Although mental health professionals regularly diagnose co-morbidity of depression and anxiety, a name label has yet to be placed on this often concurring set of symptoms. There is a broad acceptance that a general sense of fear, with or without panic symptoms, does appear along with depression in nearly half of the reported cases. Co-morbidity of bipolar depression and anxiety can be extremely difficult to manage in a patient.
Just as a passing feeling of sadness cannot be termed as clinical depression, brief periods of anxiety cannot be labeled as anxiety disorders. The symptoms for either disease need to be prevalent for approximately six months and impede normal working to be termed as an anxiety disorder.
There are different types of depression:
- Mild chronic depression - A persistent feeling of continuous sorrow that lasts for at least two years. This depression is also called dysthymia.
- Major depression - A condition of intense sadness, which may or may not be recurring.
- Bipolar Disorders - A cyclic and episodic condition of depression and severe or mild mania (hypomania).
- Postpartum depression – Also called post-natal depression, this can occur in the span of time after a women has delivered her baby until a year or two after the birth.
Similarly, there are also different kinds of anxiety disorders that exist.
- Panic disorders - A fear of impending and unreal doom.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder – A condition of wherein the patient gets perpetually upsetting thoughts.
- Post traumatic stress – Anxiety that is caused due to extreme physical trauma or threat of physical harm.
- Social phobia – A chronic fear of being watched and judged by others.
- Specific phobias - Extreme fear of something, of harmless objects or people.
- Generalized anxiety - A general state of hyperactivity and extreme worry.
Treating depression and anxiety in the same person can be a challenging task. Co-morbidity of these disorders actually needs treatment for three different types of symptoms - anxiety, depression and mania. There is fine line that separates all three conditions. Treating such a patient involves assessing the extent of each condition to provide accurate prescriptions.
Antidepressants and mood elevators can be used to treat the depression phase of the bipolar disorder and anxiety. But when the manic phase of the bipolar disorder surfaces, the patient needs to be administered mood stabilizers. Providing the correct dosage for each of these medicines becomes extremely tricky and leaves no margin for errors. A minute oversight or misunderstood symptom can have catastrophic effects and result in aggravation of the existing condition.
Alternative therapies and natural remedies for depression can play a significant role in treating bipolar and anxiety co-morbidity because they have little or no side effects. They are also are easy to handle and do not require micro-management of the case.
Treating depression naturally with the aid of nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbal extracts, exercise, yoga, psychiatric counseling, acupuncture, and acupressure may prove to be a better option in cases of unpredictable and rapid switching of alternating symptoms.