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Anxiety-depression syndrome | What is it?

You (or a loved one) come out of the doctor's office with a diagnosis of anxiety-depressive disorder, but you don't understand what it really is. You don't understand where it comes from, what the symptoms are, and what you can do to help yourself get better. Well, we are here to help you.

Definition of the anxiety-depression syndrome

First of all, it is important to know that the anxiety-depression syndrome is the junction of two disorders that can be diagnosed without each other, namely anxiety and depression. These are two psychological disorders that are differentiated by the emotions and sensations they cause us to experience.

1. Anxiety causes fear. It is an emotional disorder that is characterized by a feeling of insecurity and by a feeling of excessive worry about a specific subject or event. This destabilizes the person's routine and organization to such an extent that, at times, the person becomes unable to move and unable to continue doing what he or she was doing.

Anxiety disorders generate behaviors :

  • Avoidance;

  • Hypercontrol;

  • Procrastination.

It becomes difficult for the sufferer to make decisions and solve problems. The sufferer will become overwhelmed with fear and will start to panic about little things such as deciding what to have for dinner, or deciding which day to do their laundry.

2. Depression causes sadness. Depression is a psychological illness that is characterized by mood disturbances such as :

  • Deep sadness;

  • Loss of pleasure and motivation;

  • Loss of energy;

  • Withdrawal into oneself.

According to Beck's depressive cognitive triad, there are three types of negative thoughts in a person with depression:

  1. Low self-esteem;

  2. Negative thoughts about the world and those around him;

  3. An inability to project oneself into the future.

Anxiety-depression syndrome is a disorder that fundamentally disrupts the normal functioning of the person experiencing it. The person may even come to wonder about who he or she really is and lose his or her bearings.

There are several symptoms to watch out for with these two disorders; here are a few of them.

Symptoms of anxiety disorder

  • Intense and lasting fear

  • Feeling of permanent anxiety

  • Nervousness, irritability and impulsiveness

  • Physical problems (tightness, stomach ache, nausea and dizziness)

  • Trouble falling asleep

  • Eating disorders (increased appetite with snacking or decreased appetite with weight loss)

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Chronic pain

  • Fatigue

Symptoms of depressive disorder

  • Feelings of sadness and loneliness

  • Low self-esteem, dark thoughts, even suicidal thoughts

  • Decreased vitality

  • Loss of pleasure and desire

  • Non-recovery sleep, early awakening

  • Eating disorders (loss of appetite or hyperphagia)

  • Sexual problems

  • Chronic pain

  • Fatigue

Now that we know a little more about anxiety-depressive disorder, how can we cope? If you've already been to the doctor, he or she has probably prescribed antidepressants and a psychologist, which is proven to be the most effective way to deal with anxiety disorders. But, you can also try to change a few things on your own to help you break the vicious cycle of negativity you are caught in.

How can I help myself get better?

  1. Take a break during the day to breathe. Preferably, take time to breathe in some fresh outside air. Try breathing in and out to the count of 8 on each step.

  2. Maintain good social relationships. Call a friend, stop by your parents on your way home from work, take time to have a good talk with your partner, etc. We are all human, we need social contact in life to feel alive. If you think you are not able to, ask your loved ones to call or visit you. Sometimes the first step is hard, but afterwards it will feel good to have had that contact with someone.

  3. Eat well. And enough! We can't say it enough, a healthy diet is the basis of well-being. It is an essential source of energy to keep your body functioning well. So be careful not to eat too much sugar or too much fat.

  4. Avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs. First of all, alcohol is a depressant and it acts on the nervous system of the people who consume it by numbing the brain and slowing down the functioning of the body. So certainly, it is not recommended for someone who is already depressed. As far as drugs and tobacco are concerned, it is more on the anxiogenic side that the damage is done, because the drug excites the person who takes it. Result: More anxiety.

  5. Take the time to rest and sleep well at night. It's a good idea to have a sleep routine with a set time when you get up and go to bed. If it's hard to do, at least trying to get your 8 hours of sleep a day is ideal. And if you are tired during the day, allow yourself to take a nap. You don't want to burn out either! *If possible, try not to look at a screen for 1 hour before going to bed. It helps a lot to fall asleep.

Of course, the first recommendation is to talk to your general practitioner as soon as the symptoms appear, because the longer you wait, the harder it can be to get back to your normal state.

If you feel that you are having difficulty doing the little things in your daily life, that fatigue is setting in, that you don't feel like doing anything anymore and that you judge yourself negatively, these signals should alert you! This is important!

Do not wait to make an appointment with a health professional. He or she will take charge of you and suggest a treatment adapted to your situation, which will allow you to get out of this episode of depression as soon as possible.

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