Understanding Depression and Anxiety

anxiety

Depression and anxiety disorders often go hand-in-hand in that many people can be affected by both of these serious illnesses.

If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from both an anxiety disorder and depression, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms of each condition so that a proper diagnosis and treatment can take place.

What is Depression?

Depression is more serious than general sadness or "the blues." About 24 million men and women are affected with depression each year in the United States. It is a leading cause of disability, costing the U.S. more than $80 billion per year in lost productivity.

Signs and symptoms of depression include the following, which a person needs to experience for longer than two weeks:

  • • Depressed mood, such as feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • • Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyed
  • • Changes in appetite or weight - up or down
  • • Sleep pattern changes - not being able to sleep well or sleeping too much
  • • Feeling agitated
  • • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • • Feeling worthless or excessive guilt
  • • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or troubles making decisions
  • • Suicidal thoughts or intentions

What is Anxiety?

A normal reaction to stress, anxiety is common in every day life. However, when a person experiences anxiety excessively for more than six months, it may be a sign that he or she is suffering from an anxiety disorder such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), general anxiety disorder, social phobia, or another specific phobia. Approximately 40 million Americans each year are affected by anxiety disorders.

Sources: National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Institute of Mental Health

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