Why Are Anxiety And Depression Often Co
Its a cycle, says Sally R. Connolly, LCSW and therapist. When you get anxious, you tend to have this pervasive thinking about some worry or some problem. You feel bad about it. Then you feel like youve failed. You move to depression.
These two disorders anxiety and depression have a complicated relationship:
- The chance of acquiring depression is much higher when an anxiety disorder already exists. Nearly half of those with major depression also suffer from severe and persistent anxiety.
- People who are depressed often feel anxious and worried. One can easily trigger the other, with anxiety often preceding depression.
- People with post-traumatic stress disorder are especially prone to developing depression.
- A biological predisposition for both of these conditions if often at the root of an individuals battle. This seems to be true with anxiety disorders even more than with depression. Connolly explains, Some people are just worriers and pass it down.
People with an anxiety disorder should speak with a psychiatrist, therapist or other healthcare professional about their symptoms. Treatment for an anxiety disorder should not be delayed. If not caught in time, depression may find the door wide open for moving in and setting up house in those individuals.2
Can Anxiety And Depression Be Treated Together
Yes. No one has to suffer from anxiety disorder or depression, and certainly not both. People with anxiety disorder should speak with a psychiatrist, therapist, or other healthcare professional about their symptoms and start treatment as soon as possible. If you suspect you have both anxiety and depression, Connolly recommends getting a thorough evaluation from a psychiatrist as a first step. “It’s really crucial for people with both to have a good assessment to rule out bipolar disorder,” she says.
Important: If you or someone you know needs help coping with anxiety or depression, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK . The Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they text to 741741.
Remember That Healing Comes From Within
Dr. Naim argues for teaching people from a young age how to take better care of themselves, instilling the idea of a “user’s manual” for human beings. An essential part of that manual is understanding that healing and resilience are innate to us. “Resilience isn’t something that we apply to ourselves,” he told me. “It’s more a process of uncovering our resilience.” He compared it to the “intelligence that knows how to heal a broken bone.”
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Assess The Parts Instead Of Generalizing The Whole
Depression can tinge recollections with difficult emotions. You may find yourself focusing on things that are unhelpful or perceived as difficult.
Try to stop this overgeneralization. Push yourself to recognize the good. If it helps, write down what was meaningful about the event or day. You can track what you achieved that day, and which activities were enjoyable.
Seeing the weight youre giving to one thing may help you direct your thoughts away from the whole and to the individual pieces that were helpful.
What Strategies Are Often Used In Treating This Dual Diagnosis
Evidence-based research suggests that both anxiety and depression be treated at the same time.
Effective strategies often used in treating these co-occurring conditions include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT is often used to treat people with both disorders. Fears, anxieties and tendencies toward depression are managed by seeking out their root causes. Once uncovered, patients learn how to take control of their emotions and life.
- Antidepressant medications Often combined with CBT, these may be prescribed in treating both disorders. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are new antidepressant drugs that produce fewer side effects than their predecessors.
- Exercise This can be very helpful for both disorders. Physical activity causes feel-good chemicals to be released in the body. This aids in relaxation and feeling of well-being.
- Relaxation techniques This typically involves meditation or mindfulness. These techniques can often help to remedy both disorders and improve quality of life.2
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The Internal Family Systems Model And Self
The Internal Family Systems Model is a type of psychotherapy based on the concept that our psyches comprise multiple subpersonalities. These multiple separate parts, which can be thought of as painful emotions, exist within our mental systems and can be at conflict with one another, and with our spiritual center, the Self.
Small Steps Big Impact
If a person feels sustained, intense, feelings of sadness or loss of interest in activities, they may have clinical depression. People also refer to this condition as major depressive disorder.
However, there are small steps you can take to help you gain more agency in your life and improve your sense of well-being.
Read on to learn how to incorporate these strategies in a way that makes sense for you.
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Or Spend Time With Loved Ones
Depression can tempt you to isolate yourself and withdraw from people you love and trust, but face-to-face time can help wash away those tendencies.
If youre unable to spend time together in person, phone calls or video chats can also be helpful.
Try to remind yourself these people care about you. Resist the temptation to feel like youre a burden. You need the interaction and they likely do, too.
Research has shown that keeping a journal can be a beneficial add-on method for managing mental health conditions.
Writing down your thoughts can help you express what youre feeling more clearly. It can also help you keep track of what symptoms youre having each day and identify what causes them.
You can make a goal to write for a few minutes each day or week. Most importantly, what you want to write about is completely up to you.
When you do the same thing day after day, you use the same parts of your brain.
