Therapist comforting a patient with bipolar disorder

Depression, Anxiety & Bipolar Disorder

Know the Difference

Life events, relationships, job stress, financial or family problems affect us in many ways. Oftentimes these issues can be triggers for anxiety or depression. If these feelings become extremely intense and impact everyday life or our quality of life, it can become very hard to address the issues that prompted these feelings to begin with.

Sometimes being depressed can cause anxiety and the reverse is also true. Feeling anxious can cause depression if your anxiety is getting in the way of your activities. There can also be an underlying cause such as bipolar disorder. So how do you sort through your feelings to determine how best to deal with them?

The first steps in seeking treatment are to acknowledge your feelings, determine if you can, what triggers the feelings and being open and candid with a professional you trust. Your general practitioner may be able to do an evaluation or recommend a psychiatrist or psychologist specially trained in these areas. It is important that your practitioner sees you regularly to determine if the medication prescribed is right for you. A visit with your provider frequently would be reasonable and effective depending on the severity of your symptoms. 

Symptoms of Depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression affects how you think, feel and function overall. Sometimes it may be hard to identify that you are depressed but if you are experiencing some of the following symptoms for more than two or three weeks, it would be best to talk to a healthcare provider. 

  • Persistently feeling sad, anxious or empty
  • Feelings of hopelessness like there’s no way out
  • Decreased energy or fatigue, always tired, not wanting to get out of bed
  • Lack of interest in activities you would usually enjoy
  • Difficulty sleeping, concentrating, focusing
  • Changes in your appetite or weight

Symptoms of Anxiety

If you are experiencing intense feelings of worry about everyday situations, and these feelings are hard to control, it may be due to an anxiety disorder. If you find you are avoiding certain types of situations to prevent these feelings, an evaluation may be necessary. 

Common signs and symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Feeling nervous or tense, restless
  • Having a sense of impending danger or panic
  • Increased heart rate or breathing rapidly (hyperventilating)
  • Sweating or trembling
  • Difficulty controlling worry
  • Avoiding places or situations that “make you nervous”

Treatment can help and be in the form of breathing exercises, meditation or medication depending on the severity of the symptoms and diagnosis. 

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 25, affects males and females equally. It is a serious disorder that can severely affect relationships, careers, academic performance, etc. and can lead to suicide if left untreated. It causes extreme mood abnormalities that can last weeks or months with periods of stability in between episodes. 

There are different types of bipolar disorder and a psychiatrist or psychologist follows a very specific set of criteria to establish a diagnosis. Symptoms may include:

  • Feeling “wired” 
  • Missing work or school or underperforming
  • Feeling you can do anything, engaging in risky behavior
  • Impaired judgment
  • During a depressive episode resulting from bipolar disorder, the symptoms of depression stated earlier in this article would also be evident. 
  • Psychosis can occur in both manic and depressive episodes. It may be difficult to differentiate between fantasy and reality.

Bipolar disorder can be managed with medications but it may take some time to find the right dose and combinations of medications. Medications may also need to change as the episodes change.  

If you think you, or someone you know, may be experiencing depression, anxiety or any symptoms of bipolar disorder, we are here to help. Our professionals can evaluate your needs and work with you to determine the best course of treatment so you can live a full, productive life. Feel free to contact us today.


How We Can Help You?

Best Day Psychiatry and Counseling is here to help you have a better day and find a better way. We treat a wide range of psychiatric conditions for both children and adults. Contact us today, we’re ready to help:

Fayetteville: (910) 323-1543 • Fuquay-Varina: (919) 567-0684 • Raleigh: (919) 670-3939