As the novel coronavirus pandemic moves into its seventh month, it is more important than ever for people to examine their mental well-being and recognize when they may feel anxious, sad or depressed. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has warned that rates of anxiety and depression have increased between two- and fourfold compared to the same time last year.

Everyone feels sad or blue from time to time, but depression is more than just a bout of the blues. Depression isn't a weakness and you can't simply "snap out of it." Depression may require long-term treatment. But there is hope. Most people with depression can and will feel better with medication, therapy or a combination of the two.

Common signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness

  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities

  • Sleep issues, including inability to sleep or sleeping too much

  • Tiredness and lack of energy or drive

  • Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased cravings for food and weight gain

  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or increased self-blame

  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things

  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide

In today’s demanding and fast-paced world, it can be hard to know if the stomach-churning stress you feel at the thought of meeting new people or facing that job deadline is “normal” stress or if you’re experiencing some actual level of anxiety and could benefit from seeing a professional therapist.

Common signs and symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense

  • A sense of impending danger, panic or doom

  • Increased heart rate

  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)

  • Sweating

  • Trembling

  • Feeling weak or tired

  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Gastrointestinal (GI) problems

  • Difficulty controlling worry

  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

Getting help from a skilled, well-trained and compassionate therapist is key to moving beyond persistent feelings that can prevent you from enjoying a healthy and fulfilling life. If you or a loved one are experiencing depression and/or anxiety, know that treatment is available and people are here to help, not only during a pandemic, but always. 

Behavioral Health Services of Arkansas provides therapy for children, adolescents, families, adults and seniors in a comfortable environment. Treatment focuses on a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues and contemporary work, school or family problems. Call (501) 954-7470 or click here to request an appointment with a professional therapist. Our team is available for in-person and virtual appointments.