Depression, Anxiety, and Emotional Stress
Feeling sad or blue for a period of time, particularly in response to upsetting events, such as a break-up, a loss, or big change, is a normal part of the human experience. Sometimes those "blues" can cross the line into clinical depression, and it is important to be able to distinguish between the two.
Depression impacts multiple areas of your life and lasts for longer than a typical "funk." Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Social isolation
- Low mood
- Sleeping and eating disturbances
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Thoughts of self-harm
Anxiety, simply put, is a combination of arousal and fear. A small amount of anxiety is positive and adaptive because it activates you to try out new and challenging things. However, too much anxiety can lead to:
- Panic attacks
- Sleep disturbance
- Trouble concentrating
- An overall decline in functioning
Mood is strongly correlated to motivation, concentration, and energy levels. Prolonged dips in mood can greatly impact work performance. In environments where collaboration and interaction are crucial to occupational success, the social withdrawal associated with depression can be an obstacle. Similarly, the avoidance associated with social anxiety can be problematic in the workplace.
Depression can lead to social withdrawal, which can reinforce a low mood—a vicious cycle. Depression can also be an underlying factor of anger. Anger often causes conflict and makes it more difficult for others to provide support.
Anxiety, social anxiety in particular, can negatively impact existing relationships and interfere with the development of new ones.
In the same way depression and anxiety can impact work performance, prolonged dips in mood can greatly impact your ability to study and perform.
Anxiety is similarly linked to performance. As grades are so dependent on performance on tests, presentations, and projects, debilitating anxiety can greatly interfere with academic success.
Depending on the severity of symptoms and the impact on functioning, there are a number of ways to manage mood and anxiety disturbances. These range from basic self-care and stress management techniques, to outpatient counseling (individual, couple, family, or group), medication management, and finally inpatient treatment.