Research shows doing new things can feel rewarding improve your overall well-being and strengthen your social relationships.
To reap these benefits, consider trying a new sport, taking a creative class, or learning a new cooking technique.
What Lifestyle Changes Are Recommended For Anxiety And Depression
More info on this topic
Lifestyle changes are simple but powerful tools in treating depression and anxiety, and they are an essential component of an integrated approach to treatment. In some cases, lifestyle changes alone can help depression or relieve anxiety, so it makes sense to start with them right away. But if you are suffering from moderate to severe depression or anxiety, also seek professional help right away. And if you dont see relief from symptoms of mild depression in a few months, likewise seek professional help.
Lifestyle changes that can help include the following.
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How Is Depression And Anxiety Treated
If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t just struggle on without help. You’d get in seen to. Mental health is as important as physical health and can be treated successfully. There are several treatments available often a combination of treatments is needed.
If your symptoms are mild, your GP may take a ‘wait and see’ approach. They may give you some advice on how to cope with symptoms then see if symptoms improve within a few weeks.
Theres something called ‘talking therapies’ now, which can really help people who are feeling low, anxious or out of sorts.
Talking treatments allow you to talk to a trained professional who can help you manage your thoughts and feelings and the effect they have on your mood and behaviour.
Examples of talking treatments include cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling. They may be one-on-one sessions or in a group environment.
If you are considering talking treatments, be sure to mention any cultural, language or religious needs you have or any hearing or sight problems, so they can be addressed when arranging therapy for you. Talking treatments are effective and available for free on the NHS.
What Causes Depression Or Anxiety
Depression and anxiety can happen for no obvious reason. But in many cases it can be triggered by certain life events, such as:
- money or finance issues
- the time of year.
These situations might make anyone feel low and not everyone who experiences these goes on to develop depression. But thinking about any triggers can help you understand your feelings.
Everyone feels down from time to time, but if you’ve not been feeling yourself for a while it’s time to talk to someone like your doctor, nurse or a trusted friend or family member.
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Cochrane Reviews On Self
We identified 62 records from the Cochrane Library browse by topic list of reviews on Mental Health/Anxiety Disorders and 116 records from the Cochrane Library browse by topic list of reviews on Mental Health/Depression. We identified 228 records from the Cochrane Library browse by Review Group list of CCMD reviews. Finally, we checked the internal Cochrane database for further review documents belonging to CCMD and identified 320 review documents with CD numbers indicating publication in the Cochrane Library. These CD numbers retrieved 239 records from the Cochrane Library. After repeating searches in 2018, 2019 and 2020, we retrieved a total of 609 records of which 292 were duplicates. We screened a total of 317 records and included a total of 22 reviews and five protocols .
PRISMA-style flowchart describing screening of systematic reviews
Allow Yourself To Feel What Youre Feeling
Depression and anxiety are medical conditions, not the result of failure or weakness, and theyre absolutely not your fault.
Without a doubt, the unwanted emotions they cause can lead to plenty of distress. But knowing depression and anxiety result from underlying causes and triggers, not anything you did or didnt do, can promote self-compassion instead of criticism or self-punishment.
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Anxiety And Depression: Theyre Just Feelings
Not finding your way completely through. Getting lost. Thats one way to think about anxiety and depression.
They are normal human emotions.
Feelings are just that feelings. They rise from chemical changes in your body, and theyre neither good nor bad. They simply are.
Certain feelings are definitely more pleasant than others. Some feelings are more comfortable to have then others. Thats different than feelings being good or bad.
Feeling anxious is a natural reaction to stress. And stress may be more about what youre telling yourself than about what actually is.
Your perception of something easily becomes your reality. The what ifs and other forms of catastrophizing are good examples of cognitive distortions that lead to beliefs and then anxiety and depression.
If depression and anxiety become chronic, interfere with your life and relationships, and/or cause other problems for you, consider professional help. There is nothing wrong with that! Reaching out for help is courageous and wise.
Lets say you decide to heal everyday forms of anxiety and depression on your own. Or perhaps you want to work on healing your anxiety and depression at the same time youre in formal treatment.
Nourish Your Body And Brain
More and more evidence is pointing to the important role of nutrition in psychological health. For example, two recent studies found that dietary changes were associated with a significant reduction in depression other work by Dr. Julia Rucklidge and colleagues has found that micronutrient supplements can be beneficial in decreasing anxiety and promoting resilience to trauma .
There’s no shortage of diet options now, but Dr. Naim recommends simply eating whole foodsthe kinds your distant ancestors would recognize. “These are the natural conditions we evolved to live in,” he said. And in line with his ecological model, the goal is not to “tell the story that there’s something missing in you, or that a specialized diet is going to improve you.” He also doesn’t subscribe to the idea that there’s one best diet for everyone.
