At present, in terms of mental healthcare, when diagnosing treatment for depression and anxiety, the two illnesses are seen as separate conditions. Still, a surprising number of people suffer from both of these complaints …
In fact, research has shown that 60-70% of sufferers of depression also have anxiety and that those who have chronic anxiety have to cope with clinical depression as well.
So that it appears that most mood disorders tend to be a combination of both.
Anxiety and depression are common disorders in which researchers and clinicians recently, therefore, have begun to believe that they are different aspects of the same illness – they aren’t, in fact, separate at all – they could be seen as two sides of the same coin.
The combination of anxiety, as well as depression, has serious repercussions as this ‘comorbidity,’ as it’s more commonly known as in the world of psychology, can be far-reaching and can affect individuals at work, in relationships and carries a high suicide risk.
What are they?
It is in recent times that researchers and clinicians have begun to conclude that depression and anxiety aren’t two coexisting conditions but are, in fact, one disorder with different faces.
It is thought that the psychological and biological nature of the vulnerable are the same – that some people with the vulnerability react with anxiety to life stressors and that some people go beyond that as well, to become depressed.
It appears that depression is a way of shutting down and that it’s an individual saying they can’t cope with what’s going on and wanting to give up, which is then demonstrated in mental and cognitive or behavioral changes.
Whereas anxiety is a looking to the future and seeing potential disasters which could lie ahead in maybe hours, days or weeks…
It is believed that at the root of this double disorder is a shared function that has gone wrong – research concludes this is due to overaction of the stress response system, which, in turn, the emotional centre of the brain into hyperdrive.
Medical practitioners find it difficult to tell which is depression and which is anxiety; however, at present, the treatment of cognitive-behavioral therapy, as well as medication is good for getting results for both conditions.
Who is at risk?
It’s thought that family components play a huge part – family history is often looked into when dealing with the conditions.
The nature of the disorders is also essential – OCD, panic disorder, and social phobias can often be linked to depression.
Age is also an important factor – people over the age of 40 are more likely to develop both disorders, and those who start to have panic attacks into their 50s, are very likely to have a history of depression already.
Anxiety is thought to start before depression, and it’s common for anxiety-related conditions to begin in early childhood to late-teens and is often as a result of learned behaviour from adults or peers.
Help is at Hand
CBT and medication can be extremely effective in combatting for many sufferers of anxiety and depression, but CBT is better at helping to reduce relapses.
The availability of support for anxiety and depression is even more accessible in today’s uncertain climate with online therapy, which is available to help protect individuals’ privacy and individual concerns.
All is needed is a mobile phone or a computer, and the sufferer of either anxiety or depression doesn’t even have to leave home to find their condition is taken seriously…