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Ashley Spires
Professor Gelfand
English 101
03 November 2014
Explanatory Essay: Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and Depression are the top two psychiatric problems in the United States,
according to WebMD (Depression). Anxiety and depression often have similar symptoms, such
as nervousness, irritability, insomnia, and problems concentrating. A lot of people who have
depression will also find that they have some kind of anxiety disorder. While there is no
evidence that one disorder causes the other, there is clear evidence that many people suffer from
both disorders (Depression). Anxiety and depression are not the same, though, they have their
own causes and symptoms.
What exactly are anxiety and depression? Anxiety is normal, but an anxiety disorder is a
serious mental illness. Normal anxiety helps us know when we might be in danger. The
difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder is that with an anxiety disorder the
fear is constant. People with an anxiety disorder are constantly, if not nearly constantly crippled
with worry. It is overwhelming for them and take over their lives. It can prevent them from
living their lives. This is because they are always worried. Depression is also a normal reaction
to some of life's events; only when it is just a case of the blues, though. Depression is a
psychological condition characterized by the feelings of sadness, hopelessness, demotivation, or
loss of interest in life. For a short period of time, as in a case of the blues, these feelings are

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okay, but if they go on for long periods of time they can be dangerous. Both of these conditions
have multiple types.
There are many different types of anxiety disorders and depression conditions; here are
just a few of the main types. Three types of anxiety disorders are generalized anxiety disorder,
social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. People who have generalized anxiety disorder feel
worried or stressed about a lot of lifes everyday events that are not that significant. Sure
everyone feels concerned or anxious from time to time; people with generalized anxiety disorder
have worries that are greater than normal. The majority of people have felt this way for as long
as they remember. The physical symptoms of this type of anxiety are headaches and exhaustion.
Social anxiety disorder is exactly what you would guess from its name. It is the overwhelming
feeling of anxiousness in public situations. People with this disorder are exceedingly anxious or
nervous about their actions in public situations. It is more than just your average shyness, it does
not simply begin the night before or the day of the event, it begins weeks or even months before.
Social anxiety disorder makes increases your heartbeat and problems concentrating. This affects
normal life for the people who suffer from it; it can make them avoid public places, like school
or work. The last types of anxiety I am covering is panic disorder. Panic disorder is
characterized by repeated panic attacks. According to WebMD, a panic attack is a sudden,
intense fear or anxiety that may make you short of breath or dizzy or make your heart pound
(Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder - Topic Overview). This can interfere with daily lives, but
with early treatment or just treatment in general you can recover. The types of depression I am
going to explain are major depression, persistent depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder.
Major depression is the constant depressed feeling that lasts more than two weeks at a time. This
type of depression is characterized by five or more of these symptoms: loss of pleasure in your

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activities, weight loss or gain, insomnia, exhaustion, feeling worthless or guilty, trouble
concentrating, trouble making decisions, and suicidal thoughts. Persistent depressive disorder,
also known as dysthymia, is the feeling of depression that lasts longer than two years.
Symptoms of persistent depressive disorder are appetite changes, sleeping too much or too little,
fatigue, low self-esteem, trouble concentrating, trouble making decisions, and the feeling of
hopelessness. Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is characterized by its mood
swings from extreme highs to low depressive moods. When in the low phase people have major
depression like symptoms. Now that you know a little about these psychological conditions you
are probably wondering what causes them.
The exact causes for both of these conditions are unknown. The cause of anxiety
disorders may be linked to a combination of circumstances, including changes in brain and
environmental stress (Anxiety Disorders). Severe, long lasting stress may be the cause of some
anxiety disorders. This is because it can change the way nerve cells within these circuits
transmit information. The cause of some anxiety disorders may be linked to changes in the brain
structures that control memories linked to strong emotions. Anxiety disorders could also be
hereditary; lifes events could trigger this predisposition to an anxiety disorder. Depression
appears to be an illness that may result from the interplay of many biological and environmental
factors (Understanding Depression -- the Basics). If you are biologically susceptible to
depression you can develop the disorder. Malfunctions in the brain related to depression can
have a great genetic component (Understanding Depression -- the Basics).
Treatment for anxiety and depression are similar. Both psychological conditions can be
treated with medications and therapy. Medications that can treat depression are selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitors, selective serotonin and norepinephrine inhibitors, novel

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serotonergic drugs, tricyclic antidepressants, dopaminergic drugs, monoamine oxidase inhibitors,


and tetracyclic antidepressants. A combination of medications may be needed, such as an
antidepressant combined with a mood stabilizer, a second antidepressant, or an atypical antipsychotic drug. Medications for anxiety disorders include benzodiazepines and buspirone.
Antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and antiseizure medications,
such as gabapentin or pregabalin, can also be helpful in treating anxiety disorders. These drugs
cannot cure depression or anxiety, they can control the most troubling symptoms though. Which
can help people regain control of their lives. Medication can also enhance psychotherapy which
is the next treatment I am going to talk about. Psychotherapy, often called therapy for short.
In therapy a person talk to a licensed and trained mental health professional who guides them
through a process to help them work through factors that could be triggering their illness.
Anxiety and depression are serious psychological conditions that can leave an enormous
impact on a persons life. They can leave a person feeling that life is not worth living. For
some, they feel that the only solution is to commit suicide. Exact causes for anxiety and
depression are unknown. Treatment for these problems has grown in the past two decades. We
need to increase the awareness for anxiety and depression.

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Works Cited
Unknown. Depression. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. ADAA. n.d. Web. 4
November 2014. <www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/depression>.
Goldberg, Joseph. Understanding Depression -- The Basics. WebMD. WebMD. April 2014.
Web. 2 November 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/depression/understanding-depressionbasics>.
Goldberg, Joseph. Types of Depression. WebMD. WebMD. October 2014. Web. 2 November
2014. <www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-types>.
Goldberg, Joseph. Drugs to Treat Mental Illness. WebMD. WebMD. February 2014. Web. 2
November 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/medications-treat-disorders>
Goldberg, Joseph. Anxiety Disorders. WebMD. WebMD. February 2014. Web. 2 November
2014. <http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-anxiety-disorders>
Goldberg, Joseph. Mental Health and Psychotherapy. WebMD. WebMD. February 2014. Web. 2
November 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-healthpsychotherapy>
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise. Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder - Topic
Overview. WebMD. WebMD. May 2013. Web. 3 November 2014.
<http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/tc/panic-attacks-and-panic-disorder-topicoverview>

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise. Generalized Anxiety Disorder - Topic Overview.
WebMD. WebMD. June 2013. Web. 3 November 2014.
<http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/tc/generalized-anxiety-disorder-topic-overview>
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise. Social Anxiety Disorder - Topic Overview.
WebMD. WebMD. June 2013. Web. 3 November 2014.
<http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/tc/social-anxiety-disorder-topic-overview>