There is a fine line between anxiety and depression. A line that is often times blurred. Although there are differences between the two, they also share many similarities, which can lead to false diagnoses for patients. It only gets more complicated when both illnesses are present. For example, The National Institute of Mental Health (2009) did a study of anxiety disorders and found that 53.7% of people reported they also experienced major depression as a secondary condition. These researchers also stated that people who are severely depressed do become anxious. In order to have a better understanding of anxiety and depression one must first clearly define the two conditions, understand the causes, look at the symptoms involved, and review the different treatment options available.
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. Every person experiences some form of anxiety in his or her lifetime. Anxiety helps us deal with tense situations like using our flight or fight reaction, study harder for an exam, or keep focus on important deadlines. Anxiety can be useful until it gets to the point of interfering with everyday life. Some people explain it as not being able to shut the anxiety off. When anxiety becomes an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it becomes a disabling disorder (National Institute of Mental Health, 2009). Each year, anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (National Institute of Mental Health, 2009). There are five major Anxiety Disorders they include Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Phobias.
Like anxiety, depression can come in many forms but unlike anxiety, it is not normal to suffer from depression. Depression is also not useful like anxiety can be. There are times when every person feels down or sad but these symptoms should go away after a few days. If these symptoms persist and interfere with your life, you may be suffering from depression. Depression is a serious medical illness that involves the brain. It is estimated that more than 20 million people in the United States suffer from depression (Cassano, Fava, 2002). The different forms of depression include Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, Minor Depression, Psychotic Depression, Postpartum Depression, and Seasonal Affective Disorder.
It is hard to target the cause of anxiety. Many different factors can contribute to an anxiety disorder. One main theory is major life stressors. Things that are included in major life stressors are grief, financial difficulties, relationship difficulties, or a major trauma. Some examples of major trauma include witnessing a violent crime, major illness, childhood trauma, or abuse, and encountering a major environmental disaster. Anxiety can also be cause by good stressors. Some examples of good stressors include planning a wedding, getting married, having a baby, and...