Focus On: Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are similar mood disorders that can significantly impact quality of life at work and home.
Although it’s normal to feel depressed or anxious at times, when people experience these emotions regularly – and often for no apparent reason – it may be the sign of a serious mood disorder.
However, there is significant confusion surrounding depression and anxiety, given that people who experience one may also experience the other. In addition, while they are different disorders, they have similar treatments. As a result, it can be difficult for many people to distinguish between the two conditions or even understand which one they have. What is clear is that both depression and anxiety can significantly impact quality of life at work and at home.
There are many types of depression, but in general, people with depression may experience some or all of the following:
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Lack of interest in previous activities
- Trouble sleeping
- Low energy levels
- Aches and pains with no explained cause
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Issues with concentration and memory
- Feeling overwhelmed by daily tasks
- Thoughts of death and suicide
People who have an anxiety disorder experience an ongoing state of “fight or flight,” and may experience some or all of the following:
- Exaggerated and unrealistic worry, doubt, panic or fear about future events
- Excessive concern about health, family, work or money
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sudden panic or anxiety attacks
- Physical symptoms such as fatigue restlessness, breathing issues, dizziness, irregular heartbeat and muscle tension
When depression and anxiety combine
People who have both depression and anxiety face added challenges. This includes the potential for having more severe symptoms when compared to somebody who has depression or anxiety alone. In addition, those who have both conditions may be at a higher risk for suicide.
Causes of depression and anxiety
Both depression and anxiety have been shown to be disorders of the brain, but the precise causes are unknown, and this remains an active area of research. As with other complex diseases such as heart disease, it’s likely that there is no one cause for each condition, which may result from a combination of genetic, cognitive, behavioral, developmental and other factors.
Treatment for depression and anxiety
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, you should see your physician for a consultation. Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants or other medications, or refer you to a therapist. In addition, trained ENHANCE counselors are available to speak to you.