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Depression and anxiety are different conditions, but they commonly occur together. They also have similar treatments.
Feeling down or having the blues now and then is normal. And everyone feels anxious from time to time — it's a normal response to stressful situations. But severe or ongoing feelings of depression and anxiety can be a sign of an underlying mental health disorder.
Anxiety may occur as a symptom of clinical (major) depression. It's also common to have depression that's triggered by an anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder or separation anxiety disorder. Many people have a diagnosis of both an anxiety disorder and clinical depression.
Symptoms of both conditions usually improve with psychological counseling (psychotherapy), medications, such as antidepressants, or both. Lifestyle changes, such as improving sleep habits, increasing social support, using stress-reduction techniques or getting regular exercise, also may help. If you have either condition, avoid alcohol, smoking and recreational drugs. They can make both conditions worse and interfere with treatment.
Craig N. Sawchuk, Ph.D., L.P.
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