Depression And Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are sometimes hard to tell apart. While they may seem like completely different conditions, chronic depression can hide anxiety, while people who suffer from general feelings of anxiety may actually be experiencing a symptom of depression. Further, when people begin treatment for depression, the new focus on underlying issues sometimes causes anxiety symptoms, such as frequent heart palpitations, agitation and feelings of nervousness.
Which is it?
Many times, the same individual feels depressed and anxious, either at different times or at the same time. This can make it more challenging to decide whether the main issue is depression or an anxiety disorder. Symptoms that are the same in both conditions include
obsessive thoughts or rumination, panicky feelings, stomach upset and racing heartbeat. Symptoms like sadness, lethargy, hopelessness and lack of motivation are more characteristic of depression than anxiety.
Anxiety may be caused by depression
Some times anxiety escalates because of depression and the
behavior associated with being depressed. For instance, if depression causes a person to become isolated, he or she may become anxious about being alone. Depression-related anxiety can also result from financial worries due to the inability to concentrate and work effectively while depressed. Students who suffer from depression may experience anxiety about grades.
What to do about anxiety and depression
Since anxiety and depression are related, they are often treated in similar ways. If medications are prescribed, SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) may be used because these medications target the brain chemical serotonin, which regulates mood. People with higher levels of serotonin experience less depressive symptoms and fewer feelings of anxiety. However, some medications for depression may make symptoms of anxiety worse because raising serotonin levels too much causes a condition called serotonin syndrome which may increase anxiety symptoms.
Lifting Mood the Natural Way
Levels of serotonin increase when you exercise, eat a healthy diet and spend time outdoors. That’s why regular exercise and healthy eating habits are so important for people who suffer from depression and/or anxiety disorders. Interestingly, changing the way you think can also raise serotonin levels, which is why counseling and psychotherapy are often helpful.
Since the mind and body are closely connected, exercises that target both, like yoga, meditation and tai chi, can do wonders for people who suffer from chronic symptoms of depression and anxiety. These practices work by calming the mind so that extremes of emotion can be avoided. Guided meditation and hypnosis are forms of mind-body therapy that focus on guiding you to change the thinking habits that contribute to negative emotions.
In some cases, herbal remedies can be beneficial to people who suffer from minor depression or anxiety. One of the most common herbs for depression is St. Johns Wort, but there are many other herbs as well as other nutritional approaches to boosting mood and alleviating anxiety.
More information about natural ways to beat depression and anxiety can be found in “End Your Depression.” You will also learn more about how you can use your thoughts and the power of your mind to manage your emotions.
This article provides an overview of how depression is related to anxiety and suggests ways to manage both conditions.