Just when most people feel energized because it is spring, others want to pull the covers over their heads. Seasonal change can be harder on those with anxiety and depression. Speaking with your primary care physician can be a first step in feeling better.
“Often patients dismiss their earliest suspicions of depression or anxiety,” said Jesse Pace, DO, a family practice physician with Mission Family Medicine Glenwood. “Patients usually come in because they aren’t sleeping or are feeling irritable.”
People often live with untreated depression or anxiety for years due to the stigma of mental health issues. People with clinical depression cannot simply “pull themselves out of it.” It is a legitimate medical condition that must be managed.
It may be surprising that depression causes actual physical symptoms like pain, exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, headaches, recurrent thoughts of suicide and changes in appetite.
“Everyone has anxiety and depression at some point, but when it interferes with daily activities or you’re having intrusive thoughts of bad things, it’s time to get help,” said Dr. Pace.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, while anxiety disorders are highly treatable, over 60 percent of those suffering don’t receive treatment. “Seek help as soon as you think something is amiss,” said Dr. Pace. “We have options from therapy and counseling to medications. The bottom line is to ask for help.”
Tips for Talking with Your Doctor about Anxiety and Depression
- Don’t wait. Talk with your doctor as soon as you have concerns about not feeling like yourself. Give your provider ample time and information to help you.
- Recognize that while you may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, you are seeking help for a real medical concern.
- Be prepared to talk about changes you’ve noticed in your sleep, eating habits and mood.
- Be ready for blood tests. Depression can be linked to other conditions like your thyroid function. Your doctor may want to rule out conditions with a simple blood test.
- Be prepared for your doctor to ask about family history and other symptoms.
- Keep an open mind.
Jesse Pace, DO, is a family practice physician with Mission Family Medicine Glenwood.