Mixed Anxiety & Depression Explained
Depression and anxiety have similar causes and some people can experience symptoms of both conditions at the same time. If youve been experiencing both low mood and persistent worry, tension, and unease, click below to learn more about the relationship between anxiety and depression.
How To Deal With Depression
There are a range of ways to deal with depression, and often they are best used in conjunction with each other. The primary medical options are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy , antidepressant medication, and in some severe cases, Electroconvulsive Therapy .
Education and coping strategies are also important when learning to manage your depression.
ECT is an effective form of treatment for depression, especially if:
- There are medical contraindications to medication.
- There is a need for rapid improvement because of suicidal intent or refusal to eat.
- The person has experienced treatment failure following CBT, several medications, or combined medication and CBT treatment trials.
- The person has had a previous positive response to ECT.
- Somatic symptoms are prominent.
- Psychotic symptoms are present.
What is CBT?
Almost Nothing Sparks Your Interest
Depression commonly involves a decrease in your energy levels and a loss of pleasure in your favorite hobbies and other things you usually enjoy. As you work toward recovery, youll usually find your interest in these activities slowly begins to return, along with your energy.
With worsening depression, you might notice the opposite.
You might also have trouble mustering up enough energy to go to work or take care of basic responsibilities, like paying bills or preparing meals. Even necessary self-care, like showering and brushing your teeth, might feel beyond your current abilities.
What Its Really Like Going Through A Deep Dark Depression
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I thought everyone Googled suicide methods from time to time. They donât. Hereâs how Iâve recovered from a dark depression.
In early October 2017, I found myself sitting in my therapistâs office for an emergency session.
She explained that I was going through a âmajor depressive episode.â
Iâd experienced similar feelings of depression in high school, but they were never this intense.
Earlier in 2017, my anxiety had started to interfere with my daily life. So, for the first time, Iâd sought out a therapist.
Growing up in the Midwest, therapy was never discussed. It wasnât until I was in my new home of Los Angeles and met people who saw a therapist that I decided to try it myself.
I was so lucky to have an established therapist when I sunk into this deep depression.
Also Check: What Is The Depression Hotline
What Is Mild Depression
World Health Organization , there are approximately 280 million people worldwide who have depression. Of the millions of individuals living with this condition, each persons experience can vary in both symptoms and intensity.
Mild depression refers to the level of the conditions severity rather than a specific depression type. Many people with mild depression are able to function in everyday life but may have a lower energy reserve or deal with chronic feelings of melancholy.
Shagoon Maurya, a counseling psychologist and psychotherapist in Adelaide, Australia, explains that a person with mild depression experiences irritability, tiredness, hopelessness, and sadness with the other symptoms of depression, but with less intensity.
Because these emotions arent extreme or can be brushed aside, you might not even realize that you have depression.
Maurya lists common symptoms of depression as:
- handle daily activities, like sleeping, eating, or working
Other types of depression may also present with mild symptoms. If you think you may have depression, regardless of the type or severity of symptoms, consider talking to your doctor as a first step.
What Causes Depression In Men
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of risk factors including:
- Genetic factorsmen with a family history of depression may be more likely to develop it than those whose family members do not have the illness.
- Environmental Stressfinancial problems, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, major life changes, work problems, or any stressful situation may trigger depression in some men.
- Illnessdepression can occur with other serious medical illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or Parkinsons disease. Depression can make these conditions worse and vice versa. Sometimes, medications taken for these illnesses may cause side effects that trigger or worsen depression.
Read Also: What To Do If I Have Anxiety And Depression
Tell People Close To You
A simple “Hey, I think I’m going to be going through a rough period. Mind if we schedule some tea?” is enough for most people, even if they don’t know that you’re actually depressive. If there are people in your life who do understand, and who help monitor your depression, make sure that you notify them of what’s about to happen, and they can help you make plans to deal with the fallout.
A Lack Of Standardization
Quantitative scales help researchers measure and organize symptoms, as well as designate a cutoff point for whats considered severe depression for the purpose of a specific study. However, methodologies vary between studies and researchers, meaning there isnt a single definition of severe depression across the board.
A lack of standardization means that if a persons depression symptoms are assessed with different scales by different providers, the diagnosis may not be consistent. Some providers dont use them in clinical practice unless a patient is taking medications, whereas others use them regularly.
