Anxiety and fear are normal reactions to stress and serve an important function of alerting a person to potential danger. However, sometimes anxiety can interfere with feelings of well being, interfere with daily life, and may even escalate into panic attacks. Anxiety disorders may be general or related to specific phobias.
Depression is a pervasive feeling of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or helplessness. It may be mild to severe. Depression can lead to anxiety and vice versa.
Persons with anxiety may experience irritability or restlessness, irrational fears, racing or unwanted thoughts, rumination, lack of concentration, excessive worry, feeling of impending doom, insomnia, fatigue, sweating, especially sweaty palms, dry mouth, tense muscles, trembling, nausea, palpitations, rapid breathing, or avoiding social situations.
Depression is characterized by a feeling of sadness that persists for several days or longer. One may experience anger and irritability, fatigue, decreased energy, ruminating thoughts, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, loss of interest, feelings of guilt, suicidal thoughts, physical aches and pains, GI issues, changes in appetite or weight, insomnia or oversleeping.
Both anxiety and depression may be treated with therapy, including assistance with building an active lifestyle incorporating relaxation techniques, dealing with problematic thought patterns including fear and guilt, identifying and dealing with emotional triggers, gaining confidence, and dealing with phobias. Self care should include a healthy diet avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and recreational drugs, getting consistent exercise, developing good sleep habits, time/stress management, and relaxation techniques. It is important to fact check thoughts and stay in the present moment, as often as possible. Prayer and other spiritual practices may be very helpful, remembering that we are beloved children of God and that He is in control and desires the very best for us.