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The Relationship Between Anxiety and Depression

Jonathan Riley

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

Anxiety and depression are two of the most common psychiatric illnesses; they frequently coexist and are referred to as “first cousins.” While anxiety and depression share many symptoms, those with anxiety are more likely to experience panic attacks and obsessive thoughts about what makes them anxious, whereas those with depression may experience a persistent low mood, low self-esteem, and low energy.

Anxiety and depression are closely linked, and the two disorders can coexist. People suffering from depression are prone to feeling anxious about certain things, as depression can make it difficult to keep stressful situations in perspective. Without treatment, anxiety can result in excessive worrying and catastrophising, which can lead to depression and potentially chronic depression.

People may struggle to comprehend what it is like to have both anxiety and depression. People suffering from anxiety and depression typically experience significant disruptions in their ability to work, attend school, or engage in social activities. However, while these disruptions are less noticeable, the signs and symptoms are frequently overlooked because sufferers are able to carry on with their daily lives while suffering in silence. People who suffer from anxiety and depression appear fine to the outside world, and they often excel at completing tasks and goals.

The majority of people who suffer from anxiety and depression do not fit the stereotypes associated with either disorder. A common misconception about anxiety and depression is that it only affects those who can’t achieve their goals, but this is not always the case. Many people who suffer from anxiety and depression are characterised as Type-A personalities or overachievers. They frequently excel at work or portray themselves as people who seem to have everything under control. These people can use their anxiety as an energiser, driving them towards achieving their goals. It is later, when in private, depression symptoms such as self-doubt, self-criticism, exhaustion, hopelessness, moodiness, and a desire to avoid social interaction become more intense. And many times, the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety are given positive attributes rather than being seen for what they are. What most people don’t see are the private struggles with stress, sleeplessness, digestive problems, self-criticism, or feelings of sadness.

Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression
People who suffer from both anxiety and depression may:
• Suffer from irrational fears
• Constantly worry about their circumstances
• Have difficulty sleeping
• Experience panic attacks
• Have significant changes in eating patterns
• Have a consistent feeling of hopelessness
• Feel worthless
• Lose interest in socialising and hobbies
• Be constantly fatigued
• Become irritable, impatient, or hostile

Many people use logical rationalisations to mask their anxiety and depression symptoms. Even if a person has a job, is in school, or is in a healthy relationship, they may experience disruptions in their daily activities that are not always obvious. Many of these hidden disruptions can be observed in behaviours such as declining social invitations, sleeping more or sleeping less, and excessive reliance on coping mechanisms such as excessive exercise, overeating, alcohol or addictive behaviour.

Finally, the symptoms of anxiety and depression can significantly impact how a person behaves and goes about their daily life. Although people may be suffering from both anxiety and depression, they may not realise there is a problem. It’s worth noting that while some people exhibit symptoms of anxiety and depression, the symptoms may be related to other mental health concerns such as stress, low self-esteem, grief, or trauma. When anxiety and depression are left untreated, a person’s life can diminish to the point where they are surviving rather than thriving.

My Practice provides affordable counselling and all profits are reinvested into the organisation to continue providing low-cost counselling and mental health services to our community. If you’re interested in scheduling a free 15-minute consultation with us, book online today.