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Give Yourself Reasons To Leave The House
For those of us who recognize the signs, getting a heads-up on an upcoming depressive episode is a genuine opportunity to put some good groundwork in place. Combat the isolation that depression brings by scheduling some social time for the next little while. It doesn’t have to be big parties or things that may make you feel more depressed or alone â one-on-one time with understanding friends, group activities that you love, or anything that will make you feel connected are all good ideas. And tell somebody else your plans so that they can help you stick to them.
You Notice Changes In Eating And Sleeping Patterns
Depression often affects appetite and sleep habits.
Sleep changes often happen on a similar spectrum. You could have a hard time staying awake and feel exhausted enough to sleep all day but you could also struggle to fall asleep or wake up often throughout the night.
Trouble sleeping at night can mean you need to nap during the day to catch up, so you might end up drifting off at unusual times. This can affect your energy and concentration and further disrupt your sleep.
Read Also: I Want To Come Out Of Depression
How To Get A Clinical Diagnosis
Theres no single test that can diagnose depression or anxiety. Instead, your doctor will likely conduct a physical exam and a depression or anxiety screening test. For this, theyll ask you a series of questions that help them get a better insight into what youve been experiencing.
If the results arent clear or if your doctor suspects the symptoms may be the result of another condition, they may order tests to rule out underlying issues. Blood tests can check your thyroid, vitamin, and hormone levels.
In some cases, general practitioners will refer you to a mental health expert, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, if they dont feel equipped to properly manage your symptoms and conditions or if they suspect youre experiencing more than one condition.
Although depression and anxiety are two separate conditions, they share many of the same treatments. A combination of these may be used to treat both conditions at the same time.
Try To Identify Your Triggers
Use this time of relative calm before the storm to try to understand what’s setting off your depression. While depression can have organic patterns and dips, the reality is that there are usually also significant environmental factors that trigger depressive episodes, from stress to bad sleep patterns to illness to family arguments. You don’t have to go all girl detective on it if you don’t feel like it. Just write down what’s been happening recently, with a clear head. It’ll make it easier to challenge your negative thinking patterns later if you can detect exactly what patterns you’re experiencing. And don’t worry: You got this.
Images: Patryk Sobczak/Flickr, Giphy .
Recommended Reading: How You Know You Have Depression
Managing Depression: Hacks And Hints For Difficult Days
When depression strikes, even the simplest of tasks can feel challenging. Activities we usually take for granted washing, dressing, facing the day become obstacles to overcome.
Experience has shown us that although our difficult days may be unavoidable, there are some practical things we can do to help ease us through.
Consider What Your Anxiety Is Telling You
Feeling anxious isnt always a bad thing. In fact, anxious thoughts could be your bodys way of giving you valuable information. The next time you feel worry, fear, stress, or overwhelming thoughts of dread, stop, and take a deep breath. Instead of defaulting to this is my anxiety talking, reframe how you view the situation and ask yourself if your body is trying to tell you something. Do you need to slow down? Maybe youre getting sick, and your body is responding with stress. Or maybe, there is a real threat, and you need to take action.
Read Also: Can You Recover From Anxiety And Depression
Suicidal Thoughts: An Emergency
For people who are severely depressed, suicide is a real threat. Each year, about 30,000 people in the U.S. take their own lives, although the true number may be higher. Some suicides go unrecognized because they’re classified as accidents, drug overdoses, or shootings. Among people whose depression remains untreated, up to 15% will kill themselves.
What are the warning signs of suicide? According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, they include:
- Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill yourself
- Looking for a way to kill yourself, such as searching online for methods or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
What Are The Different Types Of Depression
You might have heard a number of terms used to describe depression. In this section, we explain what some of these terms mean.
What is clinical depression?
Clinical depression is a common term, but it is not a formal diagnosis. People sometimes say clinical diagnosis to just mean they have been diagnosed by a doctor.
What is a depressive episode?
Your doctor might say that you are going through a ‘depressive episode’. This is the formal name that doctors give depression when they make a diagnosis. They may say that you are going through a ‘mild’, ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’ episode.
What is recurrent depressive disorder?
If you have had repeated episodes of depression, your doctor might say that you have recurrent depressive disorder. They may say that your current episode is ‘mild’, ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’.
What is reactive depression?
If your doctor thinks that your episode of depression was caused by particular stressful events in your life, they may say that it is reactive. For example, divorce, job or money worries. This is sometimes separated from an adjustment disorder, where you may struggle with some symptoms of depression because of adapting to a major change in your life. Such as separation from people, retirement or migrating to a new area.
