Anxiety and Depression Can Go Hand in Hand: How Do You Know?

By Dominica

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Last Updated: May 16, 2022

Years ago, I struggled with quite a bit of depression.  What I didn’t know at the time was that underneath that depression there was some anxiety lingering. I didn’t feel it as much because I was feeling so low and lethargic. I didn’t really have the gumption to get up and do much.  

However, after educating myself and getting some professional help, I learned that sometimes there are similarities between anxiety and depression. Oftentimes, there is a link between the two.

It can be helpful to understand both conditions, so you can get the help you need. In today’s world, there are many helpful treatments in the community and online. The days of COVID-19 caused many psychologists to start offering their services online via video, so this makes it much easier.

 

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a state where a person is in a state of worry, tension and apprehension.

It is a psychological and/or emotional response to known or/and unknown causes that may range from a normal reaction to an extreme dysfunction. The latter can be indicative of an anxiety disorder. High amounts of anxiety can impact many areas, including daily life, relationships, decision making, and/or quality of life. 

In the worst-case scenario, a person may develop one of the anxiety disorders, which are a group of mental disorders characterized by intense anxiety or by maladaptive behavior designed to relieve the anxiety. They include:

  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Substance-induced anxiety disorder
  • Specific phobias

How do you know if you’re struggling with anxiety that is more than the normal anxiety most people feel at times? The following are some signs and symptoms of anxiety:

Signs And Symptoms Of Anxiety

  • Feeling powerless
  • Feeling apprehensive
  • Having a sense of impending danger, doom, or panic
  • Breathing rapidly
  • Having an increased heart rate
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Feeling tired or weak

 

Treatment Of Anxiety

Anxiety can be treated medically, independently, or with psychological counseling. Ultimately, the treatment method depends on the patient's preferences and the cause of the anxiety.

More often, the treatments will consist of a combination of behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, and medications, such as Diazepam, Alprazolam, Lorazepam, and Clonazepam.

Sometimes anxiety and depression go together. Also, alcoholism or other coexisting conditions can have a very strong effect on the person, so treating the anxiety disorder sometimes must wait until the other coexisting conditions are brought under control.

 

What is Depression?

Depression is known as a mental disorder characterized by feeling very low, losing interest in life or things once enjoyed, feeling lethargic, sleep problems, poor concentration, and more.

Depression is more than feeling sad for a few days. Clinical depression will linger for weeks or months. It could be a low-grade clinical depression or it could be intense, deep depression.  

Anxiety and depression may occur together. The above problems can become recurrent or chronic and lead to substantial impairment in an individual’s ability to take care of their everyday responsibilities. When depression is at its worst, it could lead to suicide. The different forms of depression include:

  • Major depression
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Psychotic depression
  • Postpartum depression
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Bipolar disorder

Are you struggling with minor or major depression? The following are signs and symptoms of depression:

 

Signs And Symptoms Of Depression

  • Persistent anxious, sad feelings.
  • Decreased energy and fatigue.
  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or helplessness.
  • Restlessness or irritability.
  • Feelings of pessimism or hopelessness.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities that were once pleasurable, this includes sex.
  • Difficulty in remembering details, making decisions, and concentrating.
  • Excessive sleeping, insomnia, or early-morning wakefulness. 
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Headaches, aches or pains, cramps, or digestive problems that don’t stop even with treatment.

 

Treatment of Depression

Depression can be effectively treated even in people with severe depression, yet the treatment is usually more effective if it’s started before the depression gets so severe.

A depressed person must first visit a doctor or mental health specialist. Certain medical conditions such as viruses or a thyroid disorder and some medications can cause the same symptoms as depression.

A doctor can rule out these possibilities by doing an interview, a physical exam and lab tests. If the doctor doesn’t find any medical condition that may be causing the depression, they can then do a psychological evaluation. 

The doctor may refer the depressed person to a mental health professional, who would discuss with them the complete history of their symptoms. The mental health specialist may also discuss with the family history of depression and mental disorders, and possible alcohol or drug abuse.

It is important that the patient be completely open and honest about his or her life and symptoms, so the professional can make a correct diagnosis. 

Once diagnosed, the person with high anxiety and depression can be treated using several methods. The most common treatments are psychotherapy and medication. Medication is typically used as a last resort, but a combination of talk therapy and medication is common for the severely anxious or depressed.

3 Best Online Anxiety Support Groups to Calm Down Your Mind

 

There is Hope For Overcoming Anxiety and Depression

Many people have been successfully treated for anxiety and depression. Even beyond traditional therapy, there are many alternative treatments that can help alleviate or minimize symptoms too, such as acupuncture, meditation, mindfulness, breathwork, and more.  

If you or a family member are struggling with anxiety or depression, don’t be afraid to reach out for help from a medical provider or clinical psychologist.

You do not have to suffer, as there are effective techniques and therapies designed to help you live a happier and more peaceful life. Take your first step today toward a better life.

 

If you are looking for a licensed therapist, you can reach out to our affiliates at BetterHelp. Offering affordable, private therapy, they have over 24,000 licensed therapists who can offer advice, feedback and guidance. 

Click here to take the BetterHelp quiz and get paired with a therapist now.

Disclaimer: As a BetterHelp affiliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided.

Photo by Liza Summer

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