Anxiety and depression are fast friends. We know that all too well, don’t we? And that statement brings some questions to mind (literally).

When we consider the dynamics of anxiety and depression, can presentations along the depression spectrum be generated by anxiety? Can anxiety be triggered by situational or chronic depression? Since anxiety and depression share much of the same neurochemistry, can they actually present independently of each other?

Now, it makes perfect sense to me that most any presentation of anxiety could trigger some degree of depression. What would it matter if the primary issue is panic attacks, phobias, obsessions, compulsions, agoraphobia, derealization, depersonalization, or trauma flashbacks? I mean, these phenomena are all emotionally overbearing.

And I don’t think we have to be mini-Siggies to know episodes of depression can generate anxiety. If we examine the psychological contributors to anxiety, we know it’s generated as an alarm response to a perceived danger. So whether we’re experiencing a major depressive episode or a bout with dysthymia within the psyche depression can very easily equate to danger.

Finally, the coexistence of anxiety and depression may well be grounded in the dynamics of the neurotransmitters, serotonin and norepinephrine. As discussed in a previous post, these two influence each other through what’s known as a feedback loop. If an individual’s brain can’t maintain sufficient levels of serotonin, and norepinephrine can’t stimulate a boost, the presence of serotonin plummets; the result of which is thought to be symptoms of anxiety and depression.

So a coexistence of anxiety and depression may not have anything to do with one egging-on the other.

Is it a coincidence that, with the exception of the benzodiazepines, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed meds for the anxiety disorders? And what about the selective serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs)? These are antipdepressants.

As a counselor, I can tell you the typical presentation of disruptive anxiety is accompanied by some degree of depression. And many depressive presentations include an anxiety sidebar.

So what’s the point? A couple of things, actually.
We, at all times, have to be as well versed on our anxiety pathology as possible. Familiarity is everything. It’s important to understand depression is a frequent companion of anxiety because if we’re aware of the relationship, we’re less alarmed when the dynamic duo presents. Finally, the relief strategies and techniques for one often provide relief for the other.

I’ll be including much more about depression, elevated mood as well, as we move forward. The interaction of anxiety and mood is too obvious to ignore.

Are you an anxiety sufferer feeling depressed? Are you a depression sufferer feeling anxious? What next steps can you take to better understand and remedy your circumstances?

Author's Bio: 

After a winning bout with panic disorder, a career in the business world, and a part-time job working with socially challenged adolescents, Bill found his life's passion and work. So he earned his master's degree and counseling credentials, and is doing all he can to lend a hand to those having a tough time.

Bill has some powerful mentoring and service packages available on his website, which include his panic attack education and recovery eWorkbook, "Panic! ...and Poetic Justice." The eWorkbook is ready for immediate download. You'll also find a link on the website to Bill's "Panic Attack Freedom!" blog. Lots of good stuff going on and much more to come.

In addition to doing psychiatric emergency work, Bill continues to do a lot of writing and speaking. He's conducted numerous mental health workshops for non-profit organizations and remains available to present more. Bill is a national and local member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (N.A.M.I.).