Depression and anxiety can occur at the same time in an individual and this is not uncommon. Anxiety can trigger depression, and depression can trigger anxiety. They’re different disorders with different symptoms, and it is important to get treatment for both if they persist beyond one to two weeks.
Anxiety makes a person feel tense and nervous and may cause him or her to worry more than usual. Depression is a feeling of sadness, in varying degrees. It may feel like a shroud that looms over everything, taking the enjoyment out of life.
Sometimes, treating the anxiety allows an underlying depression to surface after the anxiety eases somewhat. Anxiety often masks depression because an individual is not always aware of the depression, which is also not uncommon.
Treatment for Depression and Anxiety
Treatment of both disorders has been very successful over the last three decades with many people who suffer from one or both. Psychotherapy alone may help reduce anxiety and depression if they’re not too severe. If the disorders persist after attempting therapy, medication is an option.
Now there are more choices in medication so that different levels of anxiety and depression can be treated more effectively. Therapy and medication are often used together to relieve a patient’s symptoms as soon as possible, depending on the symptoms and their negative effects.
Sleep disruption is a very common symptom of both anxiety and depression. Changing the routine for getting ready for bed and other habits may help increase the amount and quality of sleep. There should be no, or as few as possible, electronic devices in the bedroom, and it should be dark and quiet. It is good to have a restful bedtime routine so the body knows it is time to sleep and adjusts accordingly.
Going to bed at the same time every night, as often as possible, is part of the bedtime routine, and it’s helpful to get up at the same time every morning. There should be eight or nine hours available to the sleeper for a good rest. The psychological adjustment that the mind makes with this routine should be helpful to someone with sleep problems.
Using illegal or unprescribed drugs may interfere with the healing process and should be discussed with the treating physician. It is quite dangerous to mix these drugs with prescribed drugs.
No substances should be used unless prescribed by a physician who is aware of the patient’s anxiety and/or depression. Prescribed medications must be taken as instructed, too, so that there are no ill effects from the combination of them if more than one medication is given. Any medication problems may interfere with the treatment of anxiety and depression and should be addressed as soon as possible.
Other aspects of treatment for anxiety and depression may include regular exercise and stress-reduction techniques. These two practices can go a long way in helping the body to become more functional and able to rest.
How to get help with your depression or anxiety
Talking with a supportive family member may help reduce these disorders, but a caring professional can provide treatment and empathy with an objective view. Many people get help by talking with their family doctors first. A family physician may offer medication or a referral to a counselor.
Getting better begins by taking the first step and finding out who can help. Local mental health centers can also answer questions or schedule appointments for those who want help. Caring professionals do their best to help people feel better whatever the treatment. If there is any question at all about depression and/or anxiety, ask for help now.