Anxiety is a mental condition characterized by constant worry and debilitating fear. It is an umbrella term for a group of disorders that includes Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. Depression, on the other hand, can create a constant sense of sadness and loss in a person. Despite having different symptoms, depression and anxiety are fruit of the same tree and are often found as co-existing conditions.
When mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety, occur alongside substance use disorders, dual diagnosis treatment in Berkeley, CA is critical to recovery.
What is Depression?
Depression is a common emotion. Everyone, at some point or other, will suffer through events that will lead them to feel temporarily depressed. It is simply part of the human condition. Depression, however, becomes an issue when the melancholy feelings will not go away. A person who is clinically depressed is constantly despondent, awash in a sense of hopelessness and despair.
Signs that a person is depressed include:
- Prolonged sadness
- Phantom aches and pains
- Shortness of temper
- Inability to concentrate
- Loss of interest in social and recreational activities
- Too much or too little sleep
- Change in appetite
There are many possible causes of depression, such as:
- Genetics—Depression often runs in a family and is passed down from a member of a previous generation who also suffered from depression.
- Brain chemistry—A person’s mood is greatly affected by the amount of three major neurotransmitters—serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine—in their brain. A short supply of any of these three can cause problems in emotional balance and lead to depression.
- Hormone imbalances—Inconsistencies in hormones such as thyroxine, triiodothyronine, testosterone or estrogen can also cause depression.
- Biological changes—Depression may result from changes, typically inflammation or shrinkage, in key parts of the brain, such as the thalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus.
What is Anxiety?
The basic characteristics of anxiety are constant and excessive feelings of fear, worry, and nervousness. Like depression, the term anxiety refers to a number of related disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic attacks. More than 40 million people in the United States suffer from panic attacks, making it the most frequently diagnosed mental illness in the country.
Anxiety shares a similar set of symptoms with depression, such as:
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Irritability or edginess
- Inability to concentrate
- Fear and worry
- Increased heart rate
- Shallow breathing
The causes of anxiety also share a certain degree of overlap with depression. Among these are:
- Genetics—Like depression, anxiety can be passed on from a relative from a prior generation who was also afflicted with the disorder.
- Hormonal imbalance—As also happens in depressed individuals, imbalances in testosterone, estrogen, adrenaline, cortisol, and other hormones can lead to anxiety.
- Environment—Continuous proximity to stressful situations, such as a toxic work environment or a troubled home, can trigger the onset of anxiety disorder.
- Withdrawal—Anxiety commonly occurs when a person is attempting to end a drug or alcohol habit. While many will attempt to do this on their own, detox is much safer and more likely to be successful if done under the care of professionals.
Treating Depression and Anxiety
There is no simple cure for depression and anxiety. However, both disorders respond well to a combination of counseling and medication.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in CA has been proven an effective treatment for both depression and anxiety. CBT teaches a person how to change patterns of thinking or behavior that contribute to their difficulties which then results in changing the way they feel.
Medications geared toward depressive disorders are called antidepressants. They work on increasing the amount of the three key neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine) in the brain, both by increasing their production and decreasing their absorption or “uptake” into the neurons. Common antidepressants include Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, and Celexa.
In fact, some medications like Prozac and Celexa, are often prescribed for both depression and anxiety and may be the safer choice for individuals with addictions due to the addictive nature of anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan.
The New Bridge Foundation® in Berkeley, CA, provides treatment for individuals with a primary substance abuse problem who also suffer from depression and anxiety in a beautiful, home-like setting. Our expert staff is caring and compassionate. For more information, call us at 866.772.8491.