Anxiety and depression are common mood disorders. The former is an umbrella term for conditions that make us feel anxious (panic disorders, phobias, and general anxiety disorder (GAD), while the latter is a single illness.
Can You Have Both
From a therapist’s point of view, depression and anxiety can coexist. When this happens, the conditions become intense and long-lasting.
Do You Treat Them Separately?
It is important to understand depression and anxiety have similar treatments (psychological therapies and medicines). For this reason, if you take antidepressants, you are more likely to reduce the symptoms of both conditions at the same time. It is best to treat the conditions with combined treatment approaches rather than separately.
Symptoms of Depression
- Weight loss
- Loss of interest in things you previously enjoyed doing
Symptoms of Anxiety
- Increased heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty concentrating
- Unexplained fatigue or tiredness
- Trouble getting sleep
Situations When They Coexist
Depression and anxiety are more likely to coexist when you have chronic anxiety or panic disorder. In most cases, anxiety precedes depression.
How Often They Coexist
My research established that 5 in 10 people with depression or anxiety have the other condition. It is safe to say when you have one condition, you meet the criteria for developing the other.
Is It Hard to Treat If You Have Both?
Yes, treating depression and anxiety that coexist can be a tough call. These conditions have different symptoms and crossover symptoms. For this reason, if you treat one condition, some symptoms are more likely to persist or override the others.
How Does Treatment Change in That Case?
Instead of getting treatment for one condition, opt for combined treatment approaches. These include therapy (exposure therapy, interpersonal therapy, CBT, or problem-solving therapy) and medication(antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety medications).