Last Update: January 23th, 2017
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental disorders in the world, to the point where you could wonder why are they even disorders in the first place, seeing that they are so common.
Project Conquest is all about overcoming your issues with anxiety and depression, whether they are disorders or just feelings. Nobody likes feeling depressed or anxious, right?
But it’s all about perspective in that sense – the way you feel shapes the way you perceive, and what you perceive changes how you feel. It’s a never ending cycle, and without knowing the symptoms of anxiety and depression you are not going to be able to identify them, let alone actually resolve them.
So in this very important page, we are going to break down the symptoms of anxiety and depression one by one, first naming them and then identifying them properly.
Now keep in mind, not all the symptoms of anxiety and depression must fit you for you to suffer from anxiety and depression.
In case you aren’t sure, well, let’s just hope that this page will help you to clear this out.
Now keep in mind, each disorder has levels of severity, so not all symptoms may apply to you at the same level stated, or to any level really, as they are being written generally, not specifically – this isn’t a diagnosis after all.
But as I said, you don’t have to exhibit every symptom.
With all that being said and done, let’s break it down:
According to the United States National Institute of Mental Health, up to 18% of adults suffer from anxiety disorders
This isn’t a mistake, either. 18% of the population in the United States suffer from anxiety, 22.8% of which suffer from a “severe” case of anxiety.
That number actually breaks down into multiple disorders that are all being categorized under the term “anxiety disorders”.
Symptoms may vary because of that fact too.
The anxiety disorders break down into the following:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Phobic disorders
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Separation anxiety
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (Won’t talk about this one)
- Situational anxiety
Sounds simple enough, right? Alright then, let’s jump right in!
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
3.1% of the United States adult population suffers from a generalized anxiety disorder, but what does this actually mean?
Well, people who suffer from this disorder basically worry excessively about everything, even about things that they can’t control. Not only that, they flat-out can’t let go of their worries. That worry consumes their life, they never relax and never fully immerse themselves in any activity because they never stop worrying! This may be the “classic” example of an anxiety disorder because that’s what it really is – an intense sense of worry.
Now keep in mind, this is the “General” anxiety disorder for a reason – all other anxiety disorders are similar to this one.
I can personally admit to suffering from this disorder, and you could easily figure out by the description if you might be a part of that percentage as well. Some specific symptoms include:
- Worry, to the point of an obsession.
- Always edgy and stressed, can never relax.
- Trouble sleeping
- Easily startled
- Irritable, easily annoyed.
- Constant headaches
- High blood pressure and heart rate
- Tightness and pain around the chest area.
- Indecisive, and might break down if faced with pressure when forced to make a choice.
There are more GAD symptoms for more severe cases, like diarrhea for example, but if at least three, maybe four, of these seven symptoms apply to you then you might very well be suffering from GAD. You shouldn’t worry too much, though (heh, puns) when it comes down to dealing with problems the first step is always to identify them first.
When it comes to phobic disorders anxiety is very common, so much so that all phobic disorders were classified under the term ‘anxiety disorders’.
This isn’t about being scared and fearful but rather about having an irrational sense of dread revolving around a certain issue. according to doctor Roger Covin, the author of “the need to be liked”, fear is a type of reaction to an object or an event, that makes the individual feel anxious.
Pretty normal, yeah? A phobia, on the other hand, is filled with constant anxiety. There is a pretty clear-cut difference between someone who’s afraid of dogs and someone who has a phobia for dogs.
The former would react to the dog in some way, where’s the latter would watch his back all the time, just in case some dog might attack him from behind.
Alongside the general symptoms of anxiety, some unique symptoms for a phobic disorder include:
- Intense sense of constant dread
- Feeling the need to run away
- Actually knowing that you are overreacting, but not being able to do anything about it.
- An odd sense of tingling all over your body.
- Feeling light-headed
- Hot and cold flashes.
- Twisting stomach
There are a few more symptoms but those are the ones you should be feeling the most – Otherwise, it may become more difficult to differentiate between all types of phobias.
