Depression and anxiety are the two most common mental health conditions across the globe. While you can certainly have one without the other, they often go hand-in-hand.
People tend to separate the two because, on paper, they seem to have completely different symptoms. Unfortunately, that’s often the result of stereotyping both conditions.
Anxiety is more than just “feeling worried”.
Depression is more than just being sad.
When you dive into the intricacies of each condition, you’ll see that many of the thoughts and symptoms overlap. That’s why anywhere from 60 to 85% of people dealing with depression also have anxiety.
So, why are they so similar, and how can you tell if you have both?
The Same Emotions With Different Reactions
Some people suggest that depression and anxiety are two sides of the same coin.
Many emotions you might feel from both conditions are similar. It’s how you react to them that could be different and trigger a specific diagnosis.
Consider the “fight or flight” responses within the brain. Most people have a basic idea of what they are, but which one you use can make it easier to understand the basics of anxiety vs. depression.
For example, if you’re in a worrying situation and it triggers your “fight” response, your brain will go into a heightened state. You might feel more anxious and your sense of distress will rise.
If you go into a “flight” response, your mind and body may try to shut down as you bring the worry inward, creating a more depressed state.
Unfortunately, this way of thinking often creates a vicious cycle. Anxiety can lead to depression, and depression can lead to anxiety.
Indicators That You Are Dealing With Both
So, how can you tell if you’re trying to manage both anxiety and depression?
It’s important to understand that everyone experiences and handles the conditions differently. But, some of the common signs that both are present include:
- Irrational fears that won’t leave
- Changes in sleeping/eating habits
- Physical pain or distress
- Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
- Losing your sense of control
Some suggest that depression occurs when anxiety is left untreated. It’s true that you can start to feel helpless and hopeless when anxiety takes over. But, it’s also important to note that anxiety isn’t the only cause or “trigger” for depression. The two still are separate conditions, no matter how often they’re connected.
How to Treat and Manage Anxiety and Depression
If there is a “silver lining” to having both depression and anxiety, it’s that many of the treatment options are the same and can be extremely effective for both issues. The best part? They can be treated at the same time. You don’t need to break them apart into different sessions if you decide to work with a mental health professional.
Which is exactly what you should do.
Depression and anxiety are usually very manageable. But, they don’t often go away on their own.
Working with a therapist is the best way to manage these conditions. Therapy will help you discover the underlying cause(s) of your depression and anxiety, and work from those root causes to manage your symptoms today.
Along with therapy, medications are sometimes needed to help produce fewer side effects. While no medication is a “cure-all”, they can help you move into a mental state where it’s easier to work through your conditions. Medications may be a short or long term option to support you, prescribed by a physician or nurse practitioner.
If you’re concerned that you have anxiety, depression, or both, you’re clearly not alone. You also don’t have to worry about only managing one condition over another. Feel free to contact me for more information or to set up an appointment.
For more information about my services in Delray Beach, FL and Sandy Springs, GA, click here.