How Common Are Anxiety And Depression
Anxiety disorders affect nearly 20 percent of American adults. That means millions are beset by an overabundance of the fight-or-flight response that primes the body for action. When youre stressed, the brain responds by prompting the release of cortisol, natures built-in alarm system. It evolved to help animals facing physical threats by increasing respiration, raising the heart rate and redirecting blood flow from abdominal organs to muscles that assist in confronting or escaping danger.
These protective actions stem from the neurotransmitters epinephrine and norepinephrine, which stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and put the body on high alert. But when they are invoked too often and indiscriminately, the chronic overstimulation can result in all manner of physical ills, including digestive symptoms like indigestion, cramps, diarrhea or constipation, and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
Depression, while less common than chronic anxiety, can have even more devastating effects on physical health. While its normal to feel depressed from time to time, more than 6 percent of adults have such persistent feelings of depression that it disrupts personal relationships, interferes with work and play, and impairs their ability to cope with the challenges of daily life. Persistent depression can also exacerbate a persons perception of pain and increase their chances of developing chronic pain.
What Are The Treatments For Depression
Many helpful treatments for depression are available. Treatment for depression can help reduce symptoms and shorten how long the depression lasts. Treatment can include getting therapy and/or taking medications. Your doctor or a qualified mental health professional can help you determine what treatment is best for you.
- Therapy. Many people benefit from psychotherapyalso called therapy or counseling.7,8 Most therapy lasts for a short time and focuses on thoughts feelings and issues that are happening in your life now. In some cases understanding your past can help but finding ways to address what is happening in your life now can help you cope and prepare you for challenges in the future.With therapy, youll work with your therapist to learn skills to help you cope with life, change behaviors that are causing problems and find solutions. Do not feel shy or embarrassed about talking openly and honestly about your feelings and concerns. This is an important part of getting better.Some common goals of therapy include:
- Getting healthier
- Making sense of past painful events
- Identifying things that worsen your depression
- Having better relationships with family and friends
- Understanding why something bothers you and creating a plan to deal with it
Talking To Your Doctor
If you have anxiety, depression, or both, chances are that your doctor will recommend medication, therapy, or a combination of the two. Keep track your symptoms and keep a log of how you feel each day, as this can help in the diagnostic process. Its also important to speak up and ask your doctor whether they think you have depression, anxiety, or both. This clarity can help you understand the treatment focus and how to manage your symptoms. For example, a patient who is prescribed an antidepressant like a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor may not realize that the medication has been prescribed for their anxiety, as SSRIs are used to treat both anxiety and depression.4 Never hesitate to ask about your diagnosis, as you have a right to your personal health information.
The most important quality that anxiety and depression share is that they are both very treatable conditions. Never hesitate to find people to help you stayed informed and on the right track towards a healthier mind and body. Who can you recruit to help you with your anxiety or depression today?
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Why People Get Confusedabout Anxiety And Depression
People get confused about the distinction between anxiety and depression for several reasons. The first is that, if they are receiving medication for an anxiety disorder, they’re probably getting an anti-depressant medication. A group of anti-depressant medications known as the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors have been demonstrated to be helpful with both anxiety and depression, and are now the preferred medication treatment for people who receive medicationfor anxiety disorders. Sometimes people with anxiety disorders receive these medications, find out they’re taking an anti-depressant, and then wonder if that means they’re depressed. It doesn’t, not by itself.
How To Get A Clinical Diagnosis
Theres no single test that can diagnose depression or anxiety. Instead, your doctor will likely conduct a physical exam and a depression or anxiety screening test. For this, theyll ask you a series of questions that help them get a better insight into what youve been experiencing.
If the results arent clear or if your doctor suspects the symptoms may be the result of another condition, they may order tests to rule out underlying issues. Blood tests can check your thyroid, vitamin, and hormone levels.
In some cases, general practitioners will refer you to a mental health expert, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, if they dont feel equipped to properly manage your symptoms and conditions or if they suspect youre experiencing more than one condition.
Although depression and anxiety are two separate conditions, they share many of the same treatments. A combination of these may be used to treat both conditions at the same time.
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Finding The Right Resources To Answer Your Questions And Meet Your Complex Needs
Just as anxiety and depression tend to be worse when occurring together, treatment of these disorders is most effective when both conditions are addressed at the same time.1
Hartgrove Behavioral Health System provides integrated care that treats these and other mental health issues simultaneously. As part of our comprehensive care, medical specialists and therapists work together to help bring healing and balance in our patients lives a feeling of being in charge of their inner self again.
The Relationship Between Anxiety And Depression
While anxiety is generally considered a high-energy state and depression a low-energy state, anxiety and depression are more closely related than you might think. A person with depression often experiences a lot of anxiety, possibly even to the extent of having panic attacks.1
Anxiety disorders involve more than common nervousness and worry. They can cause terrifying fear about things other people wouldnt think twice about. Many people with anxiety disorders fully comprehend that their thoughts are irrational. But they still cant stop them. Feelings of losing inner control haunt them. This angst is one of the entry ways for depression.2
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Can You Have Anxiety And Depression At The Same Time
Its a complex picture. Depression and generalised anxiety disorder have some distinct features, and some that overlap. To complicate things further, its actually possible for someone to experience depression and anxiety at the same time.
In fact its not just possible its quite common. Around half of people with generalised anxiety disorder will also have depression. When the conditions coexist like this, they can be more severe and long-lasting than usual.
