Symptoms of anxiety and depression, and what you can do.

Do you know someone who is struggling with stress, anxiety or depression during the COVID-19 pandemic? Here are signs that the normal feelings of stress have developed into depression or anxiety disorder.

Depression

Depression is not just a feeling of sadness that can diminish over time, but a medical condition that can endure for weeks, months or even years.

Symptoms of depression include the following:

  • Unusually sad mood
  • Lack of energy and tiredness
  • Feeling worthless or feeling guilty though not really at fault
  • Thinking often about death or wishing to be dead
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Moving more slowly or sometimes becoming agitated and unable to settle
  • Having difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Change in eating habits (eating too much or too little)
  • Anger or irritability

Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is very common and is caused by a feeling or perception that health, safety and security of you or your family are threatened.

When normal feelings of stress become extreme, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Chest pains
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Flushed skin
  • Hyperventilation, shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach pains, nausea, diarrhea
  • Muscle aches and pains (particularly in shoulders, back and neck).
  • Unrealistic or excessive fear about past and future events
  • Mind racing or going blank
  • Decreased concentration and memory
  • Indecisiveness
  • Irritability
  • Impatience
  • Anger
  • Restlessness
  • Tiredness and sleep disturbances

What to do if someone is experiencing these symptoms:

  • Assess for signs of suicide or self-harm. Ask directly.
  • Listen non-judgmentally. There is no shame in talking about feelings and worries.
  • Give reassurance. Let them know that their fears and worries are normal, particularly in times of crisis and upheaval.