Depression and Anxiety haunt 41.6% of the world’s population. However, not many choose to visit their region’s best anxiety and depression therapist and thus plunge themselves into despair. Here’s how you can understand more about the dual diagnosis of the two mood disorders.
What is Depression?
Depression is a common, critical neurological condition marked by dejection and low emotions that last for over 2 weeks. DSM 5 employs the term “major depressive episodes” to classify and diagnose clinical depression, for which people seek professional help. The mood disorder primarily presents major and frequent depressive episodes as its main attribute. Unlike common perception, clinical depression is much more than feeling sad all the time. It exhibits a variety of features that vary from person to person but represent the same medical condition, such as:
- Feeling lethargic during most of the day
- Loss of interest in a hobby
- Changes in appetite
- Increase or decrease in weight
- Difficulty concentrating and sleeping
- Feeling worthless, helpless, or hopeless
- Suicidal thoughts
- Inexplicable headaches, muscular pain, or other physiological issues
WHAT CAUSES DEPRESSION
For a long time, people who battled depression were often belittled for their condition. It was presumed that their depressed behavior was a consequence of their lifestyle choices or psychological weakness. Today, science has debunked the school of thought by relating the dysfunction of specific brain regions to the onset of depression. The dysfunction is thought to be triggered by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and physiological factors, such as:
- Family history
- Traumatic life experiences
- Major lifestyle changes
- Medical histories such as cancer, stroke, or chronic pain
- Medication history
- In addition to alcohol or drugs.
It is the amalgamation of these factors that render 1 out of every 6 American adults to be susceptible to depression. Today, over 16 million people are plagued by the said condition.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a usual human response to situations where the body is required to fight or flight. At times, it is a beneficial response as it urges the body to make the right decision in stressful conditions. However, for many people, anxiety is more of a nuisance than a blessing. As a medical condition, the sensation presents itself as an anxiety disorder characterized by persistent anxiety that lasts from several days to several months. The symptoms that represent the onset of anxiety in people include,
severe and persistent anxiety
- difficulty managing fear
- Physical restlessness
- Sense of impending doom
- Loss of sleep
- Persistent sleep
- Brain fog
- Physical symptoms like headache, diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and muscle tension.
WHAT CAUSES ANXIETY?
Just like depression and several other neurological disorders, the etiology of anxiety is unidentified as well. It is too, thought to be facilitated by a variety of physiological and lifestyle factors such as:
- Medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, thyroid, and respiratory problems.
- Drug misuse or withdrawal
- Rare tumors that instigate fight-or-flight response
- Personal trauma
- Family history
Anxiety may be a normal human emotion but is capable of contributing to an array of complications. From substance misuse to suicidal thoughts – the disorder has a considerable impact on those that suffer from it.
Depression and Anxiety – Is There a Link? What Is It?
If you wonder whether anxiety and depression have a link, then yes, it does. While the former is a high-energy state, and the latter is a low-energy state – the two entities remain intertwined. Those who struggle with anxiety disorders often tend to disregard their thoughts as irrational but are not able to shunt them. They ultimately lose control over their consciousness and the angst paves the way to depression. When you feel anxious, you perpetually think about the same problem, then you eventually feel bad about it and get depressed. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that their patterns exist as a cycle.
The National Institute of Mental Health states that major depression goes hand in hand with anxiety disorders including panic disorder. Their clinical features may be distinct, but they do share a certain number of symptoms that affects daily life.
Depression and Anxiety – Why do they occur concurrently?
Both depression and anxiety co-occur as a cycle and have a complex relationship. Studies reveal that nearly half of the population that has major depression already lives with severe anxiety
The chances of suffering from clinical depression increase multifold when it comes to anxiety disorders. Furthermore, a significant percentage of people who live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more likely to develop depression.
Although the cause of both emotional states is not identified, science suggests that the two exist because of similar factors.
- Genetics: Genes are 40% responsible for the onset of depressive and anxious symptoms. People with either of the two conditions present in their family history are more predisposed to suffer from the other.
- Environment: Environmental or social factors such as childhood trauma or current stress contribute to 60% of the chances for depression or anxiety,
- Pain: According to Harvard Health, pain shares similar biological mechanisms with anxiety and depression and thus contributes to the predisposition of its symptoms. Medical conditions like fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and headache often lead to psychological distress and leads and render a person depressed.
Depression and Anxiety – What Signs Indicate Their Existence?
While it is not imperative that if you suffer from mental health condition, you’re bound to acquire the other as well. However, due to their overlapping symptoms, people tend to fall prey to both conditions simultaneously.
Following are the traits that represent the existence of both mood disorders in a person
- Unreasonable worry or fear of impending doom
- Persistent physical symptoms such as fatigue, headache, tachycardia, heavy breathing, abdominal pain
- Change in eating habits i.e. eating either way too much or too little
- Persistent hopelessness and helplessness
- Losing interest in routine activities and other hobbies
- Feeling lost, irritated, or annoyed
- Difficulty in relaxing or calming down
- Often suffering from panic attacks.
Depression and Anxiety – Treatment Strategies For This Dual Diagnosis
Physicians rely on different strategies, for dual diagnosis of the two emotional conditions, such as:
COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT)
A type of psychotherapy, CBT alters the thought process to change mood and behavior. The therapy helps break the negative cycle to render symptoms more manageable.
Together with CBT, the pharmacological approach is vital to treating both anxiety and depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and antidepressants drugs facilitate treatment with fewer side effects.
Physical activity triggers the release of feel-good chemicals in the body that contribute to the feeling of well-being.
Meditation and mindfulness play a crucial role in helping anxious people calm down and improve their quality of life.
Depression and Anxiety vs You -Do Not Give Up!
You may not have control over the onset of anxiety and sadness, but you can control its progression. Seeking professional help from an internal medicine doctor in Michigan to defeat emotional disorders and live a better life.