Symptoms Of Depression And Anxiety: Can You Have Both?

Reviewed by Aaron Horn, LMFT

Published 12/09/2020

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health concerns that people experience. Statistically speaking, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses that people in the United States face. Roughly 40 million people aged 18 and older experience an anxiety disorder annually, whereas major depressive disorder (MDD) affects approximately 16.1 million individuals aged 18 and older per year. According to the AADA or Anxiety And Depression Association Of America, major depressive disorder is actually the leading cause of disability in the United States. Maybe, you're diagnosed with depression and think that you might also have anxiety or vice versa. Perhaps, you haven't seen a mental health professional for a diagnosis yet, but you are concerned with some of the symptoms you have and think that you could have depression or anxiety. Here, we will talk about the signs of depression and anxiety, what a Mind Diagnostics test can and can't tell you, and how to get support for anxiety and depression symptoms.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

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A major depressive disorder is characterized by persistent feelings of depression or low mood. Here are the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder, also called major depression or MDD:

  • Persistent sadness or low mood
  • Feelings of apathy
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in activities one used to enjoy
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating, with no other cause
  • Excessive crying
  • Low self-esteem or self-worth
  • Emotional numbness
  • Fatigue

The major depressive disorder shows up a little bit different for everyone. You don'tneed to have every single symptom to be diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Instead, when you see a mental health professional for a diagnosis, they will diagnose you based on the current diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders or DSM-V criteria. It is important to talk to your doctor if you experience the symptoms, as depression is a serious mental health condition that can improve with treatment. Major depressive disorder is the most common depressive disorder, so if you struggle with MDD or think you might, you are not alone.

About Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

A persistent depressive disorder is another common type of depression that affects roughly 1.5% of the United States population and 18 or older. Persistent depressive disorder is characterized by low mood or depressive symptoms that last for two years or more. The need for symptoms to last for a longer duration of time is the most remarkable difference that Persistent Depressive Disorder has compared to other depressive disorders. Additionally, Persistent Depressive Disorder symptoms don't have to be as severe as they are in those with MDD. Here are the signs of Persistent Depressive Disorder or PDD:

  • Persistent feelings of depression or low mood
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating, with no other cause
  • Trouble with decision making
  • Anger or irritability
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Feeling worthless or hopeless
  • Low self-esteem or self-worth
  • Abnormalities in one's appetite, with no other cause
  • Fatigue

Persistent depressive disorder or PDD is also referred to as Dysthymia. Again, you don't have to have every symptom to acquire a diagnosis. You will be diagnosed according to the DSM-V criteria if you see a Therapist, counselor, or psychologist for a diagnosis. Rather than extreme or severe depressive symptoms, someone with PDD typically will experience chronic or long-lasting depressive symptoms that are of lower severity, at least to some extent. That doesn't mean that it's not serious however. Living with PDD can be very difficult. The good news is that, like with other forms of depression, treatment options are available.

Depression And Other Mental Health Disorders

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Major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder or dysthymia or not the only forms of depression, nor are they the only mental health disorders that include depressive symptoms. Other mood disorders include depression, depressive symptoms, or notable bouts of depression. For example, people with Bipolar Disorder will experience bouts or periods of depression. The difference is that Bipolar Disorder is characterized by highs and lows called depression, mania, and hypomania (a lower intensity version of mania). Someone with Bipolar Type 2 will experience depression and hypomania, where someone with Bipolar Type 1will experience depression, hypomania, and full-blown mania. Examples of other disorders that include bouts of depression include Seasonal Affective Disorder-SAD and PMDD.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) And Other Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a mental health condition characterized by pervasive, persistent, and excessive worry that interferes with a person's ability to participate in daily activities. It is one of the most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorders. In the United States alone, Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects 6.8 million individuals aged 18 or older. Similar to depression, anxiety disorders can affect people of all ages. Here are the symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

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  • Excessive worry
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Impending feelings of doom
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing, with no other cause
  • Intestinal upset or nausea
  • Feelings of distress
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Hypervigilance
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Panic attacks

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is not the only anxiety disorder. There is also Social Anxiety, Separation Anxiety, Specific Phobias, Selective Mutism, and Agoraphobia. There are also similar conditions, such as OCD and PTSD, which can pair with anxiety and depression. If you have searched for "depression and anxiety symptoms”, "symptoms of depression anxiety," or "anxiety depression symptom," before, you may have noticed that anxiety and depression symptoms tend to overlap. For example, trouble concentrating and fatigue can be present in anxiety disorders and depressive disorders and vice versa.

Can You Have Both?

Now that we've gone over the symptoms of both anxiety and depression, you might be wondering, "what if I have both?" If you're thinking, "is it possible to have both depression and anxiety?“ The answer is yes. In fact, according to the AADA, it is said that almost half of the people who are diagnosed with depression also have an anxiety disorder. Comorbid or co-occurring conditions are extremely common in those with mental health disorders, meaning that many people are diagnosed with more than one condition. The good news is that anxiety and depression are not only common, but they are highly treatable concerns. Whether you have anxiety, depression, or both, you can get the help and support you need.

How Do I Know If I Have Anxiety Or Depression?

The only way to know for sure if you have a mental health condition of any kind, including depression and anxiety, is to reach out to a medical or mental health professional who can diagnose mental disorders. Often, a person's first step to diagnosis is reaching out to their general doctor or a therapist who can diagnose them. Depression and anxiety disorders are both relatively easy to diagnose, and the diagnostic process is non-invasive. Typically, a therapist will ask you questions about your symptoms and determine your diagnosis based on your answers.

Treatment For Anxiety And Depression

CBT or Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is one of the most popular forms of treatment for anxiety and depression and other common mental health disorders. CBT is a non-invasive and effective form of talk therapy that can be tremendously helpful even when provided on a short-term basis. If you believe that you might have depression or anxiety, your next step should be to reach out to a therapist or counselor. If you are looking for a counselor or therapist, you may search for someone in your local area on the web, ask your general doctor for a referral, contact your insurance company to ask what providers are covered near you, or try online therapy. Studies on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy show that it is just as effective when conducted online, which is one of the many reasons that someone might decide to pursue remote therapy or counseling. If the first form of therapy you try doesn't work for you or don't like the first therapist or counselor you see, it is always okay to switch providers or modalities. Different things work for different people, and finding what works for you is worth it.

Take The Test

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Although an online test will never replace professional medical or mental health advice, and cannot be used in place of diagnosis, they can give you insight into what you are going through. The tests on Mind Diagnostics are free and confidential, and taking them might be the first step to getting the help you need.

Take the anxiety test here: https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/anxiety-test

Note that there are also tests on the website created specifically for Panic Disorder, Separation Anxiety, Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia, Separation Anxiety, and Agoraphobia. If you believe that you may have a diagnosable mental health disorder, it's important to reach out to a medical professional, such as a therapist or general doctor, who can evaluate your symptoms on an individual basis.