There is something of an invisible cord tethering anxiety to depression. When both are present in the same individual, they need to be recognized and treated in unison. The effect that anxiety based disorders (such as obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety and generalized anxiety) have on people tend to accumulate over time. As a result, depression begins to take hold.
The Link Between Anxiety And Depression
Anxiety disorders equate to more than the normal worry that most people feel from time to time, particularly in high pressure situations or when dealing with something that would reasonably elicit fear or phobia or some kind. Most people with anxiety disorder have intrusive thoughts, and many people who experience anxiety understand that these thoughts are coming from an irrational place. Despite their awareness, they’re unable to stop or redirect the thought process in a timely manner.
Anxious individuals often attempt to self correct, but are underwhelmed by their ability to move past their points of anxiety. They feel let down by the inefficiency of their coping mechanisms, which frequently leads to depression. A sense of hopelessness rises due to the lack of control, and that’s where anxiety and depression become compounded.
There is a long established entanglement between the two conditions, with approximately half of people with clinically significant depression reportedly experiencing prolonged anxiety. Anxiety usually predates depression, acting as a contributing factor. Both conditions may have a hereditary factory, and people with certain types of anxiety disorders are more likely to become depressed.
Recognizing The Simultaneous Presences Of Anxiety And Depression
Anxiety and depression can work in conjunction to create a whole host of symptoms. Some of them are physical symptoms, while others affect processes like appetites, sleep habits, and cognitive functions. Many of these symptoms can be treated with proper mental healthcare.
Since anxiety is a panic response, physical symptoms can be present with or without the occurrence of a panic attack episode. These physical symptoms can include nausea, pain in the abdomen, trouble breathing, exhaustion, fatigue, headaches, irregular heartbeat patterns, frequent sweating, and headaches or migraines.
Many people have trouble relaxing. Despite the fact that they are tired, they may also experience insomnia. Others may find their exhaustion symptoms manifest in significant and frequent oversleeping.
Eating patterns may also change. Individuals with anxiety and depression may find that their physical symptoms, such as an upset stomach or abdominal pain, eliminate their appetite. This can lead to rapid, unhealthy weight loss and nutrient deficiencies. Others feel the need to eat too much, experiencing significant weight gain and the side effects that come with a decline in physical health.
Cognitive issues are also prevalent in patients with anxiety and depression. Many report that their quality of their memory is declining, which complicates processes like concentration and the ability to make decisions. Career performance may suffer as a result. Hobbies and preferred activities may also experience the same fate as passion and commitment decline.
Signs That Your Mental Health Is At Risk
People with severe anxiety and depression, particularly if symptoms are left untreated, may experience more problematic symptoms. These symptoms require immediate attention, as they are an indicative of a mental health crisis and a high-risk patient.
Expressing a desire to end one’s life, an expression of a lack of reason for living, or any other suicidal ideation warrants instantaneous intervention. These patients are among the highest risk and deserve expedited treatment for their mental health symptoms.
Decline of proper personal care habits such as bathing, teeth brushing, regularly eating, or even getting out of bed are cause for concern. These habits are sometimes coupled with substance abuse, which is more common among people with mental health disorders.
Extreme mood shifts, unexplained bouts of confusion, and even visual or auditory hallucinations can be a sign that a patient needs immediate help.
Treating Anxiety And Depression
Anxiety and depression can be treated with a combination of therapies, medications, and instituting better life practices. Since these conditions correlate, they’re best reduced when treated simultaneously.
Cognitive behavioral therapies target the symptoms of anxiety and depression, helping the patient work through the underlying causes and fortify their ability to use healthy coping mechanisms to work through difficult situations.
Exercise can release natural positive endorphins that boost the mood, boasting lingering effects from short sessions of physical activity. Yoga and meditation, when used in conjunction with proper exercise and a healthy diet, promote relaxation and the remedying of symptoms from an array of mental health issues.
Some people may require antidepressant medications to boost the effects of other therapies. SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are among the safest choices for people who require medicinal therapies.
Getting Help For Mental Health
If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of anxiety and depression, seeking help from a mental health professional as soon as possible is always the best course of action. Early intervention typically leads to better outcomes. A healthcare professional will know how to direct you to the resources you need if you do not currently see a psychiatrist, counsellor, or therapist.