Anxiety and depression frequently occur together. If they happen at the same time, here’s what you need to know.

Do you ever worry so much that it affects your day-to-day activities? Or are you depressed to the point where your outlook is completely clouded? Do you and your partner have a lot of these or comparable feelings? You’re not the only one who feels this way.

Anxiety disorders, which include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder, are the most frequent mental health problem among U.S. adults, impacting 18.1 percent of the population each year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). The biggest cause of disability is mood disorders, which include major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.

What Are the Possible Links Between Anxiety and Depression?

Despite the fact that depression and anxiety are clearly not the same emotional states, mental health research reveals that they frequently coexist because they are triggered by the same or comparable circumstances. Those overlapping causes, according to a report published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in May 2020, can include:

  • Environmental Factors – Trauma or maltreatment as a kid, as well as contemporary stressors including relationship problems, unemployment, social isolation, and physical disease, are examples of social factors. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disease, are more prone to develop depression (NIMH).
  • Genetic Factors – Environmental, noninherited factors account for 60% of the tendency to depressive and anxiety symptoms, while genetic factors account for 40%. ” “There is generally some family history with anxiety, more so than depression, and so we think there may be some genetic predisposition to this,” Connolly explains.
  • Pain – According to Harvard Health, chronic pain, especially disabling pain syndromes like fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), low back pain, migraines, and nerve pain, are connected to psychological discomfort, including anxiety and depression. Indeed, evidence reveals that “pain shares some molecular pathways with anxiety and depression,” according to the authors.

According to Connolly, the root of the twofold illness is “a cycle.” “When you’re anxious, you have this pervasive thought about a fear or an issue, and you feel horrible about it.” Then you start to feel like you’ve failed and fallen into sadness.” “People who are sad often feel anxious and frightened,” she continues, “so one might cause the other.”

Anxiety and Depression Symptoms

Anxiety and depression can share some common symptoms, according to the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health practitioners and anxiety disorder treatment centers in the United States. These symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Irritability.
  • Disturbance of sleep (difficulty falling or staying asleep; restless, unsatisfying sleep).
  • Being easily exhausted.
  • Concentration problems or a blank mind.

Other symptoms of anxiety disorder and sadness include:

  • Sadness or a sense of worthlessness that lasts for a long time.
  • Loss of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed hobbies and activities.
  • Unable to unwind.
  • Panic attacks are common.
  • Fear and worry that is constant and unreasonable.
  • Rapid heartbeat, headaches, hot flushes, sweating, abdominal pain, and/or difficulty breathing are among physical symptoms.
  • Eating habits that are either too much or too little.

Is it Possible to Treat Anxiety and Depression at the Same Time?

Yes, it is. Nobody should have to deal with anxiety, despair, or both. Anxiety disorder sufferers should discuss their symptoms with a psychiatrist, therapist, or other healthcare practitioners as soon as possible and begin therapy. 

Connolly advises seeking a complete evaluation from a psychiatrist as a first step if you feel you have both anxiety and depression. “Having a good evaluation to rule out bipolar disorder is particularly important for those with both [anxiety and depression],” she explains.

According to a study published in the World Journal of Psychiatry in December 2015, effective anxiety and depression therapy options often include a combination of talk therapy (psychotherapy), medication, and certain lifestyle changes. These may include the following:

  • Exercise – According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise can help with depression and anxiety symptoms, though the reason for this is unclear. One reason could be because exercise causes the brain to release feel-good hormones that improve your mood. Another benefit could be that it diverts your attention away from your worry, fears, and other negative thoughts. According to the ADAA, walking for as little as 10 minutes can help relieve symptoms.
  • Mindfulness meditation – According to a large research review published in March 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine, mindfulness meditation — a method of training your mind to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and body by sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing — can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve quality of life.
  • Antidepressant Medication – Selected serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Celexa (citalopram), Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram), Paxil (paroxetine), and Zoloft are antidepressants (sertraline). For more severe anxiety and depression, SSRIs are frequently combined with CBT and other forms of psychotherapy. Other alternatives include serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as Cymbalta (duloxetine), Effexor (venlafaxine), and Pristiq (desvenlafaxine).
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) – IPT emphasizes the link between symptom onset and present interpersonal issues, such as unresolved sorrow, relational conflicts, and social isolation or withdrawal.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT teaches people how to combat negative beliefs and how to manage stress by using coping skills and relaxation practices. According to Harvard Health, CBT is not only proven treatment for anxiety and depression, but it is also the most thoroughly researched psychotherapy used by anxiety disorder treatment centers for managing pain.

If you or a loved one is suffering from anxiety or depression, call American Center Psychiatry & Neurology at +(971-2)-697-9999 to speak with a Psychiatrist in UAE who can help you or your loved one overcome their anxiety and depression.

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