On average, one in eight Australian men will experience depression and one in five will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives. Men are also far less likely to seek help for mental health conditions than women, according to research.
Whether it’s putting off speaking to a partner or friends or thinking you need to take care of it on your own, trying to ‘go it alone’ if you’re feeling down will only increase the risk of depression and anxiety. When it comes to mental health, calling on support is the best thing to do.
What is anxiety?
We all know that there are ebbs and flows in life and we can feel stressed from time to time.
Whether it’s about work, finances or a personal issue, these types of stress are a typically normal part of life and are usually short lived once the situation is over.
Anxiety is more than just feeling occasionally stressed or worried. With anxiety, the feelings usually don’t subside and can compound or ‘snowball’ out of your control. Your worries and concerns can become so extreme that you may start seeing a threat or danger where it doesn’t actually exist. While anxiety can be extremely intense and disrupt your daily life, it doesn’t have to control you. Like other mental health issues, it is treatable, so if you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety it’s important to seek support.
What is depression?
Like above, life is full of ups and downs and the same applies to our emotions. You may have days of feeling angry, sad or just ‘flat’, and others where you’re perfectly happy. It’s all about balance. If you find your flat or down days are starting to tip this balance and the happier days are few and far between, then you may be experiencing symptoms of depression.
Depression can present differently in men and women. Men are more likely to notice physical symptoms of depression, such as feeling tired, lethargic, or changes in weight (either putting on extra kilos or losing it). For men, the change in mood can also be more angry or irritable, as opposed to feeling low or flat.
Another key indicator of depression may be a lack of interest in activities that you may have previously enjoyed, such as team sport, socialising with friends or just getting out and about. Like anxiety, depression is unlikely to go away on its own, but it is treatable.
How can you treat mental health issues?
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, there’s a few important steps you can take to start getting better.
Reach out to family and friends
Sometimes simply getting something off your chest can make a huge difference to how you’re feeling. Start the process by reaching out to someone in your life that you trust – whether that’s a close friend, your partner, a family member or a work colleague.
Talk to your GP
As a next step, consider booking an appointment with your GP to discuss how you’ve been feeling. GP’s are a great source of information and can help determine whether your feelings are symptoms of anxiety or depression or if there’s another issue at play (sometimes nutrient deficiencies can affect your mood and energy).
Work with your GP to develop an action plan. It can be as simple as making some positive changes in your life such as increasing exercise, stress management tactics or speaking with a psychologist or other specialist for support
If your depression or anxiety is severe and not improving with other support methods, you may consider taking medication. While medication can treat your symptoms and get you back to doing the things you enjoy sooner, It’s important to discuss your options with your GP to determine what the best treatment is for you.
Beach Street Family Practice offers comprehensive mental healthcare for patients including medication management, regular counselling, preparation and ongoing management of mental healthcare plans and referrals to Allied Health providers. If you would like to speak to a GP about any mental health concerns, please contact us on 66 54 1282 or book online here.
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