Two of the most common mental health problems are depression and anxiety. In fact, each year one in four people in the UK experience depression, anxiety, or both. This means that you probably know someone who struggles with depression and/or anxiety, or perhaps that person is you.
Sometimes the symptoms of these two mental health problems overlap, and it may difficult to distinguish between the two. When it comes to depression and anxiety, the symptoms can vary from person to person.
In this article, we will discuss the difference between depression and anxiety and how it is common to have both.
What is Depression?
Everyone feels depressed from time to time, but there is a difference between feeling depressed every now and then and actual depression (AKA major depressive disorder).
Depression is a common mental health illness that causes people to feel sadness, guilt, low self-worth, low energy, and/or a loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed. Depression is characterized as having these symptoms for two weeks or more.
As previously stated, no one is the same, meaning that symptoms of depression can vary from person to person. Some other reported symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Poor appetite
- Lack of energy
- Not being able to enjoy life
- Avoiding other people
- Sleeping problems
- Loss of sex drive and/or sexual problems
- Physical aches and pains
Depression symptoms can vary in intensity from mild to moderate to severe.
What Causes Depression?
There is no clear answer as to what causes depression. Research shows that there can be a number of factors that may work together to cause this mental illness. Some known causes are:
- Genetic disposition
- Substance Abuse
- Brain Chemistry
- Life Stressors
Someone could experience several of these causes or maybe just one. No matter the cause, it does not lessen the intensity of depression that many people experience.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety, on the other hand, is a condition that includes a range of symptoms.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), affects between four and five in every 100 people in the UK. Similarly, generalized anxiety disorder includes two main symptoms: excessive anxiety during most days for more than six months, and difficulty controlling these feelings.
Like depression, anxiety manifests itself in different ways. Here are a few:
- Panic disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Social anxiety
- Feeling on edge or restless
With anxiety, you may feel anxious about a plethora of things, without their being any logical cause for your feelings. Your feelings won’t go away, they may be extreme, and no matter how much you try to control them, you can’t. Anxiety makes coping with everyday life difficult or nearly impossible.
Feelings of anxiety:
- Are intense
- Last for weeks or more
- Negatively affect your physical and emotional health
- Leave you unable to enjoy yourself
What Causes Anxiety?
Just like the causes for depression are at times, unclear, so are the causes for anxiety. Some of the known causes for anxiety are the same as the ones for depression, including:
- Genetic Disposition
- Substance Abuse
- Medical Illness
- Brain Chemistry
- Major Life Stressors
Can I have both Depression and Anxiety?
As if depression or anxiety aren’t enough to deal with on their own, about half of the people who suffer from one, suffer from the other as well.
As you can see, it’s quite common. When the symptoms coexist, they can be more intense and long lasting.
Sometimes people will have either depression or anxiety, and have a few symptoms of the other.
Then there is “mixed anxiety and depressive disorder” (MADD) that some professionals view as a separate category in itself. This is where someone has a combination of both disorders, and this condition can cause a lot of distress in someone’s life.
Treatment for Depression and Anxiety
Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder are treated in a similar way. The two main categories of treatment are therapy and medication.
Therapy involves talking through going to a licensed professional to talk through your thoughts and feelings. It’s more than talking though. The professional should guide you through ways to help lessen or eliminate your depression and/or anxiety.
Medication such as antidepressants are used for both conditions and many people benefit from them. The most common ones are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Often, an effective treatment approach will involve a combination of both therapy and medication. Everyone is different, so each treatment plan must be catered to the individual.
Rehab as Treatment
Some people need rehab as a treatment for depression and/or anxiety. It can be too much to deal with on your own. Rehab can be a good first step.
- Personalised care and treatment
- Over 80 years of combined experience
- Our staff are internationally recognised experts in their fields
- Sunshine (over 320 days a year!)
- Healthy choices in food/nutrition
- One-on-one therapy
- Group therapy
What better way to take the first step in combating depression and anxiety than taking the step to refresh and recharge in a gorgeous, supportive place?
We’re here to help.
Contact us today if you’d like a confidential and free chat with one of our highly-trained professionals.
We offer effective evidence-based individualised care addressing addiction, depression, anxiety, trauma, family, relapse and relationship issues.