Plenty of myths and misconceptions surround the topic of mental health and anxiety disorders – giving more traction to the stigma that follows it. Contrary to popular belief, mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression are highly common in the U.S. and across the globe. In fact, data from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America show that over 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from a form of mental illness every year; that’s almost 20% of the population.
Whether you are aware of it or not, you likely know a person who struggles with anxiety or depression on a daily basis. However, it’s important to remember that mental illnesses don’t always manifest and present themselves in outwardly visible ways. A person with anxiety won’t always look like they are nervous and scared, while individuals with depression might not always seem down in the dumps. Mental illnesses have an interesting way of exhibiting different signs and symptoms in each person they affect.
It’s also important to remember that not every mental illness is caused by a trauma or is “just a phase” that will pass in time. Many people live with depression and anxiety every single day, which is why it’s incredibly important to pay attention to the signs and symptoms associated with mental illness. If you believe your mental health needs professional attention, it’s essential that you reach out to a licensed therapist.
To ensure that you’re taking care of your mental health, keep your eye out for these common signs associated with anxiety and depression:
- Repetitive thinking: is a common symptom associated with anxiety disorders. Repetitive thinking and obsessive thoughts may be indicators that one’s stress levels are exceedingly high. Associated symptoms may include:
- Consuming thoughts about what to say to someone, what you should have said, what you didn’t say, etc.
- Constant “what-if” scenarios
- Over-imagining failures and faults, all-or-nothing thinking
If you feel like your brain is working over-time to keep up with anxious thoughts, it might be time to take a step back and focus on improving your mental health.
- Sleep problems: Although sleep problems can be related to a number of health issues, anxiety is one of the most common reasons. While anxiety has a tendency to cause severe exhaustion, many individuals find that they have trouble falling asleep. This can be attributed to other symptoms of anxiety, such as overthinking, OCD tendencies, stress, etc.
- Irritability and anger: Heightened irritability and anger issues are telltale signs that your mental health needs attention. Anxiety and depression can cause your nerves to be overly tense while your mental state is shorting out. This can cause rapid mood swings and flare-ups of anger or overly emotional outbursts.
- Aches in your back, head or stomach: It may sound surprising, but anxiety often manifests itself in physical pain, such as aches in your back, head, or stomach. Mental illnesses such as depression can oftentimes magnify aches and pains throughout your body, causing your mood and mindset to take a dive.
If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or another form of mental illness and have experienced the symptoms, it’s important that you seek the right professional help to get your mental health back on track.
About Shawn Kernes
Shawn Kernes is the Co-Founder and CEO of LARKR On-Demand Behavioral Health, which aims to make mental, emotional, and behavioral health care immediate, accessible and affordable for all.