Depression and anxiety are two very serious mental illnesses that affect millions of Americans on a daily basis. There are many people who suffer from both depression and anxiety. Many of the symptoms of both of depression and anxiety are similar and go hand in hand.
Out of the millions of Americans, both children and adults, that experience depression also face other symptoms like anxiety. While some just experience one of these mental illnesses over the other, most experience them together for their symptoms feed off of one another. These shared symptoms include difficulty sleeping, insomnia or sleeping too much, as well as heart palpitations, cold or sweaty hand, overwhelming fear and worry. Some researchers say it is almost impossible to find a person with depression that does not also suffer from anxiety.
Why are depression and anxiety linked?
Many researchers have concluded from various tests and studies that depression and anxiety are often linked because both of these mental illnesses have similar triggers toward a person’s mental state. A person may first start to experience either depression or anxiety or both as a result of a life experience or traumatic event. The symptoms in these situations are not easily separated. For example, a teen might begin experiencing the symptoms of depression at the loss of a parent. When this happens, they are not only sad and withdrawn, but they might also experience symptoms of overwhelming sense of fear and despair. All of these symptoms can easily be attributed to both depression and anxiety. For some, there might be even more than just depression and anxiety going on. For some, it might be something even more serious like bipolar disorder. This is a condition that causes a shift in a person’s mood or mental state from severe depression to manic phases. These levels are incredibly high of restlessness, difficulty concentrating, racing thoughts as well as impulsive decision making and reckless behavior or poor judgment. For people that are bipolar or considered manic depressive, they do experience bouts of normality in between these excessive phases.
Treatment options for depression and anxiety:
For some, antidepressants might be one of the first considerations toward treatment, however for people experiencing both depression and anxiety, this form of treatment might actually do more harm than good. This is why it is important to discuss each and every one of your symptoms with your doctor before receiving treatment. While antidepressants might be a good option if the person strictly just has depression and anxiety, they are not a good option for those who are actually experiencing bipolar symptoms. Those types of people will nee an entirely different set of drugs and medications to help stabilize their moods before they can begin learning to live with manic depression. Antidepressants given to someone that is bipolar can actually have the opposite desired effect and might actually trigger a manic episode instead. If you are at the point where you realize something is wrong – experiencing long bouts of sadness and despair, feeling constantly overwhelmed with even the simplest of tasks – then it is time to talk to your doctor. Counseling and therapy are also great ways to help someone learn to cope with anxiety and depression to overcome those kinds of struggles in addition to the medication. Some find they do better in their recovery if they do not take the drugs and simply focus on therapy. However, others need the medication to make that full recovery. This is why it is important to talk to your doctor about all of the possible treatment options.
There are also things you can do on your own to help improve your mood and tackle the symptoms of depression and anxiety. These can include eating right and exercising. While this is obviously not a cure-all, these are important methods to consider when looking for other ways to help you along in your recovery. Exercise releases endorphins in your body that can help battle those low, melancholy moods. Eating too much fats and sugars not only makes you feel even worse about yourself, but the ingredients and chemical makeup of such foods really do have an effect on how your body feels. Eating healthier foods will eliminate those poor contributing factors. Working out can also help you relax and sleep better at night time, which is a helpful solution if you have trouble falling asleep.
Sources: webmd.com, mayoclinic.com