What is a severe depressive episode with psychotic symptoms?
You can find more information about Psychosis by clicking here.
What is dysthymia?
What is cyclothymia?
What is postnatal depression?
What is manic depression?
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Depression Is The Overcompensating In Relationships And Trying Too Hard You Know Youre Tough To Deal With But There Isnt Anyone You Love More Than Those Who Accept You As Youre Still Trying To Accept Yourself
Its that really scary moment when you open up to someone about what it is you deal with. And that new level of friendship you reach, when they welcome you with open arms and it almost brings you to tears.
Its loving people unbelievably hard because youre still learning to love yourself.
Its looking ahead and looking forward to certain days in your life and really appreciating everything.
And even though you might not say it, as often as you should, its the love you have for everyone in your life which gives you strength.
Depression is becoming addicted to anything that gives you purpose. Whether its being a perfectionist in academics or becoming a workaholic. Its becoming the most involved in a group or organization because you need something to look forward to. Its excelling in sports because it really helps to have that and a team to fall back on.
Its the need to be busy because if youre not youll spend too much time alone and everything will get worse.
But more than that, depression is the person who would do anything to make others happy because someone elses happiness is their own.
Depression is being overly observant because you know what its like to hide things, so you look for it in others.
Its the trust people have in you, knowing they can turn to you without judgment.
Its the excitement you bring to others because even though youre sad, you do love life.
Small Changes Big Impact
Take a close look at the choices and habits you make and consider how they may be contributing to your depressive symptoms. Change isnt easy but if youre willing to try some simple tweaks , you may start feeling better. And when you feel better, youre more likely to be motivated to make more changes in other areas. A small change can be the crack that lets some hope seep in.
Here are some ideas.
Ways Id Describe Depression To A Friend
- Itâs like I have this deep pit of sadness in my stomach that I canât get rid of.
- I watch the world go on, and I continue to go through the motions and plaster a smile on my face, but deep down, Iâm hurting so much.
- It feels like there is a huge weight on my shoulders that I canât shrug off, no matter how hard I try.
Iâd spend each day counting down the hours until I could go home and lie in my bed and watch âFriends.â Iâd watch the same episodes over and over. Those familiar episodes brought me comfort, and I couldnât even think about watching anything new.
I didnât completely disconnect socially or stop making plans with friends the way many people expect people with severe depression to act. I think, in part, itâs because Iâve always been an extrovert.
But while Iâd still show up to social functions or drinks with friends, I wouldnât really be there mentally. Iâd laugh at the appropriate times and nod when needed, but I just couldnât connect.
I thought I was just tired and that it would pass soon.
A Blog Series Guiding Folks Who Are Depressed
I often get letters from individuals who are depressed asking me what they should do. If you go on sites like WebMD, they will tell you that depression is a serious medical condition and that you should consult with your doctor. As such, I will assume you have already heard that piece of advice. Here, I attempt to offer folks something more.
What follows is a 15-part blog series that I have developed to serve as a guide for folks who are feeling depressed or who think they might be and are wondering what to do about it. It is written mostly from a self-help perspective. You do not need to be in therapy . It is probably best suited for folks in the mild-to-moderate range of clinical depression and who have enough mental energy to read and think things through.
It does not try to sell you anything, although it does recommend several books you might consider. It also does not promise you a quick and easy cure. It is a guide that is divided into two broad parts. The first half of the series attempts to help you first understand what depression is, and use that to connect with understanding your situation and who you are as a person. Once we go through the steps of understanding depression and how it fits for what is going on with you, then the second half moves on to explore principles of adaptive living.
These are the guides for doing things differently in the areas:
Recommended Reading: What Depression Medicine Causes Weight Loss
How To Talk To Someone About Depression
Sometimes it is hard to know what to say when speaking to someone about depression. You might fear that if you bring up your worries the person will get angry, feel insulted, or ignore your concerns. You may be unsure what questions to ask or how to be supportive.
If you dont know where to start, the following suggestions may help. But remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice. You dont have to try to fix your friend or family member you just have to be a good listener. Often, the simple act of talking face to face can be an enormous help to someone suffering from depression. Encourage the depressed person to talk about their feelings, and be willing to listen without judgment.
Dont expect a single conversation to be the end of it. Depressed people tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. You may need to express your concern and willingness to listen over and over again. Be gentle, yet persistent.