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What Causes Depression And Anxiety

Who Is Prone To Anxiety

Depression & Anxiety – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

To a large degree, people who are prone to clinical depression are also vulnerable to clinical anxiety. The conditions have many features in common. Chief among them is a history of adverse childhood experience, such as abuse or neglect. The reason is that maltreatment can indelibly alter the stress system so that it is hypersensitive to danger and reacts with an outpouring of alarm signals that overwhelm the capacity for emotion processing. Scoring high on the personality trait of neuroticism also inclines an individual to anxiety. Neuroticism reflects a tendency to respond to stressful experiences most readily and intensely with negative emotions and to perceive threats where they do not exist. In addition, people who lack the skills of emotion regulation are vulnerable to anxiety they can be easily overwhelmed by situations that create uncertainty or stir any negative feelings.

Can Uncertainty Cause Anxiety

Uncertainty doesnt cause anxiety but it creates breeding grounds for anxiety, and the rise of uncertainty in much of public and private life may be one reason why anxiety has become the most prevalent mental health condition today. Worry, the cognitive component of anxiety, is activated by the mere possibility of a bad outcomeand for many modern concerns, possibility can almost never be ruled out entirely. But of course, possibility does not equal probability. Anxiety with its payload of worry can be seen as an attempt to avoid uncertaintyto dispel the discomfort it creates. The better approach, say experts, is to learn to tolerate some uncertainty and recognize that most of life is not black or white but shades of gray.

Alcohol Tobacco And Other Drugs

Misusing alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can have both immediate and long-term health effects.

The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSAs 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.

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Depression And Drugs And Alcohol

“Drowning your sorrows” is actually a bad idea when it comes to depression. Alcohol is categorised as a “strong depressant” which can make depression worse, and drinking or taking drugs to cope can lead to a downward spiral by having a negative affect on other parts of your life.

There’s evidence that cannabis can cause depression, particularly in teenagers, even if it helps you relax.

What Are The Different Types Of Depression

Distinguishing Depression From Anxiety In Older Adults

Major depression is the classic type of depression and whats diagnosed, or labeled, as MDD . People with major depression have symptoms of depression most of the day, nearly every day, for episodes of at least two weeks and can experience recurrent episodes throughout their lives. Under MDD, you can further break down depression into several specific subtypes:

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What Are The Symptoms Of Depression

Depression can affect your emotions, mind and body. Depression symptoms include:

  • Feeling very sad, hopeless or worried.
  • Not enjoying things that used to give you joy.
  • Being easily irritated or frustrated.
  • Eating too much or too little.
  • Changes in how much you sleep.
  • Having a difficult time concentrating or remembering things.
  • Experiencing physical problems like headache, stomachache or sexual dysfunction.
  • Thinking about hurting or killing yourself.

If you or someone you know has thoughts of hurting themselves, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255. This national network of local crisis centers provides free, private emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How To Tell If You Have Depression

Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms.

They range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety.

There can be physical symptoms too, such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive, and various aches and pains.

The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low in spirit, while severe depression can make you feel suicidal, that life is no longer worth living.

Most people experience feelings of stress, anxiety or low mood during difficult times. A low mood may improve after a short period of time, rather than being a sign of depression.

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Thyroid Issues Are To Blame

Your thyroid gland produces hormones involved in metabolism and growth, releasing the hormones only when needed. But when your thyroid gets out of whack , your thyroid can overproduce or underproduce these hormones, leading to a range of physical and mental symptoms.

In a large 2015 study of people diagnosed with thyroid conditions, researchers linked an overactive thyroid to anxiety, while an underactive thyroid was associated with depression. Another study found that 60 percent of patients with hypothyroidism reported symptoms of depression, while 63 percent reported symptoms of anxiety.

Researchers still arent exactly sure what underlying mechanism links thyroid disorders with depression and anxietythere may be severalbut the relationship between thyroid hormones and mood regulation is likely stronger than previously thought.

How Is Depression Syndrome Treated

David Burns on What Causes Depression and Anxiety?

Depression can be serious, but its also treatable. Treatment for depression includes:

  • Self-help: Regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and spending time with people you care about can improve depression symptoms.
  • Counseling: Counseling or psychotherapy is talking with a mental health professional. Your counselor helps you address your problems and develop coping skills. Sometimes brief therapy is all you need. Other people continue therapy longer.
  • Alternative medicine: People with mild depression or ongoing symptoms can improve their well-being with complementary therapy. Therapy may include massage, acupuncture, hypnosis and biofeedback.
  • Medication: Prescription medicine called antidepressants can help change brain chemistry that causes depression. Antidepressants can take a few weeks to have an effect. Some antidepressants have side effects, which often improve with time. If they dont, talk to your provider. A different medications may work better for you.
  • Brain stimulation therapy: Brain stimulation therapy can help people who have severe depression or depression with psychosis. Types of brain stimulation therapy include electroconvulsive therapy , transcranial magnetic stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation .

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Chronic Pain And Depression Link

Researchers are still trying to identify exactly how chronic pain is linked to depression. Body aches are a common depression symptom. This may be because people with the mental health disorder have higher levels cytokines than those without depression. Cytokines are involved in sending messages within the body related to how the immune system responds to infection and damage. In someone struggling with depression, their overabundance may promote inflammation as an immune response, and that inflammation causes pain. However, chronic pain also increases the likelihood of depression. The presence of persistent pain can make you feel alone and isolated. Depending on the condition youre living with, you may even be immobile and need to rely on others to do tasks you used to do yourself. Research supports the idea that chronic pain contributes to depression. One review of numerous studies found that chronic pain patients report higher levels of depression than healthy controls. In particular, the painful condition fibromyalgia may be closely linked to depression. While researchers are still trying to pinpoint the exact cause, some evidence suggests that people with the disorder, which causes muscle pain and tenderness, have heightened sensitivity in the brain to both emotional changes and physical discomfort.

