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It is normal to be nervous in stressful situations. But stressors, such as the breakup of a marriage or the loss of a loved one, can make existing psychological problems worse or lead to a new problem. For example, stress often aggravates or triggers depression. Stress is also commonly associated with anxiety disorders. People with anxiety disorders feel fearful, uneasy or distressed even when there is not an obvious reason for it.
About 1 in 10 Americans suffers some form of depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Women experience depression twice as often as men. Depression has devastating effects on a person's relationships with family and friends, on the ability to do productive work, and, of course, on the ability to enjoy life. People often say they’re depressed when they feel blue, down, sad, gloomy, cheerless or just plain world-weary. But for doctors and mental health professionals, depression is a condition with well-defined symptoms.
At this time, there are no blood tests or X-rays that can tell if someone is depressed. The best way to make a diagnosis of major depression is to carefully examine how you feel and discuss this with your doctor. There are several questionnaires available to help you and your doctor decide if you have depression that should be treated. It is important to find this out because the treatment for depression is very effective.
If you think you might be experiencing anxiety, depression or any other mental health issue, asking for help is a smart decision. But it's not always so easy to know where to turn. People often have questions about what kind of a professional to see. Many people don't know, for example, the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Regardless of specialty, here are some of the qualities you'll want to look for in any mental health professional.
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