Thank-you for contacting us here at Ask the Expert. I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties you're experiencing. From what you describe it sounds as though you may be suffering from some stress and anxiety and possibly depression.
Stress can occur due to worries about many factors, most commonly pressures of work, difficulties at home, daily living, finances and relationships.
Stress can alter the way you behave, think, feel and also how your body functions. It can present through anxieties, low self- esteem, sleeping problems, changes in your eating and drinking habits, anger, and physical symptoms, such as muscle tension and headaches.
Stress is a normal occurrence (flight v fight) but when the stress hormone levels build up over a period of time it can become an issue – impacting on your daily life and, if left untreated, affecting your physical and mental health.
Feeling unable to cope, angry and irritable are all early signs of stress becoming unmanageable. At this stage it’s important to take actions to reduce levels of stress before its effects become more serious. There are a number of things you can try to self-manage your symptoms:
Depression can occur as a reaction to stress. Symptoms of depression can include mood swings, irritability, anger, lethargy and anxieties. There is a useful test that you can do at home to assess for depression. Click on the link or find it in the NHS’s Moodzone. It’s similar to those carried out by GPs to diagnose and monitor treatment for mental health conditions.
Depression, like stress, can be self-managed and there are lots of tips available to help. Check out our own mental health centre or try one of the useful links provided at the bottom of this page.
If you feel you need more help, there are a number of effective treatment options available to you, including medication, counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and more.
I would encourage you to seek help from your GP who can assess your wellbeing physically, emotionally and mentally and who can then commence treatment and refer you on to specialists as necessary. They may recommend further diagnostic tests to rule out factors such as hormone deficiencies, anaemias and thyroid function, which can also cause depression and anxiety.
If referral to a counsellor or psychologist is required, your GP should be able to recommend a suitable provider, although depending on where you live, you may have to wait a little while for an appointment. If you’re an AXA PPP member, check with your policy team whether treatment for anxiety and depression is included in your benefits package. If it is you’ll be able to access treatment more quickly.
As an alternative you can go through the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), where you can find lots of information about the types of therapy available and search their database for a registered practitioner near you. If you seek help via BACP this would need to be self-funded.
Some useful links that you may also find helpful to look at for information are:
NHS Moodzone – information and resources for stress, anxiety and depression
Mind – mental health charity
Relate – for relationship counselling and support
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
It’s good to talk – Counselling directory
Online CBT – available without a doctors referral and free for NHS patients in many areas of the UK.
Once again, I think the first step you need to take is seeing your GP to discuss your concerns.
I hope the above information is of use and I wish you all the best
Answered by the Health at Hand team.
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