Earlier this year, Scientific American published an interesting article about anxiety and depression that highlighted what many people already know: while these mood disorders are fundamentally different, they overlap in many ways. In fact, they occur together up to 50 percent of the time.
Depression is a serious condition, where someone is sad most of the time – to the extent that it affects their daily life. It can affect sleep patterns, appetite, energy levels, concentration, daily behaviors and self-esteem. Causes can include chemical imbalances in the brain, hormonal changes, medications or other things happening in someone’s life.
Anxiety is just as serious a condition, and can be just as debilitating. However, it is based on fear – like an automatic alarm clock that goes off when someone feels threatened, under pressure or is facing a stressful situation. Unfortunately, for someone suffering from an anxiety disorder, this fear doesn’t go away and in fact, gets worse over time.
These mood disorders share five key symptoms:
• Irritability: anxiety puts people on edge, which means it is easy to push them over the edge, while depression often manifests as irritability and grouchiness.
• Problems sleeping: anxiety often leads to trouble getting sleep due to tension or racing thoughts, while depression can cause problems with either too much or too little sleep.
• Difficulty concentrating: with anxiety, people are typically distracted with their worries, while with depression, they have difficulty staying engaged.
• Restlessness: anxiety seldom comes without motion, from wringing hands to grinding teeth, while depression can cause certain people to pace, bite their nails or fidget.
• No fun: with anxiety, not having fun is the result of high physical tension, while depression saps energy and motivation.
As anxiety makes depression worse – and vice versa – we believe it’s important to treat both of these mood disorders. At The Dell Center, our approach is based on the types and severity of the symptoms being experienced, and can include therapy, medication, or some combination of the two.
If someone you know is struggling with anxiety, depression – or both – we’re here to help. Contact us today.