Anxiety & Depression together
This week we are looking at Anxiety and Depression Together.
Have you ever felt anxious or depressed? In the world of mental health care, where exact diagnosis dictates treatment, anxiety and depression are regarded as two distinct disorders. But in the world of real people, many suffer from both conditions. In fact, most mood disorders present as a combination of anxiety and depression. Surveys show that 60-70% of those with depression also have anxiety. And half of those with chronic anxiety also have clinically significant symptoms of depression.
The coexistence of anxiety and depression-called comorbidity in the psych biz-carries some serious repercussions. It makes the course of disorder more chronic, it impairs functioning at work and in relationships more, and it substantially raises suicide risk.
Over the past couple of years, clinicians and researchers alike have been moving towards a new conclusion: Depression and anxiety are not two disorders that coexist. They are two faces of one disorder. "They're probably two sides of the same coin," says David Barlow, Ph.D., director of the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University. "The genetics seem to be the same. The neurobiology seems to overlap. The psychological and biological nature of the vulnerability are the same. It just seems that some people with the vulnerability react with anxiety to life stressors. And some people, in addition, go beyond that to become depressed."
They close down. "Depression seems to be a shutdown," explains Barlow. "Anxiety is a kind of looking to the future, seeing dangerous things that might happen in the next hour, day or weeks. Depression is all that with the addition of 'I really don't think I'm going to be able to cope with this, maybe I'll just give up.' It's shutdown marked by mental, cognitive or behavioral slowing."
Who is at risk for combined anxiety and depression? There's definitely a family component. "Looking at the family history of a person who presents with either primary anxiety or depression provides a clue to whether he or she will end up with both," says Joseph Himle, Ph.D., associate director of the anxiety disorders unit at University of Michigan.
Age plays a role, too. A person who develops an anxiety disorder for the first time after age 40 is likely also to have depression. Currently, the average age of onset of any anxiety disorder is late childhood/early adolescence. Psychologist Michael Yapko, Ph.D., contends that presents a huge opportunity for the prevention of depression, as the average age of first onset is now mid-20s. "A young person is not likely to outgrow anxiety unless treated and taught cognitive skills," he says. "But aggressive treatment of the anxiety when it appears can prevent the subsequent development of depression."
"The shared cornerstone of anxiety and depression is the perceptual process of overestimating the risk in a situation and underestimating personal resources for coping." Those vulnerable see lots of risk in everyday things-applying for a job, asking for a favor, asking for a date.
Further, anxiety and depression share an avoidant coping style. Sufferers avoid what they fear instead of developing the skills to handle the kinds of situations that make them uncomfortable. Often enough a lack of social skills is at the root.
Sometimes anxiety is dispositional, and sometimes it's transmitted to children by parental overconcern. "The largest group of depression/anxiety sufferers is Baby Boomers," says Yapko. "The fastest growing group is their children. They can't teach kids what they don't know. Plus their desire to raise perfect children puts tremendous pressures on the kids. They're creating a bumper crop of anxious/depressed children."
Treatment seldom hinges on which disorder came first. "In many cases," says Ross, "the depression exists because the anxiety is so draining. Once you treat the anxiety, the depression lifts."
To read the full article go to (https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200310/anxiety-and-depression-together)
Article from: Psychology today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/)
Title of article: Anxiety & depression together
By Hara Estroff Marano, published on October 1, 2003 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016
Hilary and the Team.