Depression and Anxiety, the fraternal twins of mood disorders.
The Link between Depression and Anxiety
It is important to understand that depression and anxiety are first and foremost two separate mood disorders. Each disorder has it’s own causes and each present with many different emotional and behavioral symptoms. However, it can be said that the two often go hand in hand. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) almost 50% of individuals diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Particularly, research has shown that people with depression, often experience some parallel symptoms to those of an anxiety disorder, such as problems sleeping and concentrating, nervousness and irritability. Whilst there is a lack of sufficient evidence that one disorder can cause the other and vise versa, research does strongly support that many people suffer from both disorders. Furthermore research has also established that many individuals suffering with depression in later life, have a history of an anxiety disorder in earlier life.
For more information on depression and anxiety, check out our previous Noggin Notes blogs:
- Let’s talk and stand up to ‘Depression’
Individuals who suffer from both depression and anxiety are faced with a tremendous daily challenge in their every day lives. Particularly, clinical practitioners have observed that when depression and anxiety occur together, symptoms for each individual mood disorder become heightened. The severity of these combined symptoms exacerbate the management of the combined disorder, making them harder to treat, therefore the disorder becomes chronic and takes much longer to resolve than they would independently.
The good news is that these disorders are both treatable, separately and combined. The bad news is that due to lack of mental health funding, prevention and awareness, double trouble can go left untreated, leading to a further decline in an individuals mental health.
Suicide and Mental Health
Suicide does not have once certain cause, there are many risk factors, and the link between suicide and mental health disorders is well established. , and the link between suicide and mental health disorder is well established. According to Mark Pollack, MD, ADAA Past President “More than 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable illness such as clinical depression, and often in combination with anxiety or substance use disorders and other treatable mental disorders.” By far, however, the strongest risk factor for suicide remains as a previous suicide attempt.
Every suicide is a preventable tragedy that subsequently affects victims families, friends and community – suicide has long lasting effects on those left behind, including feelings of shock, guilt, shame, blame and stigma. Each year, approximately 800,000 people commit suicide, and in 2015 it was the second global leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds. In addition to this staggering data, there are many more individuals who also attempt to take their own life.
Prevention is key when it comes to reducing suicidal tendencies in those suffering from mental health disorders. Noticing symptoms of depression and/or anxiety, but certainly not limited to, early and finding the right treatment option can help individuals return to living mentally well again. Thus, in turn reducing suicide rates. There are many treatment options available to support those with mental health disorders, particularly one of the most effective ways to promote recovery is medication paired with psychotherapy.
5 actions that YOU can take to help
- Ask: “Are you having suicidal thoughts?” By no means an easy question, but straight to the point. There is no evidence to suggest that asking vulerable individuals increases their suicidal ideation.
- Safe Environment: Create a safe place for someone you believe to be at risk by reducing access disabling lethal factors.
- Listen: Take the time to listen to how the individual is thinking and feeling. Aacknowledging and supporting an individual who has suicidal thoughts can decrease suicidal tendencies.
- Connect: Save the number of your countries support line in your phone so its their when you need it.
- Stay Connected: Follow up and stay in touch with somebody after an incident (suicidal thoughts or attempts). Research shows that deaths from suicide go down when the individual at risk is followed up.
There are many options available to support you when it comes to facing suicidal thoughts or feelings. If you are worried about your thoughts or feelings, it is important to reach out for help. You are not a burden.