A Phobic disorder is a mixture of fear and anxiety to a great extent. It comes to the point where you can’t go anywhere or do anything without that sense of dread. Some of the symptoms of a phobic disorder include general symptoms of fear alongside anxiety, which makes it unique in that sense.
When you break it down a panic disorder is just what you would think it is – a constant stream of panic attacks.
Now, what is a panic attack? Basically, a panic disorder is when you experience intense and repeated short periods of intense fear.
Unlike a phobic disorder, a panic attack is short, yet recurring and far more intense.
If you were to condense an entire phobic disorder into a short burst of 10 minutes or so – you would get a panic disorder.
Some symptoms of a panic attack include:
- Intense, concentrated sense of fear
- Feeling as though you are being choked by something, struggling to breathe.
- uncontrollable shaking.
- Heightened emotional reactions
- Feeling “out of it”, as if everything is unreal
- Feeling that you are about to lose your mind
- Hot and cold Flashes
- Trouble breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Intense fear of sudden death.
Going through a panic attack is a terrible experience.
It is highly draining and leaves you helpless.
According to the DSM-5, you need to experience at least 4 of these 13 symptoms for your experinece to be labeled as a panic attack.
The fear of recurring panic attacks may cause a disorder called agoraphobia, in which a person avoids different environments in fear that they are unsafe.
The two are related in the sense that being forced into this “unsafe” environment will likely lead to a panic attack. And each time you get a panic attack at a certain place, you might develop agoraphobia towards that place and never return there again.
It might become very difficult if that place is your job or school.
Most of us heard the term “social anxiety” at least once up until now, even if it had nothing to do with us. Despite the fact that humans are social creatures, not all of us feel the burning need to go and interact with other people.
When we do, however, comes the main issue – we find ourselves avoiding social situations due to a very unreasonable fear of being humiliated in public.
Sure, nobody likes being made fun of, but people with a social anxiety disorder are flat-out phobic of the very notion. Ask yourself this – have you ever avoided working in front of other people?
What about eating?
Struggling when you are the center of attention?
Walking past a “crowd”?
If you said yes some of these you might be suffering from a social anxiety disorder.
Fear not, however, we are in the same boat you and me – and we will pull through together!
Some symptoms of a social anxiety disorder include:
- Avoiding crowds
- Becoming very awkward and confused when putting on the spot
- Have trouble engaging in conversation with other people
- Great sense of fear and dread towards being embarrassed, often times very irrational
- Reflecting upon each and every social encounter you go through
- When it comes to interacting with people – always fearing the worst
Sounds familiar? Well, it isn’t too bad. Social anxiety may be a great burden to you, but you are far from being the only one. Up to 15 million people in the U.S alone suffer from social anxiety! That’s 15,000,000 in case I minimize. Seems crazy, right?
Post-traumatic stress disorder
This one is actually a time bomb in a sense. A post-traumatic stress disorder may not surface for years after the event that caused it in the first place, for all you know you yourself might be suffering from it in a few months or maybe even years.
Like the name suggests, though, a post-traumatic disorder occurs due to a certain event that was a traumatic experience for you. I personally never went through such a disorder so I can’t say as much about it.
- Flashes of memory
- Physical or emotional reaction upon being reminded of the event
- Emotional detachment
- Avoiding the issue
- Reckless behavior
- Great sense of shame about your issue
- Weakened memory
- Suicidal thoughts
If you went through a traumatic event, my condolences.
However, as surreal as it seems it doesn’t have to be the end for you – you can and will go through your troubled times – there’s always a tomorrow that is yet to come.
Separation anxiety is where the person experiences anxiety after being separated from a place (From home, for example) or a person (a loved on, a parent etc).
You probably aren’t suffering from separation anxiety.
It is by far most common with children and it is a natural part of their growth, it becomes a disorder at the point when an older child still suffers from the same symptoms or goes through the same behavioral patterns.
Adults can experience it as well but generally don’t since adult minds are more developed in the sense that they aren’t as dependent on others as children are, but there are cases in which an adult went through a Separation disorder.
