Depression and anxiety are often thought to be the same thing, however there are subtle differences between the two. Depression usually creates other emotions such as despair, loneliness, hopelessness and anger. A person who is depressed is said to have a very low energy level and are usually unable to carry on with the everyday simple tasks that are necessary for survival.
A person suffering from anxiety disorder is oftentimes engulfed by fear and worries, and can experience sudden panic even without any visible danger or threat.
Depression is more visible in most cases, with most people who suffer from this exhibiting it because of the low energy of the person or the refusal to do everyday tasks. With anxiety however, sometimes it is not visible if the person is over anxious, unless he or she frequently has panic or anxiety attacks.
Both depression and anxiety can restrict a person’s ability to enjoy life, maintain healthy relationships and socialize. At the worst cases, people with these disorders are unable to leave their houses or their comfort zones.
In most studies of depressed patients, about 85 percent also exhibit generalized anxiety disorder while 35% experience regular panic attacks. Generalized anxiety disorder is more than the common anxiety we feel when we are doing something for the first time, like going for an interview or taking a complete physical exam.
With generalized anxiety disorder, the idea of danger is constant in the sufferer’s mind. A situation that may seem harmless to others may be interpreted by a person with this kind of disorder as potentially harmful.
Experts have found out that when anxiety and depression occur together, the symptoms are more pronounced. They had also established that depression with anxiety leads to a higher percentage of suicide than those with depression only.
Common Treatments for Depression and Anxiety
People suffering from depression and/or anxiety are often given anti-depressant drugs. However, the patient is advised not to use these prescription drugs for a long time, because they usually cause dependence and the body develops a tolerance for them in the long run, resulting to a likely recurrence of the symptoms to take place once the medications are discontinued.
Because both anxiety and depression are often linked together, it is important to address both issues and to supplement medication treatment with other therapies to attain permanent cure such as the following:
1. Relaxation techniques are highly recommended for patients who have frequent anxiety attacks. These include progressive muscle relaxation and abdominal breathing.
2. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven effective in treating anxiety disorders. The therapy focuses on replacing one’s thoughts of danger and despair with positive affirmations.
3. Developing a healthy lifestyle with proper diet, exercise and adequate sleep are also recommended to support the use of anxiety and depression medications. Regular exercise can also help in metabolizing the oversupply of the adrenaline hormone as well as reduced muscle tension. Avoiding health hazards such as smoking, alcohol, nicotine and illegal drugs greatly improves the chances of recovery of both anxiety and depression sufferers.
Anxiety and depression are the most common mood disorders, but they are not totally incurable. If you are experiencing anxiety and/or depression, try to reach out to people who care about you and let them know about your condition. Better yet, consult either a medical doctor or a psychotherapist who can help you develop an anti-anxiety and/or depression program that will help you live a happier, more peaceful life.