What Foods Help Ease Depression

While no specific diet has been proven to relieve depression, a healthy diet can help you feel your best physically and mentally. Certain foods may be linked to brain health and support for memory, alertness, and mood. Examples include foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids , antioxidants , and nutrients like choline . Always talk with your doctor before making any major diet changes.

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Anxiety Caused By Nothing At All

Anxiety is rarely caused by nothing. But the causes of anxiety can be so minute so minor that trying to figure out what caused it may not help. Even those that experienced a trauma they can point to as a cause of their anxiety may have experienced other issues along the way that put them at risk for developing anxiety.

So while environment may have played a role, it is also important to note that finding your anxiety causes may not result in any actionable information.

Understanding the Causes of Anxiety is Part of the Journey

Anxiety disorders are often incredibly complex – much more complex than many people want to give it credit for. It may be hard to figure out the exact cause of your anxiety, and in some cases, there may not be a specific cause to point.

But understanding the potential causes of anxiety are still important. And perhaps even more important is understanding that no matter what caused your anxiety, it can always be treated.

It doesnt matter whether the cause of your anxiety was biological or environmental – anxiety is a treatable condition, and if you make smart decisions you can even cure your anxiety completely, no matter how you were raised or how your body is designed to react.

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Symptoms Of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Depression vs Anxiety

The essential feature of generalized anxiety disorder is excessive anxiety and worry about a number of events or activities. The intensity of the worry is out of proportion to the likelihood of the anticipated event. The excessive worry or anxiety occurs more days than not for a period of at least six months.

Anxiety and worry are associated with at least three of the following symptoms, with at least some symptoms present more often than not during the six-month period:

  • Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
  • Easily fatigued
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbance

To meet the criteria for generalized anxiety disorder, the anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause significant distress in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning.

There are several features that separate generalized anxiety disorder from nonpathological anxiety.

  • Worries are excessive and typically interfere with psychosocial functioning
  • Worries are more pervasive, pronounced, and distressing
  • Worries have longer duration
  • Worries are more likely to be accompanied by physical symptoms

People with generalized anxiety disorder are likely to experience somatic symptoms , muscle tension, and an exaggerated startle response.

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How Is Depression Different From Anxiety

Depression is different from anxiety. Rather than feeling anxious and nervous, feelings of gloom and melancholy overwhelm. Feeling sad or down after experiencing a loss or disappointment is an emotion that everyone feels at one time or another. But when low mood and sadness is severe and lasts for long periods of time, it could be due to depression.

There are two main types of depression: Major Depressive Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder . While the signs and symptoms of both are similar, the intensity and duration differ. Symptoms of both Major Depressive Disorder and dysthymia include:

  • Sleep disruptions

Supporting Someone With Anxiety Or Depression

There are ways that you can help someone with anxiety or depression. It may be helpful to:

  • let them know if youve noticed a change in their behaviour
  • spend time talking about their experiences and let them know youre there to listen without being judgmental
  • help them to get information from a website, library or community health centre
  • suggest they go to a doctor or health professional, and help them to make an appointment
  • offer to go with them to their appointment and follow up with them afterwards
  • encourage them to get enough sleep, to exercise and to eat well
  • encourage family and friends to invite them out and keep in touch, but dont pressure them to participate in activities
  • contact a doctor or hospital if they become a threat to themselves or others.

It is unhelpful to:

  • put pressure on them by telling them to snap out of it or get their act together
  • stay away or avoid them
  • tell them they just need to stay busy or get out more
  • pressure them to party more or wipe out how theyre feeling with drugs and alcohol
  • assume the problem will just go away.

If you or someone you know needs support, talk to a doctor or other health professional about getting appropriate treatment.

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Can Stress Bring On Depression

Studies show that one factor consistently associated with depression is the number and degree of major stresses experienced in life. Poverty, for example, is a significant, enduring stressor, not easily modifiable, highly linked to depression risk. But to a degree still under study, attitude plays a major role in the perception of stress.

Some stress is necessary to keep people alert. It isnt just that situations differ in the degree to which they stress human systems much depends on how people regard some situationssay, taking final exams. People who see stress as a challenge rather than as a plague recruit positive rather than negative emotions. Whats more, they do not experience the harmful effects of stress hormones on body and brain.

Do Genes Cause Anxiety

What Causes Depression and Anxiety

No one has ever identified an anxiety gene, and it is unlikely that one will ever emerge anxiety proves to be a complex condition that arises through many pathways. Some studies estimate that the heritability of generalized anxiety is no more than 30 percent. As with the transmission of depression-prone styles of thinking, families lastingly shape their children by many means. For example, the adults may display and, by the power of repeated example, silently pass on to their children skills for coping with the kinds of emotionally disruptive experiences that can trigger anxietyor they may become disorganized and unable to function by such experiences. Nevertheless, studies indicate that genes lay a foundation for anxiety primarily by contributing to the personality trait of neuroticism, characterized by volatility of the negative emotion system. It is observable in the readiness to perceive the negative aspects of challenging situations and to react to them with negative emotions.

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Depression And Suicide: Getting Help In A Crisis

Some people who are depressed may think about hurting themselves or committing suicide . If you or someone you know is having thoughts about hurting themselves or committing suicide please seek immediate help. The following resources can help:

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