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Living with Anxiety and Depression: How Functional Medicine Can Help

Looking for the ultimate guide on anxiety and depression? Learn the symptoms of these mental health concerns and how functional medicine might help. help.

Mental illness is difficult to understand, especially when you are suffering. Specifically, it's hard to grapple with the fact that you may have a mental illness when you don't know the signs and symptoms.

Before you're aware of what constitutes, say, anxiety or depression, you may feel like you're losing control or turning into a different person. Thankfully, mental illness is heavily studied and well-understood, so there are options that can give you relief should you choose to pursue them.

We're going to talk about what it's like living with anxiety and depression in this article. We will also give you insight into what to look for and how functional medicine may be able to help.

living with Anxiety and Depression: The Signs

Depression and anxiety are two distinct mental illnesses. We're going to break down each condition independently, hopefully helping you understand what may be happening in your own experience.

Let's get started:

The Signs of Depression

Everybody is liable to a gloomy day here and there. It may even be the case that you're feeling low for a few days to a week, only to bounce back to your usual self.

It makes sense, seeing as everybody experiences heartbreak, suffering, and adversity. Those things are difficult to deal with, so it's natural that you would feel a little low while they're happening.

Depression, on the other hand, is distinguished by a period of at least two weeks of symptoms. Those symptoms can include a significantly diminished mood, lack of appetite, a notable increase in appetite, and a general sense of lethargy.

You might not want to get out of bed, and when you do get out of bed it may seem like a challenge to do almost anything. These factors are independent of your thoughts, which may be far more negative than usual.

Intense thoughts that challenge your self-esteem, worthiness, and guiltiness might occupy your mind most of the time. In the scheme of all these symptoms, you might have trouble relating to the people you love, concentrating on the things that are important to you, or maintaining your normal life in any meaningful way.

It's hard. There's no getting around that fact, but know that depression is a medical condition, and your thoughts, although convincing and intense, are made darker by the fact that you are suffering from a very real illness.

The Signs of Anxiety

Anxiety is distinctly different from depression. Depression can fuel anxiety and anxiety can contribute to symptoms of depression, but they are separate from a diagnostic point of view.

Generalized anxiety disorder is the condition given to those who experience the following symptoms for more than six months or so. These symptoms are crowned by a lasting sense of excessive worry.

You may be worried without having anything to attribute the feeling to. In other words, you could feel very anxious from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep without knowing why. Over time, this contributes to difficulty focusing, sleeping, socializing, and relaxing.

Anxiety can also cause you to be fatigued. The lack of rest and relaxation is also a contributor to irritability with things that you could otherwise tolerate.

The symptoms above come in many different forms. Not everyone who suffers from generalized anxiety disorder appears to be anxious, or even shows all of the symptoms.

Often times, those who suffer do so in silence making it very difficult for others to see and understand.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is an approach to health and well being that tries to treat the whole individual. That said, the methods used in functional medicine are not nebulous or vague.

Treatments are very specific, in fact, many treatments are more specific than those given in a traditional treatment of anxiety and depression. Many individuals see their general practitioner about their newfound mental illness, only to be given a prescription and sent on their way.

Instead of treating all symptoms with a pill, functional medicine aims to identify the root of the issue from a genetic or environmental point of view.

The Philosophy of Functional Medicine

When people hear the term "holistic" or "whole person," they often think that the treatment methods aren't specific and may not even work. This is certainly not always the case in terms of functional medicine.

The philosophy of treating the whole person in no way rules out the use of western medicine. The difference is the belief that a person's well being is not just the absence of illness.

Instead, wellbeing is considered the flourishing of a person's physical, mental, emotional, and social health. These factors, especially the spiritual, can be difficult to pinpoint and treat. That doesn't mean they aren't essential, though.

When treating anxiety and depression, no stone is left unturned. A great example of this is inflammation.

Inflammation, when present in a person, can be a contributing factor to depression. Alternatively, depression can contribute to inflammation. Both of these illnesses contribute to each other as well as a whole host of other illnesses.

It follows that taking out one or more of these root causes can have a chain effect that frees up a person's wellness in other areas. In other words, you take out the inflammation and improve depression as well as the other illnesses that exist as a result of it.

This is a radical idea in the treatment of chronic diseases that were previously thought to be incurable. In the process of finding a solution to depression and anxiety, we can't rule out the use of eastern medicine such as meditation and yoga.

Methods used are well-researched and have shown to improve a person's physical and mental wellbeing, despite some popular attitudes toward spiritual practices.

Want to Learn More?

Living with anxiety and depression can be exceptionally difficult. It's possible to get out of a dark place with a little hard work and an effective treatment plan, though.

Explore our site to learn more information about functional medicine and how it could benefit you.