Anxiety and depression take a toll on your mental and physical health. They’re different conditions but often occur together. Dr. Rosalyn McFarland of MyNP Professionals in Brown Deer, WI, breaks down the differences between anxiety and depression, how to tell if you have both, and outlines your treatment options.
Understanding anxiety and depression
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health issues. Anxiety affects more than 40 million adults in the United States, while depressive symptoms occur in more than 16 million Americans.
The two conditions differ from each other but often coincide.
An anxiety disorder is characterized by constant feelings of excessive worry or fear about circumstances, events, or personal issues.
While anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress, persistent feelings of worry may be an indication you have an anxiety disorder. People experience symptoms like a racing heart, sweating, and intrusive thoughts that range from mild to life-altering and last for six months or longer.
Generalized anxiety disorder is a common anxiety condition, though multiple types of disorders fall under the anxiety category, including:
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Phobias are also anxiety disorders that involve intense and persistent fear of specific objects, places, situations, or people that produce severe anxiety.
Depression is a disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. While many people feel mild episodes of depression following a traumatic or distressing event, those with a major depressive disorder feel down for two weeks or longer and cannot lift their mood on their own.
Without treatment, depression can lead to thoughts or actions of self-harm and suicide. Many people with anxiety or depression also turn to alcohol and drugs to numb their feelings and help them better cope with ongoing depressive symptoms.
If you suffer from depression, you may also be more likely to experience chronic feelings of anxiety. If you live with anxiety, you can become depressed about your condition’s impact on your quality of life.
Treating anxiety and depression
Based on your symptoms and overall medical history, Dr. McFarland diagnoses which condition you have or whether you’re suffering from both. Whichever it is, each patient’s treatment plan is individualized and may include one or more of the following recommendations:
- Lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise and stress relief techniques
- Dietary changes
- Talk therapy
You must seek medical attention for persistent worry or sadness to prevent worsening your condition and potential self-harm. Contact our team today to schedule a personal consultation.