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Anxiety and depression: The facts 

What causes depression?

Research suggests that continuing difficulties – long-term unemployment, living in an abusive or uncaring relationship, long-term isolation or loneliness, prolonged work stress – are more likely to cause depression than recent life stresses. Personal factors like family history, personality, serious medical illness and drug and alcohol use can also play a part. 

What are the signs and symptoms of depression? 

The signs and symptoms are wide and varied, but can include not going out anymore, not getting things done at work or school, withdrawing from close family and friends, relying on alcohol or sedatives, not doing usual enjoyable activities and inability to concentrate. Other signs include feeling overwhelmed, guilty, irritable, frustrated and lacking in confidence.

What causes anxiety?

Some people who experience anxiety conditions may have a genetic predisposition towards anxiety and these conditions can sometimes run in a family. However, having a parent or close relative experience anxiety or other mental health condition doesn’t mean you’ll automatically develop anxiety. Research suggests that people with certain personality traits are more likely to have anxiety. For example, children who are perfectionists, easily flustered, timid, inhibited, lack self-esteem or want to control everything, sometimes develop anxiety during childhood, adolescence or as adults. Anxiety conditions may develop because of one or more stressful life events. Common triggers include a change in work, living arrangements, pregnancy or giving birth, family and relationship problems or major emotional shock.

What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety? 

While each anxiety condition has its own unique features, there are some common symptoms including:

Physical: panic attacks, hot and cold flushes, racing heart, tightening of the chest, quick breathing, restlessness, or feeling tense, wound up and edgy.

Psychological: excessive fear, worry, catastrophising, or obsessive thinking.

Behavioural: avoidance of situations that make you feel anxious which can impact on study, work or social life.

Source: Beyond Blue

‘People do not feel better when you say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “everything happens for a reason”,’ Zachery said.

Other quips that fall into this bracket include ‘keep calm and carry on’, ‘get over it’ and ‘time heals all wounds’, the doctor said.

Zachery revealed the signs that might help you to know whether something is wrong with someone:

‘There are five signs you should check in on someone’s mental health,’ he said.

The doctor highlighted that if they say they are always ‘busy’ or express being ‘overwhelmed’ by things, then you should definitely check in with them.

Zachery added that if you work with or know someone who says they are ‘tired’ the whole time, then that is often a sign that their mental health is struggling.

‘If they are going through a difficult life event like divorce or unemployment, this can often be a time when people need extra help,’ Zachery said. 

Similarly, if they always ‘brush things off’ that you say or seem emotionally distant, then there might be more wrong than meets the eye.

Finally, the doctor said if a friend or family member is disengaged in conversation, especially on something that they are usually passionate about, then this might mean they are struggling.

Thousands who saw Zachery’s post were impressed with it, writing ‘love this, thank you so much’ and ‘always check in on the ones who check on you’.

‘Broken patterns are another good sign to check in,’ one commenter said.

‘Sometimes they are subtle. 

‘Other times, it’s obvious, like not showing up to school or your job.’

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