Do I Have Mixed Anxiety-Depressive Disorder?
Depression disorders can vary in severity, duration and types of symptoms. While anxiety exists as a disorder in its own right, symptoms of depression and anxiety can and do overlap in many cases.
Mixed anxiety-depression disorder exists as a subtype of depression. According to Psychology Today, mixed anxiety-depressive disorder affects an estimated 40 percent of people struggling with major depression.
If you’re experiencing symptoms that resemble both anxiety and depression, you may have a form of mixed anxiety-depressive disorder. As with any condition, certain criteria must be met in order for a diagnosis of mixed anxiety-depressive disorder to apply. Certain risk factors may also make you more susceptible to developing this condition.
Mixed Anxiety-Depressive Disorder
People struggling with symptoms associated with anxiety and depression may be exhibiting symptoms of each disorder in different ways, such as –
- Symptoms of one or the other appear for longer durations
- Symptoms of both appear in equal intensities
- One set of symptoms predominates
According to the World Health Organization, someone suffering from a mixed disorder experiences both conditions at an equal intensity. This means, neither depression nor anxiety symptoms exist at such an extent that a single diagnosis of one or the other can be made. In effect, the two conditions feed into one another and exist as one single disorder.
As depression and anxiety disorders tend to share many of the same symptoms, it can be difficult to determine whether a mixed disorder is at work. In order for mixed anxiety-depressive disorder to apply, the following criteria must be met –
- Symptoms experienced are not caused by medications or a pre-existing medical condition
- Ongoing or recurrent feelings of unhappiness that persist for at least four weeks in duration
- Symptoms cause considerable distress within a person’s daily life
In addition, at least four of the following symptoms must also be present –
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep problems
- Loss of energy
- Constant worrying
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of worthlessness or low self-esteem
- Crying spells
Certain risk factors can increase the likelihood a person will develop mixed anxiety-depressive disorder. Risk factors to watch out for include –
- Ongoing stress in one’s daily life
- A past history of psychological problems
- A family history of psychological problems
- Past traumas, especially during childhood
- Chronic medical condition
- Little to no family or social supports in place
Many of the above risk factors also apply for depression disorders in general. In most cases, a combination of environmental, biological and psychological factors all play a part in when and if a mixed disorder will develop.
Ultimately, a mixed anxiety-depressive disorder restricts a person’s lifestyle to the point where his or her social and emotional well-being undergoes considerable decline. Over time, a person may see his or her appetite diminish as symptoms intensify.
Without needed treatment help, symptoms will likely intensity, as any form of psychological impairment stems from chemical imbalances in the brain. These imbalances only grow worse when needed treatment interventions are lacking.