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relationship between anxiety and depression

Relationship Between Anxiety and Depression

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Everyone throughout their lives experiences some form of both anxiety and depression. Both are relatively common emotions. Although they might be on opposite sides of the emotion spectrum (anxiety being high-energy and depression low-energy), anxiety and depression are much more connected than people may think. As a result, a person with anxiety is much more likely to experience depression and a person suffering from depression is much more likely to experience anxiety. Let’s take a deeper look at the relationship between anxiety and depression.

What Causes Anxiety?

Before we look deeper into the relationship between anxiety and depression, it’s important to understand what can cause each of these mental health disorders. For people that suffer from anxiety disorders, the feelings can creep up on them even when no real threat or danger exists. 

This is completely different from the occasional anxiety that most people might experience during a given day. That type of anxiety is a normal part of life and is typically associated with a specific event. Examples of such specific events include a major project being due, a conflict in a relationship, or an issue at work. This occasional anxiety will pop up and then after the cause of it is over, it will disappear. 

With an anxiety disorder, those anxious feelings will pop up for no reason and sometimes can linger for days and even weeks. In some cases, it can even get so bad that it can directly interfere with the ability to perform even basic, everyday functions. 

What Causes Depression?

Studies have shown that depression is mostly caused by a combination of biological, psychological, environmental, and even genetic factors. While depression can begin at any age, it typically starts in adulthood. 

As with anxiety, occasional depression can pop up based on specific events that may have occurred.  Examples of such events include being passed up for a job or even a death in the family. That kind of depression will slowly fade away on its own over time as the person gets over the event and moves on though. 

Clinical depression though is something that is present for extended periods of time. Clinical depression even lasts for weeks or even months at a time. This type of depression typically presents itself with feelings such as despair, anger, and hopelessness. It can also lead to or intensify feelings of anxiety, causing the person to feel overwhelmed at times.

How Are Anxiety and Depression Connected?

As we mentioned earlier, anxiety and depression are found on opposite ends of the spectrum. Anxiety is considered a high-energy state while depression is considered a low-energy state. That being said, there is a significant relationship between anxiety and depression. Thus, these two mental health disorders often co-occur. 

People who suffer from an anxiety disorder tend to begin to worry because of the feelings brought on by the anxiety. They might begin to worry or think something is wrong which can then lead to feelings of depression. 

In fact, the relationship between anxiety and depression is quite strong. Thus, the chances of developing severe or clinical depression are significantly higher in people who already suffer from anxiety disorders. As a result, nearly half of all people who suffer from major depression also have an anxiety issue as well. 

Additionally, many people find themselves suffering from depression as a result of their untreated anxiety disorders. That’s just one of the many reasons why people suffering from anxiety disorders should talk to someone and work to get treated right away. Leaving one’s mental illnesses untreated can lead to more mental health issues. 

What Are Some Signs That I Might Be Suffering From Depression and Anxiety?

To best treat your anxiety and/or depression so it doesn’t continue to get worse and lead to bigger problems, it’s important to know some of the signs of depression and anxiety. Some signs of depression and/or anxiety include:

  • An inability to relax and be in the moment
  • Panic attacks
  • Feeling like you have lost all control internally 
  • Irrational worries or fears that linger
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
  • Constantly feeling tired or cranky
  • Having trouble remembering things or concentrating
  • Struggling to make decisions

In addition, those suffering from depression and anxiety might begin to experience some physical symptoms as well. These include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Labored breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rapid heartbeat

If you experience any of these mental or physical symptoms, it’s important to reach out to a therapist, doctor, or treatment professional right away.

What Are My Treatment Options?

People suffering from depression and/or anxiety might think there is no hope. Yet, still, there’s good news. The good news is that there are ways that you can get the help that you need in a healthy manner. 

Many people don’t fully understand their anxiety or depression. Some people are just too afraid to admit that they have a problem. 

Oftentimes such people find themselves turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms as a way to self-medicate and try and feel better. While in the short term this might work, long-term it can actually have adverse effects on the brain. 

Thus, it’s important to consider a healthier alternative to treating depression and anxiety. Let’s take a look at some of the more effective treatment methods for depression and anxiety.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy. CBT is often used to treat people with mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. 

During cognitive-behavioral therapy, the therapist helps the patient talk through his or her problems so that he or she can become aware of his or her negative thinking and other issues that may have led the patient to develop depression and anxiety. In doing so, the person that’s suffering from anxiety and/or depression can essentially reprogram his or her brain. 

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical-behavioral therapy is a form of CBT that focuses mostly on changing unhealthy behaviors, teaching healthy coping skills, and improving social interactions. DBT can help a person that’s suffering from depression and anxiety learn how to react to various situations in a more healthy and positive manner. That way that person will not allow his or her anxiety and/or depression to creep in.

 DBT establishes three beliefs. They are that opposites can be brought together to achieve greater results, that change is constant and inevitable, and that everything in life is interconnected.


In some cases, CBT and DBT by themselves aren’t enough. In such cases, certain medications combine with some of these treatments to properly treat the problem. Depending on your situation, your therapist or treatment professional might prescribe an antidepressant or another type of medication to you to go along with your therapies. 

Some medications for anxiety and depression include:

  • Benzos such as Xanax, Valium, or Klonopin
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs such as Zoloft, Prozac, or Lexapro
  • Tricyclics such as Tofranil
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors or MAOIs such as Parnate, Marplan, or Nardil

Before beginning or continuing to take any medications for an extended period of time, it’s important to talk to both your therapist and your primary care doctor. 

Want To Know More About the Relationship Between Anxiety and Depression?

Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand. In fact, people start experiencing depression significantly more often when they let their anxiety go untreated. At Montare Behavioral Health, we understand how important it is to treat mental health conditions. That’s why we offer a variety of treatment methods to help treat all sorts of mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression. 

In addition to some of the more traditional treatment methods mentioned above, we also pride ourselves in offering some more unique holistic and alternative mental health treatments such as:

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health disorders like anxiety and depression and think there is no way out, remember that there are healthy and safe mental health treatment methods available. 

Contact us today to learn more about these treatment methods as well as learn how we can help you enjoy your life again. Things like depression and anxiety should never take over a person’s life to the point where he or she can’t enjoy it.