How are Depression and Anxiety Linked?

Depression and anxiety are two mental health conditions that affect many teens. Interestingly enough, it’s not uncommon for individuals to be diagnosed with both conditions, and nearly half of those living with depression have also been diagnosed with some form of anxiety. Here are some ways that these two diagnoses are related.

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Similar Roots

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While we don’t know exactly what causes individuals’ varied experiences with anxiety and depression, both are thought to stem from a combination of genetic factors (ie: family history and brain chemistry) and environmental factors (ie: upbringing, severe stress, living conditions).

Similar Symptoms

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Individuals living with anxiety and depression (or both) often have some overlapping symptoms. For example, both experience sleep disturbance, feelings of restlessness, difficulty concentrating, irrational thoughts and sense of self, loss of appetite and low self-esteem.

Similar Stress Response

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Another way that depression and anxiety are linked is in how those diagnosed with these conditions handle stress. Generally speaking, both have a “flight” response to stress. More specifically, individuals living with depression or anxiety tend to feel overwhelmed in stressful situations and either respond through withdrawal or avoidance.

Similar Treatment Options

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A fourth way that depression and anxiety are similar is in the available treatment options. Most often, behavioral therapy helps people living with depression and anxiety develop positive thinking habits and coping strategies. When medication is necessary, antidepressants are often prescribed for both.  With that in mind, if someone exhibits signs or symptoms of either depression or anxiety, it’s important to help them seek assistance from a mental health professional so that they can be diagnosed accurately and given appropriate treatment.

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