Experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression can feel totally crippling, exhausting, and frustrating. More than half of those with anxiety will also experience symptoms of depression, with an estimated comorbid incidence of 60 percent. Understanding the complicated relationship between both disorders and how anxiety can even cause depression can help those with symptoms of both disorders find appropriate treatment and relief.
The Relationship Between Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression can both be incredibly debilitating to experience, especially simultaneously. These disorders have some similar, overlapping symptoms, including trouble focusing and difficulty sleeping.
Symptoms of Anxiety-Induced Depression
Additionally, someone already experiencing anxiety may also feel symptoms of depression when the individual feels triggered by a difficult situation. Some of the symptoms may include the following:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, or angry
- Changes in appetite and sleep
- Little or no pleasure from activities that used to make you feel happy (anhedonia)
- Lack of energy
- Suicidal thoughts
- Slowed thought process and movements
Specific Types of Anxiety Related to Depression
There are certain anxiety disorders that can directly or indirectly trigger depression due to their symptoms. If you have one of these disorders, you may notice depression caused by the disorder:
- Panic Disorder: Someone experiences so many panic attacks that they now have difficulty focusing and feel hopeless, out of control, withdrawn, sad, and/or angry.
- Social anxiety: Someone with social anxiety is terrified about being in public and may become isolated and withdrawn, leading him or her to feel sad and worthless.
- Chronic phobias: Someone with a chronic phobia like agoraphobia avoids being in certain public situations and may become afraid to leave the house, lose his or her job, and eventually experience feelings of helplessness, sadness, and irritability. This may even lead to suicidal thoughts.
How Anxiety Can Cause Depression
Because anxiety and depression share many overlapping symptoms, it is not surprising that anxiety can induce full blown depression. Anxiety can lead to depression in several ways.
Anxiety can cause obsessive thoughts and agitation which can lead to social isolation, withdrawal, and eventually other symptoms of depression. These may include feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, sadness, and possibly suicidal thoughts.
Similar Neurological Pathways
Individuals who are living with chronic pain are at an even higher risk for experiencing symptoms of anxiety-induced depression. Research notes that anxiety, depression, and physical pain all share similar neurological pathways, which means symptoms of anxiety and chronic pain can intensify the symptoms of depression.
Feelings of Hopelessness About Anxiety Symptoms
Experiencing chronic symptoms of anxiety can be debilitating and cause someone to feel helpless, out of options, and frustrated. You may feel like something is wrong with you and not know how to cope or change your thought process. This can lead symptoms of depression, such as feelings of sadness, agitation, anhedonia, and sleep issues.
Anhedonia Caused by Anxiety
Anxiety can lead to avoiding activities, places, and people that used to make you feel happy, content, and worthwhile. This is otherwise known as anhedonia. Anhedonia can cause depression to set in as your anxiety blocks you from being able to participate in the activities that you used to enjoy.
Anxiety can cause racing thoughts that interfere with your ability to get a restorative sleep. Sleep deprivation is linked to intensifying depression as lack of sleep decreases physical activity and increases agitation and irritability.
If you or a loved one is interested in seeking treatment, there are a ton of different methods at varying price ranges that may work for you. Based on the severity of the symptoms, you may want to consider one of the following:
- Individual therapy at least once a week, but with the option of several times a week or as needed
- Combined treatment of talk therapy and medication
- Intensive inpatient rehab for depression
- Support groups
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing treatment for those who have experienced a previous trauma
Understanding Anxiety and Depression
Keep in mind that feeling high bouts of intense anxiety for long enough can easily lead to symptoms of depression. Being mindful of the symptoms of anxiety and depression can better assist you or a loved one in finding appropriate treatment. Know that you are not alone, and a variety of symptom relieving treatment methods are available.