Can Anxiety and Panic Disorder Cause Depression if Left Untreated?
Mental health problems are infamously complicated. Although psychologists have a successful guidebook to identify and diagnose mental illness, those manuals are merely suggestions for treatment — and can’t predict exactly how you experience your psychological and emotional well-being. With that in mind, some people experience multiple forms of mental health disorders, often in various degrees. If somebody has several mental health conditions, it’s known as “comorbidity,” and anxiety and depression are the two most related diagnoses.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a sense of unease, for instance, worry or concern, which might be mild or severe. Additionally, it is the primary symptom of panic disorder. All of us have feelings of anxiety at some stage in our life. For instance you may feel nervous and worried about taking an exam, having medical testing done, or a job interview. During times such as these, experiencing anxiousness can be perfectly normal. However, many individuals struggle to manage constant worry. Their feelings of anxiety tend to be more frequent and can influence their everyday life.
What Is Depression?
Feeling depressed generally is a typical response to loss, life challenges, or wounded self-esteem. However, when feelings of extreme sadness, which includes hopelessness and worthlessness, continue for a number of days to weeks and keep you from functioning normally, your feelings could be something more than sadness. It could possibly be major depressive disorder.
Anxiety disorder and depression frequently manifest together. They have similar symptoms which can be hard to tell apart. Either can result in frustration, insomnia, not being able to focus, and worry.
Untreated anxiety and panic disorder can raise your potential for more serious conditions. These conditions include depression, drug abuse, and suicide.
Anxiety disorder doesn’t just influence emotional well-being. This common disorder could be intense enough to result in or aggravate headaches, gastrointestinal syndromes, abnormal heart rhythms and sleep disorders.
The link between depression and anxiety is so powerful that some antidepressants are used to address people who don’t have depression and are alternatively living with anxiety disorders. Anxiety coping strategies are often recommended for people with depression, even when the individual doesn’t suffer from anxiety. Other studies have also revealed that the same neurotransmitters might also lead to both anxiety and depression.
Depression can develop due to anxious thoughts. This seems to be particularly true of those with panic disorder, possibly since panic attacks tend to trigger feelings of fear, helplessness, and disaster. Furthermore, those coping with anxiety may not be living the life they had dreamed of and this reinforces feelings of powerlessness or loss which can ultimately lead to depression.
Many people who have anxiety and/or depression assume that treatment for these disorders may not be effective — that if you have previously tried therapy or medication without much relief, then nothing can be done for you. But it is simply not true. It may take time and effort, but don’t stop until you find the right treatment.
Current studies suggest that treatment should start with addressing depression first. A decrease in depressive symptoms often means a reduction of anxiety symptoms as well. Also, some common and efficient prescription drugs for depression hold the added bonus of decreasing anxiety.
To recover, you’ll need to be as relentless, invasive and powerful as the depression and anxiety. You are unique and treatment can be complex, but freedom from depression and anxiety is possible.
Do not let your anxiety and/or depression go untreated.
If you are experiencing chronic and unexplained feelings of anxiousness, fear, or worry, sadness or suicidal thoughts, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately.
Espey, M. (2018). Can Anxiety and Panic Disorder Cause Depression if Left Untreated?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 8, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/can-anxiety-and-panic-disorder-cause-depression-if-left-untreated/