By Anne Ahira
While the condition of anxiety and depression are two different medical conditions, it is extremely common for individuals who suffer from depression to also have some form of an anxiety disorder.
It is also very common for individuals who have an anxiety disorder to develop depression.
When an individual has both depression and an anxiety, this can be very challenging to treat as the symptoms are typically more severe than when they occur independently.
While there are certain lifestyle changes which can be made to alleviate the symptoms of these illnesses, it is essential that a medical assessment is obtained in order to make a proper diagnosis.
The Links between Depression and Anxiety
While the reasons are unknown, individuals who suffer from depression commonly have an anxiety disorder as well.
One study that was conducted showed that eighty five percent of individuals who had major depression also suffered from “general anxiety disorder” or “GAD”.
Studies conducted also show that the number one risk factor when it comes to developing depression is having an anxiety disorder.
When anxiety disorders and depression coexist, the process of recovery is much longer and the potential for relapsing is much greater than in individuals who have only one of these illnesses.
The diagnosis of having both of these conditions can also be very difficult to make as the symptoms of these disorders are very similar and often times the symptoms of an anxiety disorder will over shadow the symptoms of depression, therefore, a diagnosis of depression will sometimes be missed.
Other medical conditions also frequently pose a problem with the diagnosis of anxiety and depression as medical experts have concluded that approximately only one out of every five individuals with anxiety and depression receive the proper treatment for their mental illness.
Symptoms and Treatment when Depression and an Anxiety Disorder Coexist
Individuals who suffer from depression have a deep feeling of sadness and most of the time can not enjoy or get any pleasure out of life while individuals with an anxiety disorder feel constant or persistent fear and worry.
When these two conditions are combined, an individual not only has the symptoms of depression, but also feels nervous and agitated.
These symptoms often cause the individual to have trouble sleeping with the inability to get to sleep or stay asleep.
Treatment for these co-existing illnesses is a combination of psychotherapy and medication.
While the “Food and Drug Administration” has not yet approved any drug specifically for the treatment of these dual disorders, anti-depressants – typically “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors” or “SSRIs” are prescribed for the treatment of these co-existing disorders.
SSRIs have been proven to be effective in all types of anxiety disorders as well as the treatment of depression.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is also the most commonly used therapy in the treatment of both depression and anxiety.
When following the proper medical treatment plan, along with monitoring diet and nutrition as well as learning relaxation and exercising techniques, it is possible for individuals who suffer from the combination of these disorders to recover and live full and productive lives.
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Photo: Therese J. Borchard: “When you’re in the midst of depression, that’s the scariest thing — it seems that you’re going to feel like that forever. The pain created by depression kills almost 1 million people a year. It almost killed me, and it did kill my aunt. If I can give just one person hope that there’s an end to depression, that it is treatable, then that made it worth it for me to write the book.”
See videos in the post Therese Borchard and Beyond Blue – Creativity and Mood Disorders.