It can be challenging to identify when someone is mildly to moderately depressed.
James Randall Parks, MD, chief of psychiatry at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center, advises that there are a few signs to watch out for, including prolonged irritability, sleeping troubles and unusual body upsets, such as stomachaches.
And, unless severe, anxiety also often has subtle manifestations. The most common warning sign is excessive worrying.
When multiple symptoms are present, it is important to seek help. Depression and anxiety can affect one’s level of function and quality of life, and there is a great deal of support available.
“Depression is like putting dark glasses on your brain,” notes Dr. Parks. “If you’re not depressed and don’t have those dark glasses on, and you look at a certain situation, it looks one way. The exact same person, when they’re depressed, … the same situation is going to look dark.”
Often, there is stigma or a feeling of disapproval associated with depression. But Dr. Parks explains that depression is a chemical change. Asking someone to stop being depressed is comparable to suggesting that someone adjust their blood sugar by just thinking about it.
Depression and anxiety are illnesses like any other physical illnesses and are treated as such.
“If [you] come in and get help, usually we get [you] better.”
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