Dr. Gary Bell
Are you anxious or are you depressed? In the world of mental health care, where exact diagnosis dictates treatment, anxiety and depression are regarded as two distinct disorders. But in the world of real people, many suffer from both conditions. In fact, most mood disorders present as a combination of depression and anxiety. Surveys show that 60-70% of those with depression also have anxiety. And half of those with chronic anxiety also have clinically significant symptoms of depression.
Depressed people exist with enormous, unrealistic expectations. They often treat people that don’t meet their expectations with disdain or withdrawal. Many become anxious because they see the world through their emotions rather than using their emotions to act on thoughts. Anxious people are depressed because they live in continuous fear of being hurt in one way or another. You are either depressed because you are anxious or anxious because you are depressed.
Feeling down now and then is normal. And everyone feels anxious from time to time – it is a normal response to stressful situations. But severe or ongoing feelings of anxiety and depression can be a sign of an underlying mental health disorder.
Anxiety may occur as a symptom of clinical (major) depression. It’s also common to have depression that is triggered by an anxiety disorder, such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, or Separation Anxiety Disorder. Many people have a diagnosis of both an anxiety disorder and clinical depression. Both are primarily thought disorders that can be healed. They share the ingredient of a need to control things we cannot control. Therefore, the coping skills people use often come from fear and express themselves as the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Symptoms of both conditions usually improve with psychological counseling (psychotherapy), medications, such as antidepressants, or both. Lifestyle changes, such as improving sleep habits, increasing social support, using stress-reduction techniques, or getting regular exercise, also may help. If you have either condition, avoid alcohol, smoking, and recreational drugs. They can make both conditions worse and interfere with treatment.
Tune in and learn how these disorders work and how to heal from them.
“Coins in the Hand”, Courtesy of Jordan Rowland, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Anxious”, Courtesy of Nathan Dumlao, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
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