Can anxiety lead to depression?
Yeah yeah, we are talking about anxiety and depression once again.
This site does seem to go into these topics a lot.
But why do I choose to deal with “anxiety and depression” rather than just one or the other?
I mean, they are both very broad subjects that you could review in depth, surely there’s enough content in either to make up my entire site?
But there is more to it than that.
You see, my website deals with both anxiety and depression not because of how similar they are (because they aren’t all that similar by themselves) but rather because of how the two groups have a lot in common.
And no, that wasn’t a paradox right there, Let me explain.
If you read my article about the symptoms of anxiety and depression you would have noticed that some of the symptoms are similar, and in case that you didn’t I’m pretty sure I pointed it out there in one point or another.
The symptoms are similar not because the disorders themselves are, but because the causes are.
Stress is key
Think about it for a moment, if I were a high-ranked corporate executive, I would be dealing with a lot of stress, no?
I would always be worried about my job and the possibility of being fired, my working hours would be long and hard, to the point where my job would consume my entire life.
A tad extreme, but my point still stands. I would worry about my job all the time, since I am so high-ranked and was hardwired by my environment into taking my status very, very seriously.
I end up worrying so much that even when I am home, and supposed to be resting, I still end up thinking about my high-end job.
In other words, I’m working all day long, and worrying all night long, which leads me to not resting at all.
So in summary, I become stressed and worried.
Excessive worry leads to anxiety disorders, excessive stress leads to depression (feeling like a failure), worry causes stress (you are worried that you aren’t doing enough, which leads you to want to do more, stressing you along the way) or in short, anxiety leads to depression.
But wait, there’s more
Keep in mind, this is but one scenario.
Depression can also lead to anxiety, and one can exist without the other, yet it is very common for both to affect a person at the same time.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (Yes, anxiety and depression) nearly half of the people who suffer from depression exhibit symptoms for at least one anxiety disorder
“It’s not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa. Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.”
Alright, so we have established that anxiety and depression go well together, metaphorically, and that one can lead to the other.
Now let us break down symptoms and causes of anxiety and depression and show how exactly they are related.
Here are a few examples to get the point across:
- Social anxiety and depression – Alright, so people who suffer from depression tend to avoid other people, just like the victims of the social anxiety disorder.
The cause for social anxiety has a lot to do with you, simply put, being scared of social situations.
More than scared really, but rather downright phobic.
So you tend to avoid them to the best of your ability, which leaves you alone for the most part.
Thing is, loneliness isn’t good for your brain. In fact, it is actually a cause for depression.
To put it simply, you avoid people because of your social anxiety, something which leads you to being depressed.
- Eating disorders, anxiety and depression – One of the causes for you to not eating is when your brain drops into its “fight, flight or freeze” instincts.
This survival system is meant to be activated whenever you brain perceives itself as being in danger.
It makes sense as a survival mechanism if you really think about it – if you are in a dangerous, high-risk situation the last thing you need right now is to get signals from the brain that you are hungry.
Thing is, anxiety activates that system inside your brain through two almond-shaped parts of your brain called the amygdala, or amygdalae, plural.
When you have an anxiety disorder, this mechanism is turned on far more than it should be, and that leads over time to your body simply “getting used to” lower amounts of food, which leads you to consume fewer nutrients.
An unbalanced diet leads to fatigue, and fatigue leads to stress and depression.
It may seem too long a chain, to the point of being speculative, but it really isn’t – eating disorders are some of the symptoms of both anxiety and depression for a reason.
- Lower self-esteem and faith in yourself – When you are stressed and anxious because of something, anything, you set your mind to deal with it.
If your work makes you stressed you work harder, if your relationship makes you anxious you desperately try and make it better (mostly in the form of pleasing your partner) and so on.Thing is, most of these attempts are doomed to fail from the start.
You aren’t in top shape when you are stressed and anxious and you are basically just taking random swings, doing your best in a rather unhinged matter.
In our examples, you work too much without getting any results (because you aren’t resting properly) or do some pretty ridiculous things to impress and please your partner, which makes you seem needy (a quality which is never attractive on anyone).
In short, you fail, and you were doomed to fail from the start based on your circumstances and mindset, yet you only see yourself as a failure, your seeming inability to achieve your goals puts you down and lowers your confidence.
That leads you to stop trying in the first place, since there is “no point”, believing that you are simply destined to fail.
- Guilt and shame – this one actually is a result of your lower self-esteem we discussed earlier.
You believe that you can do no good, and as such you are not only stopping yourself from trying anything, but you also end up feeling guilty because you “think” that you aren’t doing enough even over things that have nothing to do with you.Don’t get it? Alright, let me break this down for you: Once upon a time, I went to my doctor (true story) to get some results for my blood tests, the doctor gave a short look and determined that I lack B12.
I felt guilty over that and my diet by extension.
When some people asked me about my results I lied to them and said that everything was fine. Not because I am a liar, but that “failure” to get good results on my blood test made me feel ashamed of myself.
Pretty irrational, really.
Here’s the thing though, guilt and shame are leading causes for suicide, and both are symptoms of depression, which, in severe cases, can also lead to suicide attempts.
Some of you may have noticed an issue here – having the same causes isn’t enough of a justification, at least on a logical basis, to have the same solutions.
The fact is, the solutions for both problems are the same!
Now, as some of you may know, it’s my firm belief that the only way of dealing with problems is to find their sources and eliminate them.
If anxiety leads to depression you need to treat your anxiety and vice versa.
In the context of my earlier example with an executive, you could go and meditate to calm your mind and shut down your anxiety, the result of which will lead you to not being depressed.
You could also take a vacation or, better yet, quit your job.
If it causes you that much stress then no amount of money is worth it since you are essentially trading your health for cash.
you will notice the difference in your health when you are older and you will curse your days of “success”.
Then again, you might not, it really breaks down based on the individual.
So to answer the question in the title, “Can anxiety lead to depression”, I would have to say that not only it can, but it’s also very likely for it to do so.
Luckily for you, I got just the solution you are looking for
So while to reconsider the meaning of life and what not, here’s a quick question for you: “Have you ever suffered from both anxiety and depression? Why? Were the two related in your case?”
More than one question really, but I have faith in you. Do me a solid and make sure to post your answers in the comment section below – I read every single one of them!
If you want to talk privately I would love to hear you out, feel free to send me an email and I will answer you as soon as I can and to the best of my ability.
My email: [email protected]