Stress, anxiety or depression: how to identify the differences

The psychotherapist Marcella Fattore She shared her knowledge on the Telemundo show La Mesa Caliente, and shared a guide to understanding and distinguishing between stress, anxiety and depression, mental illnesses that, according to her, are on the rise in contemporary society. In a context where these conditions have become omnipresent, the expert assures that a change is being witnessed in social perception towards them and an increase in openness to dialogue about the topic.

However, this progress also comes with its own challenges.

We are in a state of emergency, because depression and anxiety are the diseases of this century. These are things that are happening frequently today and we are moving away from the stigmatization of these conditions. When someone talks about whether it is fashionable, I say yes, but that is not referring to the bad, but rather 'it's good that people are talking more now' and that they are becoming aware of the emotional experiences that people go through.”

Marcella Fattore

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In the world, according to data from the World Health Organization, 5 percent of adults suffer from depression, a disease that affects women more than men.

Psychologists explain that depression is a mental disorder, which depending on its intensity, can affect different areas of life, and establishes the most frequent symptoms.

  • There is a significant decrease in interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities most of the day, almost every day.
  • Significant weight loss occurs without dieting, or weight gain.
  • Alterations in sleep status. Insomnia or hypersomnia almost every day.
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation is detected almost every day.
  • The person feels fatigued or has a loss of energy almost every day.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt appear.
  • Alteration in the ability to concentrate or make decisions.
  • Recurring thoughts of death.

The six myths of depression

These are the six most frequent myths about depression, according to the Madrid College of Psychology:

-Being depressed is a synonym for being sad: It must be understood that there is a significant difference between being sad and suffering from depression, since sadness is an emotion or symptom, while depression is a mental disorder that encompasses a series of symptoms that considerably affect the patient's life. who suffers from it.

-People with resources are more likely to suffer from depression: It can affect anyone, from any background, economic level and at any age. The difficulties usually lie in accessing the appropriate resources to alleviate it.

-Depression is a question of attitude or will: Depression is the result of various complex interactions between biological, social and psychological variables that disable the patient from leading a normal life, blocking their abilities and skills to overcome it voluntarily.

-Depression is for life: The duration of a depressive episode can vary depending on various variables, and can last months or even years.

-Depression can be faked: The diagnostic criteria that fit the criteria of depression are very complex to fake, and we must not forget the enormous suffering it produces in the person who suffers from it.

-Does not require treatment: To achieve an improvement in the patient, an adequate diagnosis and treatment is necessary to improve the prognosis and evolution.

How to prevent depression?

Here are some expert recommendations:

  1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  2. Try to maintain social contact.
  3. Practice some physical activity regularly, preferably outdoors, and in contact with other people.
  4. Carry out leisure and enjoyment activities.
  5. Maintain a solid social support network with whom you can express how you feel.
  6. Ask for help from family or loved ones around you.
  7. Try to be in safe environments, where you feel welcomed, cared for and understood.
  8. Prioritize your tasks without falling into exaggerated levels of demand.
  9. Set realistic objectives and goals. Understand that depression can require a long, exhausting and frustrating period on many occasions.
  10. Do not hesitate to ask for help from a psychology professional.

What is the difference between feeling terrible and being depressed?

Everyone has times in their life when they feel fed up or unhappy. It is usually for a specific reason, it does not interfere too much with daily life and it usually does not last more than one or two weeks.

However, if these feelings last for weeks or months, or become so severe that they begin to affect all areas of our lives, we may be experiencing depression and need help.

Are there differences in depression related to gender and sexuality?

The SEPSM points out that men who suffer from depression are less likely to talk about their feelings and ask for help.

They may express their depression differently, through sudden anger, increased loss of control, increased risk-taking and aggression, as well as the use of alcohol and drugs to cope. Men are also more likely than women to die by suicide.

About 12% of pregnant women will experience depression during pregnancy, while 15 to 20% will become depressed in the first year after having the baby.

How can I help someone who is depressed?

These are the recommendations of psychiatrists to help a depressed person.

Listen. This may be more difficult than it seems. You may have to listen to the same thing over and over again. It's usually best not to offer advice unless asked, even if the answer seems perfectly clear to you. If depression has been caused by a specific problem, perhaps you can help find a solution or, at least, a way to cope with the difficulty.

Spend time with them. It's helpful to simply spend time with someone who is depressed. Letting them know that you are there for them can help encourage them to talk and continue doing things to feel better.

reassure him. A depressed person will have a hard time believing that he can get better. You can assure her that she will get better, but you may have to repeat it over and over again.

Support your self-care. Make sure he buys enough food and eats regularly, with a good amount of fruit and vegetables in his diet. You can help them get out and do some exercise or other enjoyable activities, which may be a better alternative than using alcohol or drugs to cope with their feelings.

take it seriously. If he gets worse and starts talking about not wanting to live or even hints that he's going to hurt himself, take him seriously. Make sure they tell their doctor.

Encourage him to accept help. Encourage him to see his doctor, take his medication, or talk to his therapist or counselor. If they are concerned about their treatment, encourage them to discuss it with their doctor.

Take care of yourself. Supporting someone who is feeling depressed can be emotionally draining, so make sure you take care of your own mental health and wellbeing.

(With information from EFE)