In recent years, mental illness has become part of our national conversation about health and wellness. The emergence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic brought to light how many people struggle with conditions like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. New and worsening mental health conditions are also one of the pandemic’s ripple effects, with many more adults coming forward to report their symptoms.
Though the prevalence of mental disorders is a crisis, it has gone a long way to help end the stigma around seeking treatment. People aren’t sweeping these conditions under the rug anymore. Instead, they are talking openly about their symptoms and experiences.
Together, anxiety disorders, depression and PTSD make up around 30% of all mental health diagnoses in America. While these share similarities and can frequently co-occur, they are different enough to merit separate entries in the DSM-5-TR, which is the American Psychiatric Association’s definitive guide to mental illnesses.
Extreme, uncontrollable fear and worry are hallmarks of anxiety disorders. People with anxiety may avoid situations that make them feel nervous or frightened. They are often hypervigilant, startle easily and have trouble relaxing. If you have anxiety, your mind immediately goes to the worst-case scenario.
Common types of treatment for anxiety include talk therapy, medications and other complementary health approaches, which include various stress and relaxation techniques.
Depression is a mental illness that affects millions of Americans annually. Contrary to popular belief, depression is more than a fleeting bad mood that someone can easily snap out of. Its effects can be long-lasting and include a lack of motivation, feelings of hopelessness and thoughts of death or suicide.
Some forms of depression are situational, seasonal or emerge after childbirth. If you have clinical depression, your symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with your mood, motivation and energy levels for more than two weeks. In many cases, depressive episodes can recur throughout your life.
Though there is no known cure for depression, it is treatable with therapy, medication and lifestyle changes.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a response to a one-time or ongoing traumatic event such as a car accident or domestic violence. PTSD changes the brain regions that govern memory and decision-making, causing the natural fight-or-flight response to go into overdrive. For people with PTSD, something as harmless as a car backfiring could trigger immediate panic.
Leading PTSD characteristics include vivid, intrusive flashbacks to the traumatic event and avoiding any reminders of the experience. These symptoms generally take around three months to emerge after the trauma occurs.
Untreated PTSD can have severe physical and mental health problems that affect every facet of your life. For example, when you are always on edge, you could experience frequent headaches, muscle tension, high blood pressure and digestive issues. You might also be more vulnerable to developing anxiety, depression or addiction. Fortunately, your brain is resilient enough to heal from PTSD with therapies such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.
Get Help for Co-Occurring Mental Illness and Addiction
At Canyon Crossing, our women’s-only residential treatment program incorporates proven methodologies like 12-step groups, adventure programs, life skills training, substance misuse education and equine therapy into our holistic programming. We teach our clients how to break out of maladaptive patterns and achieve lasting recovery. To learn more about what we offer and verify your health insurance coverage, reach out for help today.