Depression and anxiety are common mental health disorders affecting your mood and may interfere with the functioning of your daily activities.

Both conditions can co-exist. It is seen that about 45% of the individuals suffering from one mental health condition fulfill the criteria of two or more disorders. People with either anxiety or depression are prone to have the other condition.

One common link between anxiety and depression is low serotonin levels, a chemical that stabilizes your mood. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Cipralex increase serotonin levels and thus aid in managing these conditions.

Read on to know more about these disorders and how Cipralex can help, and much more. 

What Is Depression and Anxiety?

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by feelings of loss of interest, sadness, or anger that may interfere with your daily activities.

Whereas anxiety is your body’s response to stress. It may cause apprehension or fear about what may happen. It is normal to feel anxious while going for an interview, giving a speech, or on the first day of school. 

However, suppose the feelings of anxiety are intense or last longer than six months, it may interfere with your well-being and functioning of daily activities and cause an anxiety disorder.

Types of Depression

Depression can be classified into the following types based on the severity of symptoms.

Major Depressive Disorder

It is a more severe form of depression and includes persistent feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and worthlessness that do not subside on their own.

You have this condition if you experience five or more of the mentioned symptoms for at least two weeks:

  • Loss of interest in regular activities
  • Sleeping problems, either loss or excess of it
  • Feeling depressed most of the day
  • Significant weight gain or loss
  • Low energy or fatigue for most days
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Recurring thoughts of suicide or death
  • Slowed movement or thinking

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) is a minor but long-term type of depression.

You may have this condition if you have the following symptoms for at least two years:

  • Hopelessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Lack of productivity

This type of depression affects you more than major depressive disorder as it stays for a longer time.

It is important to know that both these depression types can be treated if you stick to your treatment plan.

Types of Anxiety

As mentioned before, it is normal to feel anxious when starting to do something new. While this type of anxiety may seem unpleasant, it helps you to perform better. This type of anxiety comes and goes but does not affect the quality of your life.

On the other hand, with an anxiety disorder, the feeling of fear is intense and constant, which can be debilitating. It may cause you to stop indulging in activities you love. In some cases, it may also prevent you from doing small tasks such as crossing the road, leaving your home, or entering the elevator.

Anxiety Disorders

  • Phobia: Extreme fear of a specific situation, object, or activity.
  • Panic disorder: Recurring panic attacks at unexpected times. An individual with this condition stays in fear of the next episode.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder: Recurring irrational feelings cause you to perform specific behaviors repeatedly. 
  • Separation anxiety disorder: Fear of being away from loved ones or home.
  • Social anxiety disorder: Excessive fear of being around people in social situations.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Anxiety after a traumatic event.
  • Illness anxiety disorder: Anxiety about your health.

Causes

The brain chemical serotonin is responsible for how you feel and your mood. It is seen that levels of serotonin are low in people with depression and anxiety.

Depression

Some common causes of depression include:

  • Early childhood trauma
  • Family history
  • Medical diseases such as chronic pain
  • A lesser active frontal lobe of the brain
  • A history of drug abuse
  • A history of mental illness
  • Being self-critical or low self-esteem
  • Stressful events such as economic problems, loss of loved ones, or a divorce 

Anxiety

The exact cause for anxiety is not known, but experts believe that a combination of factors may play a role, such as environmental and genetic factors.

Studies have shown that areas of the brain managing fear may be impacted by anxiety.

Signs and Symptoms

Depression

The symptoms of depression in men, women, and kids can be different:

Men

  • Feeling sad, empty, hopeless
  • Aggressiveness, anxiousness, anger, irritability, and restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities you enjoyed previously
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling tired easily
  • Engaging in high-risk activities
  • Excessive use of drugs or alcohol
  • Loss or excessive sleep
  • Difficulty in concentration and completing tasks
  • Delayed responses during conversation
  • Headache and digestive problems

Women

  • Feeling anxious, empty, or hopeless
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Withdrawing from social engagements
  • Irritability
  • Sleep problems, such as waking early, sleeping too much, or difficulty in getting sleep throughout the night
  • Weight change
  • Fatigue
  • Change in appetite
  • Headaches

Children

  • Crying, mood swings, irritability, anger
  • Intense sadness
  • Despair
  • Avoiding siblings or friends, refusing to go to school
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Decline in school performance, difficulty concentrating, changes in grades
  • Excessive or loss of sleep
  • Digestive problems
  • Change in appetite
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Loss of energy

Anxiety

Symptoms of anxiety are:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep problems

Symptoms of a panic attack are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Worry and apprehension
  • Fear 
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Distress
  • Dry mouth
  • Tingling or numbness in different body parts

How Does Cipralex Help Treat Depression and Anxiety? 

Cipralex belongs to the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). They work by enhancing the brain’s serotonin levels. Cipralex is also classified as antidepressants.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) that stabilizes your mood and promotes the feeling of happiness and well-being. It is thus known as the happy chemical.

When serotonin is reabsorbed by the nerve cells, it cannot influence your mood. SSRIs such as Cipralex inhibit or prevent serotonin from being reabsorbed by the cells. This helps serotonin to stay in the blood, improving its level and prolonging its mood-enhancing effect.

All this aids in relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Use and Dosage

 Cipralex can help in the following conditions:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Major depressive disorders

It may take a few days or weeks before you see any improvement. So, continue taking medicine even if you do not find any relief. 

Dosage

It is advisable to read the printed information leaflet and follow the instructions given. You can also ask your doctor about how to take medicine. In general, the instructions for its use are:

  • Take it exactly the way your doctor tells.
  • It is usually prescribed to be taken orally, once daily, preferably at the same time every day.
  • You can take medicine with or without food
  • The medicine is available in various strengths including, 5, 10, and 20 mg, and your doctor will decide the right dose for you. If you are taking it in the form of drops, your doctor will tell you the number of drops to be taken.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, do not take the missed dose and continue with your next scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose to compensate for the missed dose. 

Other Medical Treatments and Precautions

Apart from anxiety and depression medications, many treatment options are available. While anxiety and depression are different conditions, they share some of the treatment options. Sometimes, a combination of these may be used.

Therapy

There are different types of therapies, each having its unique characteristics. Your doctor may advise the following types based on your problem:

  • Interpersonal therapy: It helps in improving communication strategies that allow you to express yourself better.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This therapy helps you learn to adjust your behaviors, thoughts, and reactions. It may also help you to be more rational.
  • Problem-solving therapy: It focuses on utilizing coping skills to manage symptoms.
  • Light therapy: Exposing yourself to white light can improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. This therapy is mainly used for seasonal affective disorder.

Prevention

Here are some things that can help you prevent an episode of depression or anxiety:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Be regular with your treatment
  • Build strong relationships with others
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Reduce stress

Final Thoughts

Depression and anxiety are common, and it may be possible that they both co-exist. If you have either or both, it is important to know that you do not have to stay with those feelings and symptoms.

If you have the mentioned symptoms for more than a week or two, it is best to consult your doctor. Early treatment is the best way to manage both conditions.

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