The Common and Complex Link Between Depression and Anxiety

The Leaders in TMS Towson Break Down the Difference Between Depression and Anxiety

Millions of people in the United States suffer from mental health issues like depression and anxiety every year. While everyone has a slightly different way of dealing with their mental health issues, one thing remains certain; this often invisible diagnosis required treatment and attention.

The disorders become even more complex when they are comorbid with another disorder, leading healthcare providers down a difficult path of diagnosis and treatment. As the leaders in TMS Towson, we know how complex it can be to manage a diagnosis of both anxiety and depression, which is why we’re here to break down the link between the two and the treatment options. 

What’s the Difference Between Anxiety and Depression?

The Leaders in TMS Towson Explain Two Common Disorders


While everyone is somewhat familiar with depression and anxiety, many people are unfamiliar with the nuances that separate these common disorders. The leaders in TMS Towson suggest that this stems from the common comorbidity of the issues — since they are frequently diagnosed together, it can be difficult to differentiate which symptoms are part of which disorder.

Some common symptoms of depression include low mood, separation from enjoyable activities, change in appetite, difficulty sleeping, lethargy, decreased energy, trouble concentrating, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Anxiety, on the other hand, often includes symptoms of restlessness, excessive worry, sleep disturbances, fatigue, muscle tension, irritability, and difficultly concentrating. 

While both disorders exhibit symptoms of trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, and the potential for irritability, the major difference between the disorder exists in the manifestation of these symptoms. It comes down the anxiety bringing the arousal of the senses and a sense of worry. However, depression lowers mood, making people seem more sad, sluggish, and disconnected. This dichotomy, as we’ll touch on in a moment, is the exact reason that depression and anxiety create puzzling comorbidity.

Why do Depression and Anxiety Occur Together?

Diving into the Comorbidity of Two Common Mental Health Disorders

Depression and Aniety

Depending on the source, research suggests that anywhere from 60-70% of people with depression also experience anxiety — with similar numbers for the inverse. Depression and anxiety aren’t the only disorders that are frequently comorbid, though. Up to 93% of Medicare dollars are spent on patients with four or more comorbid disorders.

While comorbidity is widely accepted and generally understood, the reason that depression and anxiety are so interconnected isn’t fully understood. Both anxiety and depression share similar causes, including:

  • genetics
  • stress
  • brain chemistry
  • medical conditions
  • Trauma

These events are all proven to lead to physiological changes in the brain. Some theories suggest that the two conditions occur together because they have similar biological mechanisms in the brain, and therefore show up together. Others suggest that the overlap in symptoms leads to misdiagnosis of the disorders.

However, we do know that these conditions often present themselves simultaneously based on external stressors like trauma, change in seasons, and high-stress environments. Because of this, they are often treated together using a number of different approaches.

How do the Leaders in TMS Towson Treat Depression & Anxiety?

Tackling Depression and Anxiety with Proper Treatment

Treating Depression and Anxiety

While the leaders in TMS Towson are aware that there are a number of proven treatments of mental illnesses, comorbid illnesses are less-frequently researched (for the time being). When the disorders are essentially working together, it can be difficult to pinpoint which symptoms are related to which disorder, making it difficult to treat them as individual and separate entities.

Professionals will often begin treatment by targeting whichever disorder is identified as more severe or pressing. In this case, this is often depression because of the lingering risk of suicide. However, sometimes severe anxiety will be treated first if it inhibits daily routines and activities. Once treatment efficacy is assessed, psychiatrists and practitioners will assess whether or not the comorbid condition is being treated, and may prescribe an additional medication, treatment, or therapy. In addition to choosing antidepressants, some providers may suggest TMS Therapy as a solution for people with treatment-resistant depression or for people who experience severe side effects from medication.

Think it’s time to check-in on your depression and anxiety? Get in touch with the leaders of TMS Towson at Psych Associates of Maryland today to get started.


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