Understanding Depression and Anxiety

Posted at 3:38 PM on Dec 7, 2021


Depression and anxiety are among the most common mental health disorders in the world. They are often diagnosed together – meaning, it is common to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder simultaneously or at different points in your life. While commonly occurring together, the exact cause of both is unknown. Both can happen to anyone at any age.

Symptoms of Depression

There are 6 different types of depression which include:

  • Major Depression (Common)
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Common)
  • 'Situational' Depression
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Psychotic Depression

Different types of depression can start with different symptoms, so it’s important to never self-diagnose. Talk to your family doctor if you think you may be experiencing depression.

While symptoms may vary, below are some of the common symptoms of depression, note that this is not a comprehensive list and individuals may experience other symptoms.

  • Feeling sad or anxious often or all the time
  • Not wanting to do activities that used to be fun
  • Feeling irritable‚ easily frustrated‚ or restless
  • Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Waking up too early or sleeping too much
  • Eating more or less than usual or having no appetite
  • Experiencing aches, pains, headaches, or stomach problems that do not improve with treatment
  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
  • Feeling tired‚ even after sleeping well
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
  • Thinking about suicide or hurting yourself

Symptoms of Anxiety

There are five main types of anxiety which include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (most common)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Social Phobia

Like depression, the different types of anxiety may produce different symptoms; so it’s important to consult your doctor if you feel like you may be experiencing a form of anxiety.

Depending on the type of anxiety disorder, symptoms will vary. However, below is a list of common symptoms of anxiety.  Like depression, this list is not comprehensive, and individuals may experience other symptoms.

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Having an increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Upset stomach or change in bowel movements
  • Having difficulty controlling worry
  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

Treatment Options

Similar treatment options can be used to treat both depression and anxiety. Options for both include:

  • Therapy with a counselor or therapist
  • Medication
  • Exercise
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Relaxation techniques like mindfulness, meditation, and breath work
  • Improving self-care

Seeking Help

Getting help is key to treating anxiety and depression.  You are not alone.  Your primary care physician can diagnose and help create a treatment plan that will best manage your symptoms and concerns.