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Published On: May 1, 2024|Categories: Mental Health|

There is no denying that life is challenging at times. Situations happen at work, in our families, and with our partners, which cause stress and sometimes sadness. We may be faced with increasingly difficult decisions and struggle with maintaining a positive attitude during the process. 

These experiences and emotions are all normal and natural. Much happens in our daily lives that causes stress and may leave us feeling down. 

But when these emotions persist and cause increased mental turmoil, it is possible that anxiety and/or depression play a role. And it is not uncommon for those experiencing the symptoms of one to experience the symptoms of both. 

What is depression? 

Depression goes much deeper than just having an off day or feeling down for a little while. Depression occurs when particular symptoms continue on for extended periods of time and you feel like these symptoms are interfering with your ability to work, attend school and/or thoroughly enjoy or enter into the activities and relationships you previously valued.

These symptoms of depression include: 

  • Not wanting to do activities that used to be fun
  • Struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep, or having an irregular sleep schedule overall
  • Perpetually feel exhausted, even after a long night of sleep
  • Losing or gaining weight, possibly due to irregular eating habits, including binge eating or restriction
  • Experiencing bodily pains, including persistent headaches and stomachaches 
  • Struggling to concentrate and remain focused on a task or recalling details
  • Battling a perpetual sense of worthlessness, hopelessness or guilt
  • Feeling suicidal, or wanting to die

There is no one cause of depression, and whether or not someone is subjected to certain risk factors is determined by environment, genetics and even physical health. For example, those who have a family member with diagnosed depression are more susceptible to symptoms of depression than those who do not. Those with abuse, trauma, or a history of substance abuse are also more likely to be at risk. 

Depression is not uncommon: approximately “One out of every six adults will have depression at some time in their life. Depression affects about 16 million American adults every year.”    

What is anxiety? 

Anxiety is more than just normal discomfort about the things in life that cause stress and worry – like finances, health, family, and romantic relationships. Anxiety exists in a perpetual state of intensity, with the mind constantly replaying the moments of the day, stressing about how those moments could have been better and wondering if there was anything you said or did wrong.

Anxiety perpetuates even when there is not much in your life that is a direct cause of stress. It can arise around social situations (social anxiety), generally in a way that impacts your daily life and routines (generalized anxiety disorder) or through panic attacks that occur randomly (panic disorder), to name a few.

Common symptoms of anxiety include: 

  • Struggle to be around people they don’t know and experience physical symptoms like sweating, trembling or upset stomach when they are with a group of people
  • Having a strong aversion to a particular event or situation and working actively to avoid it, or feeling highly on edge when they come into contact with it
  • Feeling out of control and having difficulty getting a handle on your sense of worry
  • Experiencing a sense of impending doom
  • Having physical symptoms including chest pain, sweating, racing heart
  • Feeling restless and on edge
  • Experiencing pain and discomfort that have little explanation and don’t go away with treatment, including body aches, stomachaches and headaches
  • Trouble falling and staying asleep

Just like depression, anxiety can have its roots in both genetic and environmental risk factors. “Affecting about 40 million adults in the US age 18 and older every year, anxiety disorders represent the most common mental illness in the country. About 30 percent of adult Americans develop an anxiety disorder at some point during their lives.”

Can you have anxiety and depression?

Depression and anxiety are actually intimately linked. “Anxiety may occur as a symptom of clinical (major) depression. It’s also common to have depression that’s 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.”

This connection is due to the fact that both anxiety and depression may originate in the same part of the brain – the amygdala – which triggers the emotional responses we experience towards our environment. About half of the individuals diagnosed with depression are also likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. 

Thankfully, treatment modalities like talk therapies, lifestyle and dietary changes, and medication involvement/adjustment may all contribute to managing the overwhelming symptoms of suffering from both anxiety and depression. 

Treatment for anxiety and depression 

If you have found yourself struggling with the symptoms of both anxiety and depression, you are not alone. These mental health conditions can feel incredibly isolating, but you may find companionship in meeting with a therapist routinely as you navigate the complicated emotions and symptoms. 

To speak with someone who can help you today, contact High Focus Centers by calling 866-204-7306 or contacting us online.

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