What about those who may have food sensitivities? “For some people,” Dr. Naim said, “gluten and dairy and other things can make a difference.” He recommended a trial-and-error approach. But the majority of people will do very well by eating foods that won’t cause inflammation, which means a balanced diet of things like vegetables and fruits, fish, and healthy fats, and one that’s low in refined sugar and other highly processed ingredients.
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Anxiety And Depression: What Are The Possible Links
Although clearly not identical emotional states, mental health research suggests that depression and anxiety often coexist because they can be caused by the same or similar factors. According to an article published May 2020 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, those overlapping causes can include:
- Genetic Factors Genetic factors contribute to 40 percent of the predisposition to depressive and anxious symptoms, with 60 percent being attributed to environmental, noninherited factors. “Especially with anxiety, more so than depression, there often is some family history, and so therefore we think that there may be some genetic predisposition to this,” Connolly explains.
- Environmental Factors Also referred to as social factors, these include experiences like trauma or neglect in early childhood, and current stressors such as relationship difficulties, unemployment, social isolation, and physical illness. People who have post-traumatic stress disorder , an anxiety disorder, are particularly likely to also develop depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health .
- Pain Chronic pain, and particularly disabling pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome , low back pain, headaches, and nerve pain, are closely linked to psychological distress, including both anxiety and depression, notes Harvard Health. In fact, they say, research suggests that pain shares some biological mechanisms with anxiety and depression.
Healing From Depression The 6 Proven Non
Depression steals people. So far, despite the colossal investment of resources, there is still no reliably effective treatment. What we know for sure is that antidepressants just arent working. According to Dr Stephen Ilardi, respected psychologist, university professor and author of The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression Without Drugs, antidepressants only have about a 50% success rate. Out of the people who do find relief, half of them will relapse, taking the actual recovery rate to 25%. Then there are the side effects, such as emotional blunting, weight gain and sexual dysfunction.
When antidepressants fail to deliver, the hopelessness that lies at the heart of depression becomes even more brutal. If we could immunise ourselves and the people we love against depression, wed be lining up. There is no immunisation, but a growing body of research is finding that there are ways to protect ourselves from depression and alleviate any existing symptoms, particularly for mild to moderate depression.
Its about certain lifestyle factors six of them and the difference they can make to each of us, depressed or otherwise, is phenomenal. The claims may sound extravagant, but science is proving them over and over. The evidence is too compelling for us not to take notice.
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Anxiety And Depression Are Widespread
Millions of people are on medication for anxiety and depression, and millions more are unfortunately trying to self-medicate with alcohol and illegal drugs.
While medications and therapies have proven effective in helping people who suffer from anxiety and depression, there are some things you can do to help yourself. These natural remedies to treat your condition can sometimes work wonders.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Skip the lemonade and alcohol and drink plenty of water. You should also limit caffeine intake. Drink your morning coffee or tea, but switch to water during the day. Drinking water not only helps you maintain a healthy weight, but it also helps your metabolism. Water is a natural energizer. While some say that drinking eight glasses of water a day is a myth for health, most doctors will agree that water is very beneficial to your health.
Drinking water also purifies your system and keeps your immune system running. Youll find it easier to fight colds by drinking more water. Instead of sweet drinks, which are just liquid sweets and have no nutritional value at all, drink water.
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Treating Anxiety & Depression
Having anxiety or depression can limit your capacity to participate in life. And battling both issues at the same time can feel incredibly overwhelming and exhausting.
You might feel extremely tired but find that you cant put down certain thought spirals or stop catastrophic thinking. Maybe you feel so exhausted and caught by the whole experience that you just have no idea what to do next.
Recognizing just how often these disorders co-occur urges us to consider tools and approaches that target them simultaneously, effectively helping with anxiety and depression at the same time.
When it comes to caring for your mental health, its crucial to recognize that you have choices.
These are a mix of professional treatments, lifestyle modifications, and self-management tools proven to help with depression and anxiety symptoms.
Bonnie Weiss And Her Work On Self
Bonnie Weiss, psychotherapist, teacher, author, and trainer has written various books on IFS in self-therapy. Notably, Weissâ exercises are incredibly useful resources for guiding individuals and therapists through a step-by-step process of self-directed IFS.
These exercises provide a structured means of navigating through oneâs own inner parts, communicating with them. Weissâ extensive work covers themes such as blending and reblending with wounded parts, accessing The Self and developing our personal potential.
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