Depression and anxiety are two distinct mental health disorders. However, more often than not, I see depression accompanying anxiety patients and vice versa. Their treatments overlap, and since I have helped many patients overcome both, I would like to touch upon it in this post.

The Cause

While anxiety can be loosely defined as excessive worrying about something, depression is very different from it. Depression is defined as a deep sense of sadness and withdrawal which may take away a person’s sense of purpose and enjoyment. Anxiety patients may get confused about suffering from depression because of the medication that they are prescribed, anti-depressants in most cases. At times though, the anxiety disorder itself may cause depression. This may be due to the fear and difficulty they face in their daily life as a result of anxiety. In other cases, a person may have suffered from depression as a primary illness, well before they had developed anxiety, and so, both become necessary to treat.

I once had a patient suffering from social anxiety, and while it can be hard for such people to interact normally in social gatherings, that person suffered from a mild form of depression as well. Now, had it been anxiety alone, his treatment would be simpler, but having a client who has lost all hope to be treated for anxiety can be a difficult ordeal. However, I would like to tell you that whether alone or together depression and anxiety are both treatable mental health disorders, and once a person identifies it and is willing to seek help, he/she can manage their emotions better.

Dealing with Anxiety and Depression

Since both these conditions are characterized as mental illnesses, the treatment options associated with it can have more to do with correcting mind disruptions or treating underlying emotional and relational issues. The makeup of our brains is influenced by our lifestyle, such as by the diet we consume, how we move, and the quality of sleep, among other things. The treatment options usually employed include an integrative approach of psychological therapies, complimentary therapies and a healthy lifestyle change.

If you or a loved one you know of suffers from depression and anxiety at the same time, know that you are not alone suffering from the two mental illnesses together. Here are some of the things you can start implementing that might help the situation:

  • Understand that depression as a side effect of anxiety is common
  • Treating anxiety can also help treat depression
  • Develop a healthy sleep pattern whereby you get a good 6-8 hours of sleep regularly
  • Get some exercise or yoga that may help calm your nerves
  • Spend time in nature to relax yourself
  • Spend time with friends/family that are supportive
  • Meditate for 5-10 minutes each day

Lastly, it is advisable that you seek expert anxiety help. For more information, you can contact me at theanxietyexpert@gmail.com