For example, a paranoid girlfriend may suffer from a separation disorder due to issues with her parents.
The symptoms of a separation disorder are:
- High levels of distress and worry when separated from the thing they are attached to
- Becoming fearful of losing said object of attachment
- Fearful of staying alone
- General physical symptoms (headaches, nausea, dizziness and the like)
Although you yourself might be suffering from such a disorder due to some different events in your life, such as a bad relationship, but it is far more likely that one of your children (or only child) will suffer/has suffered/is suffering from this disorder to some degree at on point or another.
That’s fine, it’s a natural part of growth for a baby or a child to become less dependent on its parents. But if those issues go past that point then you should start worrying.
If you yourself are suffering from this disorder, which is also possible, you should be looking on the bright side – learning to stand on your own two feet will only help you grow stronger as a person.
Unlike the other anxiety disorders, that are being triggered by your thoughts about a certain situation, a situational anxiety disorder is, as the name implies, purely based on the situation at hand and is very general.
Generally, symptoms are similar to GAD, but only emerge when a person is feeling ‘trapped’ in a specific situation.
All manners of anxiety and panic that weren’t included in the former categories apply here.
A few examples include:
- You being terrified of crowds without suffering from a social anxiety disorder
- feeling ‘trapped’ in traffic and going through a panic attack inside your car
- being forced to wait for a long time with only your thoughts as company may lead to a panic attack as well.
- Going through a panic attack after a failure at something, regardless of how minor.
- Panicking during an airplane takeoff, because of your inability to control your surroundings
This disorder isn’t as specific as the other anxiety disorders in terms of symptoms, as it is a mixture of all of them to some level, and it’s the most specific in the sense that it occurs during very specific situations only
Most symptoms of the different anxiety disorders are very similar, hence why there’s a generalized anxiety disorder in the first place – all other anxiety disorders have nearly the very same symptoms as the GAD, yet can be vastly different at times.
Next, there is depression.
It’s very common for someone who suffers from depression to also suffer from anxiety and vise Versa.
I think that makes sense in more than one way – One of the causes of depression is stress, and one of the symptoms of anxiety is a high level of stress.
The two go hand in hand in that sense, which is why my website deals with both of them.
Alright then, what are the symptoms for depression?
Major depressive disorder
Also known as clinical depression or just “plain” depression. When most people talk about someone being depressed (that is when they don’t confuse between the mood of depression and depression as a disorder) they normally refer to this type of disorder, and it’s so common that up to 350 million people go through it during their lifetime all around the world.
But what is actually clinical depression, and how different is it when compared to “regular” depression?
Well, “depression” is a type of mood, and thus it will pass by itself. Clinical depression on the hand will not. As simple as that, really.
Depression may come out as situational, like being depressed after giving birth or suffering from depression based on the current season.
- Immense fatigue
- Feeling worthless
- General lack of interest
- suicidal thoughts
- Eating disorders (eating too much or too little)
- Sleeping disorders (sleeping too much or too little)
- Feeling heavy
- Slower reaction time
- Slow speaking patterns
- Avoiding eye contact
- Passive body language
- Want to be left alone all the time
- Unable to experience pleasure in formerly pleasurable activities
- Diarrhea and nausea
There are some more symptoms, but those are the most common ones. The idea is that a depressed person will have a pretty hard time hiding the fact that they are depressed. It radiates out of them, it’s not something those around you won’t notice, possibly even before you do.
If you suffer from at least four of these symptoms then you probably have clinical depression.
Major depression breaks down into a few different subcategories such as chronic depression and melancholia, but they are basically the same thing and are treated the same way.
Chronic depression is less severe than Major depression but one can suffer from it much longer – at times for years to come.
“Alright Vlad, I know what the symptoms are, but what now?”
Well, identifying the issue at hand is the first step you would have to take to overcome it, and it is the most important one. In later articles, I will review, in-depth, different causes for anxiety and depression and the ways for you to treat them.
Until then, join My email list for special updates and motivational articles!
Also, for every question and issue, you may have, I am always available, so send me an email and I will answer!
My email: firstname.lastname@example.org