are feeling down, people are acting concerned about you, and others are helping you more than usual, it is time to ask a professional for help. There is no shame in asking!
I have patients that routinely tell me that the money spent on counseling is the best investment in themselves they have ever made. Be mindful of how you are feeling. If you are struggling or if you notice that things aren’t right, take the time to talk to your doctor or mental health professional to get back on track and start feeling like yourself again.
Here are six quick tips to help you manage your anxiety and depression:
- Turn your bedroom into a Zen palace
- Keep a regular bedtime hour
- Have a routine one hour before bedtime
- Avoid devices with screens, anything that causes stress or mental stimulus before heading to bed
- Exercise regularly
- Go outside every day
Dr. Nelson is Director of Clinical Services at The Florida House Experience in Deerfield Beach. The Florida House is an innovative treatment center for mental health and substance use disorders that utilizes a whole person model treating clients medically, clinically, and with the latest technology in order to live happy and productive lives.