Did you know that depression affects one in six adults in their lifetime? Oftentimes this depression is accompanied by significant anxiety. I had a therapist who told me depression and anxiety could not exist at the same time because anxiety is a ramping up of the brain and depression is a ramping down. I practically ran out of his office. When I went through depression, I was also very anxious and needed medication for both conditions. And many of the depressed people I talk to have that same combination of depression and anxiety.
Which one comes first? A person who is severely anxious can be
driven to depression, and a person who is severely depressed can be driven to anxiety. Oftentimes it is difficult to determine which one came first – often they come hand in hand.
A study from Harvard found that among people with depression, nearly two-thirds also had generalized anxiety disorder. The rates of co-occurring related anxiety disorders — social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, specific phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder — in depressed people were also all greater than 40 percent.
Having an anxiety disorder at the same time as depression can make it harder to find a treatment that works, according to guidelines from the American Psychiatric Association, but not impossible. There are antidepressants that also have an anti-anxiety property to them, and there are anti-anxiety medications that also have an antidepressant property to them. Even though I am familiar with these various medications, I am not a psychiatrist and so will not give information that a medical doctor is more suited to give.
Medication is for the healing of the body, but what about the healing of the soul? Psychotherapy can be effective for both depression and anxiety. Many studies show that the combination of medication and psychotherapy is a combination that is more effective than either of these alone.
That’s often where the medical field ends. But we know that the third component of healing is as important as the other two, and that is spiritual healing.