Hi. It’s Jenny at AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today comes to us from Samantha in Richmond. Can you get depression because of anxiety?
While depressive disorders and anxiety disorders are different, there are also many similarities in the disorders. Many people with anxiety experience symptoms that are similar to depression, including agitation or irritability, restlessness, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, persistent feelings of hopelessness, or being overwhelmed, and the loss of self-worth.
Anxiety and depression often co-occur or they occur together, so it’s common for a person who experiences symptoms of depression to also experience anxiety. Similarly, a person who experiences anxiety often has symptoms of depression. It’s logical that a person who’s feeling anxious and overwhelmed could begin to experience feelings of hopelessness, as well as other symptoms of depression.
When someone experiences prolonged periods of anxiety, there are actually many changes. Emotionally, the person will begin to experience heightened levels of racing thoughts, lack of control, and being overwhelmed, even with daily tasks. There are also physical changes that actually occur in the brain. These changes are at a neurochemical level. Both anxiety and depressive disorders occur when there is an imbalance in the brain’s neurochemical levels of serotonin. Serotonin is the neurochemical that helps us to feel good. It helps to keep our mood stable or balanced, so that there aren’t many extreme lows or highs. Now there are specific anti-depressant medications that target both symptoms of anxiety and depression. Medications such as Zoloft, Celexa or Paxil are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs.
If you’d like to compare your anxiety against others, you can take a quick anxiety test at AnxietyBoss.com. It will give you a basic idea of where you are and if you need to visit a professional or not.