When Do Anxiety and Depression Require Professional Help?

We all experience sadness. We’re passed over for jobs, we break a precious item, or we lose a friend who moves away — things like this happen all the time and can affect us deeply. However, when feelings of sadness take on a life of their own, you may be living with depression. Depression often goes hand-in-hand with anxiety, and together the two can wreak havoc on your personal, professional, and family life.

At the offices of Amir Ahuja, MD, we understand the seriousness of depression and anxiety, and the possible consequences of these conditions. Dr. Ahuja is a mental health and LGBTQ+ advocate who works closely with all his patients to give conscious, customized care. You don’t have to live with sadness and tension forever — when you work with a qualified and compassionate individual, it can help you deal with your mental health issues. 

How do I know if I have anxiety and/or depression?

Anxiety, by far, is the most common mental health disorder in the United States. It’s estimated that about 40 million of us are living with this specific issue, and according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, less than half of those who have it will seek treatment for it. To be clear, occasional anxiety is completely normal — all of us have had to speak publicly or live through an uncomfortable situation. But when your anxiety affects you several times per week, or even every day, that’s your first sign something is wrong. Some common symptoms of anxiety disorder include:

Depression is a slightly different story: just like anxiety, it’s perfectly normal and natural to feel sad for short periods of time. Losing something (or someone) precious to you, for example, can understandably cause periods of sadness. If these feelings last longer than two weeks, though, and appear with other symptoms, you may be dealing with depression. Major depressive disorder, meaning a period of depression lasting for at least two weeks, affects at least 7% of the US adult population. If depressive episodes last for two years or longer, you may have developed persistent depressive disorder; about 3.3 million Americans are affected. The warning signs of any type of depression are fairly clear:

Dr. Ahuja understands that depression and anxiety can change the way you think and perceive the world around you, and how detrimental both conditions can be to yourself and to everyone who loves you. Depression and anxiety don’t discriminate based on age, race, sex, or nationality, though due to a variety of circumstances, some nations have higher rates of depression and anxiety than do other nations. 

Though our mental health care system could use some improvements, there are resources available for you if your mental health is seriously suffering. If you feel suicidal or like you might do harm to others, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline right away at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

When do anxiety and depression require professional help?

While the answer to this question is quite nuanced, the bottom line is you should seek treatment when you’ve experienced any of these signs of depression and anxiety for longer than two weeks. Most people living with these conditions will have them for a long time before even seeking a diagnosis. Treatment will depend on Dr. Ahuja’s professional medical opinion, on your medical history, and on your present needs. Both anxiety and depression can respond to a combination of psychotherapy, medications, and lifestyle changes.

A diagnosis of depression and/or anxiety doesn’t mean there’s no hope. If you’re living with either or both of these conditions, our priority is to treat you, so you can live a more normal and productive life. The sooner you call Dr. Ahuja at 310-426-8938, or book an appointment with him online, the sooner we can start your journey to better mental health. 

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