Understanding Anxiety and Depression

feeling depressed

Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems, and they are on the rise. They are a modern plague in the context of mental health. Today, anxiety and depression are increasingly being regarded as overlapping entities rather than separate entities. It is not uncommon to have both of these conditions at the same time.


About half of the individuals diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. These mental conditions are crippling and can have profound negative effects on you and everyone around you. The good news is they are manageable and can be treated together and separately.


What Are Anxiety and Depression?


Anxiety is a normal stress reaction and an essential part of life. It helps you get out of harm’s way or warns you when you need to act. However, you can experience persistent, irrational, overwhelming and seemingly uncontrollable anxiety. When this type of anxiety interferes with your daily life, you may have an anxiety disorder.


The most popular anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety disorder. The symptoms of anxiety can include palpitations, rapid breathing, fatigue, difficulty with concentration, irritability, muscular tension, cold sweating, dry mouth, nausea and horror sensations.


Depression, on the other hand, is characterized by feelings of being hopeless, sad, discouraged and unmotivated. When these feelings last more than a period of two weeks and affect your daily life, you may have clinical depression or a depressive disorder.


Just as with anxiety, there are several classifications of depressive disorders. These include major depression, bipolar disorder, and dysthymia. Depression often causes an absence of pleasure in activities, loss of weight and appetite, negative feelings towards self, sleep alterations, mental limitations and suicidal feelings.


Treatment Options for Anxiety and Depression


Depression and anxiety are highly treatable. As such, seeking professional help is very important. Different classifications of the disorder have different treatments. This can include physical activities and diet changes to prevent and treat mild depression and anxiety, through to medical and psychological treatments for more severe cases.


  1. Pharmacological Treatment


The clinical treatment of anxiety and depression is carried out in a dual methodology: pharmacological and psychotherapeutic. In most cases, drug treatment is appropriate and prescribed by the family doctor or a psychiatrist. At the same time, psychological intervention is followed. This equips the affected to overcome the condition and avoid relapse.


Antidepressants are an effective source of relief for the psychological pain and suicidal tendencies so often experienced by depressive individuals. Drugs used for depression act upon the brain’s chemistry in order to balance the activity of the brain’s neurotransmitters.


However, the drugs soothe the extremely unpleasant symptoms of depression and anxiety, but they do not cure the illness. The removal of stressors, change of attitude and behavior by means of psychotherapy can address the root causes to the point of making medication unnecessary.


  1. Psychotherapeutic Treatment


Over the past few decades, psychotherapy has gained considerable ground as a primary treatment option for mood disorders including anxiety and depression. Psychotherapy refers to the use of methods based on regular personal interaction to help in overcoming the problem or changing behavior.

In the case of anxiety and depression, psychotherapy seeks to enable the affected recognize the feelings and emotional triggers that cause them to feel anxious or depressed. This empowers them to cope with the disorders constructively. There are numerous types of psychotherapy techniques.


The most commonly employed therapies include behavioral therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy, interpersonal therapy, psychodynamic therapy, family therapy and group therapy. Most psychotherapeutic techniques used to treat depression and anxiety usually involve one-on-one sessions lasting less than a year.


  1. Holistic/Dietary Treatment


Nearly all types of anxiety or depressive disorders benefit significantly from lifestyle changes. These changes offer natural relief from many stressors that can lead to these mood disorders. Engaging in regular physical activities has been shown to improve mood through the release of endorphins. It can also provide you will mental energy to ward off anxiety attacks.


Diet also plays a role in treating the side effects of mood disorders. Herbal and diet remedies including St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Lavender and Kava Kava are known to soothe anxiety and mild depression symptoms. Carnitine is one of the food supplements with a growing body of evidence supporting its effectiveness in treating mood disorders.


Carnitine is a component of several compounds including L-Carnitine, propionyl-L-carnitine, and acetyl-L-carnitine. Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is the modified form of L-Carnitine, an amino acid that is crucial for cell function. ALC is the compound that offers distinct mood health benefits. This compound improves cell energy production in certain areas of the brain and increases the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.


Animal studies have also indicated that ALC inhibits the effects of the body’s stress response system. This results in reduced cortisol levels (stress hormone) and improved moods. In a study of elderly patients, ALC demonstrated an improvement in supporting mental outlook. Also, Carnitine has many other health benefits to offer. These include proper skin health, heightened metabolism for fat loss and cognitive improvement.


Support is an essential part of the complete recovery process for the individuals with depression or an anxiety disorder. It is, therefore, necessary to attain a happy family, surrounded by good friends, and have a good professional environment, as all these are preventative measures against mood disorders.

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