The Link Between Depression and Other Mental Illnesses
Clinical depression has been linked to other mental illnesses, such as anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, social phobia, and generalized anxiety disorder. Together, these conditions affect millions of Americans.
Fortunately, these disorders are treatable, and those affected can lead normal, productive lives.
When Scott Davis, 38, was suffering from major depression, he confided in his sister-law. “One day I found myself talking to her about all my fears about the depression, and the medication and therapy I was beginning. I was overcome with anxiety about my future, and she said, ‘I’ve been there.’ Those three words lifted all the pain I was feeling.”
Few decisions are as personal as whether to tell a loved one that you are suffering from major depression. “Telling someone about depression isn’t something...
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, but when it takes on a life of its own it becomes an unhealthy, generalized reaction that affects the body and mind. Symptoms can include rapid heartbeat, aches and pains, and muscle tension.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 18% of adults in the United States suffer from an anxiety disorder in any given year, and anxiety disorders are prevalent in 25% of children ages 13-18. Like depression, anxiety is thought to arise from a combination of both genetic and environmental factors.
What Is an Anxiety Disorder?
Although anxiety is not always present in depressive disorders, most of the time it lurks beneath the surface. But true depression differs from an anxiety disorder in that a depressed mood is typically its most obvious symptom, whereas anxiety is the primary sign of an authentic anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders include:
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Panic disorder -- with or without agoraphobia (fear of being in crowds)
Social anxiety disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Anxiety disorders affect women twice as frequently as they do men. And many studies show that people with depression often experience symptoms of an anxiety disorder.
An anxiety disorder that's left untreated can cause unnecessary suffering and impairment for both the person who has one and the person's family.
What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are filled with greatly exaggerated worry and tension -- even though there is usually nothing to worry about. These individuals anticipate disaster and ruminate about their health, their finances, their work, their relationships and family problems.
To make a diagnosis of GAD, excessive worrying and anxiety have to occur more days than not for at least 6 months. The person is unable to control the worry and may have other symptoms including:
This anxiety disorder is not related to substance abuse or a medical condition. It occurs independently.
What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is characterized by continuous, unwanted, and intruding thoughts that the person is unable to control. These thoughts are also accompanied by a pervasive anxiety.
Compulsive disorder refers to repeated, ritualistic behavior that often is purposeless and which the patient is unable to stop. OCD is also accompanied by general anxiety. Obsessive thoughts and compulsive acts may focus around real-life problems the patient is confronting or may take on a bizarre nature.