When Do Anxiety and Depression Require Professional Help?

May 10, 2023
When Do Anxiety and Depression Require Professional Help?
Anxiety and depression are serious conditions that sometimes occur together and can make it harder to live your day-to-day life. But how do you know when to seek professional help for your mental health?

Depression and anxiety are extremely common mental disorders that affect people all over the world. During the pandemic, the percentage of people with anxiety and depression increased in the United States, which meant more and more individuals were struggling with these disorders' uncomfortable and sometimes life-altering symptoms. 

But when are anxiety and depression just feelings that will disappear, and when do you need to start seeing professional help? 

At Black Onyx, we offer integrated psychiatric care for those who require help for their mental health and wellness. Our providers — Peter Pham, PMHNP-BC, and Diana Bush, PMHNP-BC — offer individualized care that puts their patients first, which is essential in treating these conditions.

Understanding anxiety and depression

We all feel anxious or depressed from time to time. But these feelings are usually part of an overall tapestry of emotion that takes us through our daily lives. However, if you notice you're dealing with severe anxiety and depression that doesn't go away with time, this is your first sign that you may require help. 

Some people deal with one or the other, but in many cases, depression and anxiety disorders occur simultaneously, a condition known as comorbidity. About 70% of people with depression have at least some anxiety symptoms, and 40% to 70% are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. 

When you know one or both of these disorders is affecting you, there are many ways to cope. Meditation, breathing exercises, journaling, and leaning on your support network can all be effective. But often, these coping mechanisms aren't enough, and you'll need professional help. 

When to seek professional help for your anxiety or depression

People live with these disorders every day, and sometimes, the need for professional help comes and goes. For others, being on medication or attending therapy is necessary for years or even decades. Whether it’s for a short time or a lifetime, here are some good rules of thumb for when professional help is needed.

Your disorder is making it hard for you to live your life

Have you noticed your symptoms are making it hard to work, connect with your loved ones, or even get out of bed? Any time your mental disorder affects your daily life, it's time to seek help.

You feel sad or anxious a great deal of the time

Many people can function well with anxiety and depression. They get up every day and do what's necessary, but deep down, they are extremely fearful, lonely, or unhappy. This isn't how you have to live. Instead, it's better to manage these feelings with the help of a professional.

You find yourself altering your plans because of your condition

If you notice you're avoiding going out because you feel anxious or stop doing the things you love because you feel too sad, your condition controls more of your life than it should. And the longer you go without help, the more intense it's likely to become. 

You think about hurting yourself 

Feelings of fear and helplessness can sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts. If you have ever thought about harming yourself because of these feelings, it’s time to get help. 

You feel that you need help 

If you feel that you need help, this is also a good indicator that it's time to seek it. You don't need to hit a certain severity level to reach out, and therapy can be an excellent tool for anyone with mild to severe mental health disorders. 

Anxiety and depression can be treated

Therapy, medication or both can help you manage your disorder, allowing you to live the life you want, even with anxiety and depression. And one of the first steps toward this better life is to ask for help. 

Visit us at our Orange or South San Francisco, California, office today. You can call or make an appointment online.