Its also possible to be diagnosed with one of the conditions, and to have symptoms of the other . The way symptoms overlap make it hard to be precise with numbers. But estimates of the number of people with depression who also experience symptoms of anxiety range as high as 85 per cent.
Many experts actually view mixed anxiety and depressive disorder as a separate category in itself. This is where someone may have symptoms of both conditions, but not severe enough to have a formal diagnosis of either condition. But this combination can still cause considerable distress and affect someones daily life.
Addressing Your Mental Health By Identifying The Signs Of Anxiety And Depression
What is stress, and what happens when we arent able to cope well with stress? Stress can present itself after being fired from a job, going through a divorce or losing a loved one. Even getting married, transitioning to a new job or having a baby can cause stress.
Many people look to define stress as either good or bad, when in reality its neither. Stress is an event we view as out of our control and typically occurs outside our daily routines. How we react shapes our ability to cope with these and other similar events in the future. When individuals struggle to cope with stressful situations, depression and anxiety become more noticeable.
According to the World Health Organization, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting more than 40 million adults every year.
The most common anxiety disorders include excessive fear or anxiety of:
- Specific phobias
- Natural environment heights, storms, water
- Blood-injection injury needles, invasive medical procedures
- Locations airplanes, elevators, enclosed places
Its common for those struggling with anxiety disorders to also struggle with depression or vice versa. Close to 10 percent of the worlds population suffers from anxiety and depression. However, while anxiety and depressive disorders are highly treatable, only a small percent of affected individuals receive treatment.
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Mental Markers Of Depression
People with depression may:
- Be hopeless, assuming that nothing positive will happen in the future for themselves, for others, or for the world
- Believe it is not worth trying to think or feel differently, because of this hopelessness
- Feel worthless, as if who they are or what they do is not valuable
- Think about death due to a persistent belief that life is not worth living or that the individual is a burden on others. In cases of moderate to severe depression, more specific suicidal thoughts can be present.
In major depressive disorder , these types of thoughts are persistent most of the day and more days than not for weeks on end. If a person vacillates between a very low and very high mood state, then a diagnosis of bipolar disorder may apply. For any variant of a mood disorder, the low mood state is likely to be characterized by the type of thinking described above.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
The Difference Between Anxiety And Depression
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health issues. While these two terms come up frequently in casual conversations, some people struggle to distinguish between the two conditions. There are major differences between anxiety and depression and each one has very different symptoms. However, its not uncommon for those who suffer from anxiety to also experience depression and vice versa. Below, well explore those differences in more detail to help you determine which condition you or a loved one is struggling with.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms
Worrying and the symptoms of anxiety can creep up on you gradually. This can make it hard to know how much worrying is too much.
Some common anxiety symptoms include:
- hot and cold flushes
- snowballing worries that get bigger and bigger
- a racing mind full of thoughts
- a constant need to check things are right or clean
- persistent worrying ideas that seem ‘silly or crazy’ .
If you think you have any of these symptoms, you might want to look at the different types of anxiety disorders below.
When Does Anxiety Need Treatment
While anxiety can cause distress, it is not always a medical condition.
When an individual faces potentially harmful or worrying triggers, feelings of anxiety are not only normal but necessary for survival.
Since the earliest days of humanity, the approach of predators and incoming danger sets off alarms in the body and allows evasive action. These alarms become noticeable in the form of a raised heartbeat, sweating, and increased sensitivity to surroundings.
The danger causes a rush of adrenalin, a hormone and chemical messenger in the brain, which in turn triggers these anxious reactions in a process called the fight-or-flight response. This prepares humans to physically confront or flee any potential threats to safety.
For many people, running from larger animals and imminent danger is a less pressing concern than it would have been for early humans. Anxieties now revolve around work, money, family life, health, and other crucial issues that demand a persons attention without necessarily requiring the fight-or-flight reaction.
The nervous feeling before an important life event or during a difficult situation is a natural echo of the original fight-or-flight reaction. It can still be essential to survival anxiety about being hit by a car when crossing the street, for example, means that a person will instinctively look both ways to avoid danger.
Anxiety disorders now include the following diagnoses.
Possible causes include:
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The Relationship Between Depression And Anxiety Is Complicated
While it would be great if there were a fool-proof way of telling you whether you have anxiety or depression, it’s not quite that simple. One person can easily have both anxiety and depression, and some people may have developed depression symptoms as a result of their anxiety disorder.
It’s a bit more difficult than saying “you have anxiety” or “you have depression” because it’s possible to have combinations of both. This may be called a “comorbid” condition when you suffer from both conditions simultaneously. Symptoms of one or the other may bleed into whichever disorder you have, because both share similar causes, issues, etc.
What About Treatments For Anxiety And Depression
Just as there are many different experiences of anxiety and depression, there are a variety of options for treatments and coping techniques to help manage symptoms. The recommendations in this section take an integrative mental health approach, which incorporates health-promoting lifestyle changes evidence-based holistic therapies and healing practices and mainstream interventions, including psychosocial therapies and the judicious use of prescription medication. We cover each of these areas in detail–click the links or see the menu on the left for more information.
Note that some of the treatments for depression and anxiety overlap, so it is beneficial to learn about both disorders.
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If Youre Up For It Go For A Walk Around The Block
Research suggests exercise can be an effective treatment for depression because its a natural mood booster and releases feel-good hormones. However, for some people, exercise or a gym can trigger anxiety and fear. If thats the case for you, look for more natural ways to move, such as walking around your neighborhood or looking for an online exercise video you can do at home.