Many of us use the term anxious to describe worry and the term depression to describe sadness.
Of course, we all experience these emotions. Life often throws challenges at us, but sometimes worry and sadness persist even in the absence of a real or perceived threat. so, when do such common emotions become problematic?
In rare cases, depression and anxiety can occur as a side effect of certain medications.
Below, we asked Dr. Pompeyo C Chavez, our expert at MDVIP at Premier Family Physicians, to explain the differences between the two disorders, as well as how they can sometimes be linked.
Understanding anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders are a group of disorders characterized by the following symptoms:
- Excessive worry about the present and future
- Avoiding activities that could cause anxiety
- Being easily fatigued
- Having obsessive thoughts about possible negative scenarios
- Experiencing rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, or indigestion
Although there are many anxiety disorders — ranging from phobias such as fear of crowded places to social anxiety — all anxiety disorders share the disproportionate worry and fear that prevents sufferers from taking action in their lives or simply enjoying everyday activities.
Depression typically involves persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Symptoms of depression include the following:
- Low moods
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Tiredness and insomnia
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty performing everyday tasks such as doing chores or taking a shower
Sometimes depression sufferers may have suicidal thoughts.
Suffering from both depression and anxiety
Anxiety and depression often feed on each other, as a persistent feeling of sadness and low motivation levels can lead to negative outcomes in relationships and social situations, which may trigger fear and worry.
Depression and anxiety can sometimes be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Some people can relate to why they feel anxious or depressed in relation to past events, while others can’t pinpoint the reason behind their emotional suffering.
Some research indicates that having too little of certain neurotransmitters may trigger symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, not everyone with low levels of certain neurotransmitters experience depression or anxiety. Neurotransmitter levels can be tested via urine or blood tests but these tests aren’t an accurate representation of what’s happening in the brain.
Depending on your unique situation, you may be recommended counseling, medications, lifestyle changes, and mindfulness techniques.
If you’re suffering, know that there are many ways you can improve your quality of life. Contact us to schedule an appointment. We can provide you with expert advice and a customized treatment plan.