How To Manage Your Anxiety and Depression in the Era of Covid-19 and Global Recession

How to manage anxiety and depression

As a GP (Family Physician) a significant number of my patient population present to me with Anxiety and or Depression. This has increased and unsurprisingly so in the last few months, the fear of contracting Covid-19 I believe will not have as much of an impact as the decline in society’s mental health.

It isn’t just older people, children too are struggling with anxiety and low mood. I have spoken to some that are now struggling with motivation to live and on the flip side, others are terrified about potentially dying soon. 

It is one of those moments you wished your predictions weren’t right but more positively it’s why I knew I couldn’t keep postponing the people we could help through Soulful Pursuit.

What is Anxiety?

How To Manage Your Anxiety and Depression in the era of Covid-19 and Global Recession

This is when feelings of anxiousness which include continuous worry, the feeling of unease, and fear start to interfere with your daily life. This can show up as panic attacks, phobias, PTSD, and social anxiety.

Symptoms include the following; 

  • Sweating
  • Feeling tense or nervous
  • Hyperventilating
  • GI symptoms
  • Constant worrying 

There are different types of anxiety disorders; I recently reviewed a patient who suffered from Agoraphobia and had not left their home in nearly two years. I frequently treat panic disorders and social anxiety disorder.

  • Panic Disorder: this is when the physical symptoms of anxiety such as chest pain, sense of impending doom, trembling, rapid breathing occurs in repeated intense episodes. To the extent patients have presented to the hospital fearing a heart attack is the cause of their symptoms.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: when a high degree of fear and anxiety causes one to avoid social situations. Often there are feelings of worthlessness and being viewed negatively.

If we take a closer look there is often a trigger for anxiety with depression. This could have occurred now such as lock-down or childhood trauma. Which when a stressful event occurs manifests as anxiety and or depression.

Certain illnesses can cause or increase the risk of anxiety with depression; such as thyroid disease, Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Drug misuse. In these cases, it’s important that we treat the underlying condition as well as managing the symptoms of anxiety and or depression. 

What is Depression?

Persistent low mood that causes feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and loss of interest in day to day activities. 

A depressive episode can cause disturbances of sleep, appetite, concentration, and when severe can lead to thoughts that life isn’t worth living. 

Having depression and often with anxiety doesn’t happen because you’re weak and often one cannot just ‘get over it’. It requires a management plan and often with the support of a professional.

Symptoms include the following; 

  • Poor concentration
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Irritability
  • Reduced appetite
  • Tearfulness
  • Anxiety 
  • Suicidal ideology
  • Physical aches and pain

And in children, we often see a slight variation of the above such as clinginess, worry anger, and poor attendance at school.

Get Emergency Help

If you have any thoughts of harming yourself or that of suicide immediately contact help via 999, Good Samaritan (116 123),  your GP or reach out to a loved one. 

If you know of a loved one that is struggling with depression, with thoughts of suicide then make sure they are not on their own. Contact 999 or 111 for further support and guidance. 

There are many theories regarding the cause of depression but this is not still fully understood.

  • Biology- science suggests that people with depression appear to have physical changes in their brains.
  • Hormones- in the body’s regulation of hormones for instance during pregnancy and following delivery these changes can lead to postpartum depression.
  • Genes- depression can be more common in individuals with a family history.

Can Stress Cause Anxiety Or Depression?

Yes. This is why there has been a recent significant increase in the presentation of anxiety with depression.

Stress causes the individual to feel overwhelmed, unable to focus and at it’s worst feelings of hopelessness.  If there is a lack of good social support or coping strategies often due to childhood trauma, physical illness, or personality traits it develops into a depressive episode.

Right now many have lost loved ones, jobs, their homes and with continued fear of catching Covid-19 to not have some level of stress would be difficult. 

Other triggers include physical or sexual abuse, co-existing mental health disorders, and abuse of alcohol or drugs.

But what I want you to know if any of this is something you may be dealing with is that you can get better. Not only are you equipped to start your discovery, but there are also many resources out there to support you and that’s why we at Soulful Pursuit do what we do.

How To Manage Anxiety And Depression During Current Times

First and foremost if you’re reading this trying to figure out how to deal with anxiety and depression well done for making that first step. When I speak with my patients they often undervalue how much strength it takes to make that first step; to make the call and ask for help. 

Mental health can affect anyone, so don’t think it only happens to people like me or beat yourself up that you ought to do better. I know when I’m stressed; my eczema flares up and previous to my self-work I would simply treat the skin problem never stopping to consider that someone like me; yes a Doctor can get stressed and if not dealt with can develop into anxiety or depression.

Often we spend our time being strong for others that we may even miss the warning signs from our body; that constant headache or GI symptoms that have no physical cause could be your body telling you that you need to slow down or you need to remove yourself from a harmful situation.

Listen to this and take positive steps to manage your symptoms. Doing this not only gets you on the road to recovery but also gives you a better coping mechanism when life ultimately happens again.

If your symptoms are mild to moderate NHS and Mayo Clinic websites are good sources of information; the most important place to start is introspection and self-care.

What this involves is looking at your feelings, why you have certain thoughts and feelings, and what you can do to manage the negative symptoms.

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Hi! I'm Dr Jessica

I share my expertise as a Family Physician to provide you with the support and tools to a holistic lifestyle.

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