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Medical News Today: Older adults who drink tea are less likely to be depressed

Previous research has suggested that there is a link between depression and tea drinking. Now, a new study is investigating this relationship further.

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Drinking tea may lower the risk of depression among older adults.

Depression is common among older adults, with 7% of those over the age of 60 years reporting "major depressive disorder."

Accordingly, research is underway to identify possible causes, which include genetic predisposition, socioeconomic status, and relationships with family, living partners, and the community at large.

A study by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Fudan University in Shanghai raises another possibility. It finds a statistically significant link between regular tea drinking and lower levels of depression in seniors.

While the researchers have not yet established a causal relationship between tea and mental health, their findings — which appear in BMC Geriatrics — show a strong association.

Reading the tea leaves

Tea is popular among older adults, and various researchers have recently been investigating the potential beneficial effects of the beverage.

A separate study from the NUS that appeared in Aging last June, for example, found that tea may have properties that help brain areas maintain healthy cognitive function.

"Our study offers the first evidence of the positive contribution of tea drinking to brain structure and suggests a protective effect on age-related decline in brain organization."

Junhua Li, lead author

That earlier paper also cites research showing that tea and its ingredients — catechin, L-theanine, and caffeine — can produce positive effects on mood, cognitive ability, cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, and mortality.

However, defining the exact role of tea in preventing depression is difficult, especially due to the social context in which people often consume it. Particularly in countries such as China, social interaction may itself account for some or even all of the drink's benefits.

Feng Qiushi and Shen Ke led the new study, which tracks this covariate and others, including gender, education, and residence, as well as marital and pension status.

The team also factored in lifestyle habits and health details, including smoking, drinking alcohol, daily activities, level of cognitive function, and degree of social engagement.

In addition, the authors write, "The study has major methodological strength," citing a few of its attributes.

Firstly, they note, it could more accurately track an individual's tea-drinking history because "instead of examining tea-drinking habit [only] at the time of survey or in the preceding month/year, we combined the information on frequency and consistency of tea consumption at age 60 and at the time of assessment."

Once the researchers had classified each person as one of four types of tea drinker according to how often they drank the beverage, they concluded:

"[O]nly consistent daily drinkers, those who had drunk tea almost every day since age 60, could significantly benefit in mental health."

13,000 study participants

The researchers analyzed the data of 13,000 individuals who took part in the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS) between 2005 and 2014.

They discovered a virtually universal link between tea drinking and lower reports of depression.

Other factors seemed to reduce depression as well, including living in an urban setting and being educated, married, financially comfortable, in better health, and socially engaged.

The data also suggested that the benefits of tea drinking are strongest for males aged 65 to 79 years. Feng Qiushi suggests an explanation: "It is likely that the benefit of tea drinking is more evident for the early stage of health deterioration. More studies are surely needed in regard to this issue."

Looking at the connection the other way around, tea drinkers appeared to share certain characteristics.

Higher proportions of tea drinkers were older, male, and urban residents. In addition, they were more likely to be educated, married, and receiving pensions.

Tea drinkers also exhibited higher cognitive and physical function and were more socially involved. On the other hand, they were also more likely to drink alcohol and smoke.

Qiushi previously published the results of the effect of tea drinking on a different population, Singaporeans, finding a similar link to lower rates of depression. The new study, while more detailed, supports this earlier work.

Currently exploring new CLHLS data regarding tea drinking, Qiushi wishes to understand more about what tea can do, saying, "This new round of data collection has distinguished different types of tea, such as green tea, black tea, and oolong tea so that we could see which type of tea really works for alleviating depressive symptoms."

Original Article

Medical News Today: What to know about alcohol and depression

Alcohol can make a person feel depressed and may even trigger or worsen depression. Depression is also a risk factor for using alcohol, since people who feel depressed may use alcohol to ease their symptoms.

Several studies, including a 2013 study that used a nationally representative sample, have found that people who drink to manage a psychiatric condition are more likely to abuse alcohol.

In this article, learn more about the links between alcohol and depression, as well as when to see a doctor.

Links and interactions

Alcohol and depression interact with one another in several harmful ways:

Alcohol may cause or worsen depression

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Alcohol may worsen the symptoms of depression.

Drinking too much alcohol is a risk factor for new and worsening depression.

A 2012 study found that 63.8% of people who are dependent on alcohol are also depressed. The study did not test whether alcohol use causes depression, however.

Research from 2011 found that having an alcohol use disorder significantly increased a person's risk of having depression.

Alcohol may even increase the risk of depression in babies exposed to alcohol in the womb. Children born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are more likely to develop depression later, according to an earlier study from 2010.

Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it slows activity in the central nervous system. This can temporarily make a person feel sleepy, tired, or sad.

Chronic alcohol use may change brain chemistry in a way that increases the risk of depression.

Alcohol can increase the risk of dangerous symptoms

Alcohol use in a person with depression may intensify the symptoms of depression and increase the risk of adverse and life-threatening outcomes.

A 2011 study of adolescents seeking treatment for mental health conditions such as depression found that at the 1-year follow-up, teens who drank alcohol were more likely to attempt suicide or engage in other forms of self-harm.

A 2011 analysis found a correlation between using alcohol before the age of 13 and later engaging in self-harm.

Research from 2013 also supports the link between alcohol use and self-harm. The study found that teenagers with depression who drank alcohol were significantly more likely to act on suicidal feelings.

Suicide prevention

  • If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

Depression may increase alcohol use

Some people with depression drink alcohol to ease their symptoms. Over time, this can lead to alcohol dependence and abuse.

People who drink to cope with psychological distress may drink more over time, especially when they wake up feeling anxious or depressed. Chronic drinking significantly increases the risk of alcohol abuse.

Symptoms of depression

For many people, feeling sad or unhappy is a prominent symptom of depression. Depression is more than just sadness, however. It can affect many aspects of a person's life and can even be debilitating. Depression is the leading worldwide cause of disability.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • getting no joy from hobbies or activities previously enjoyed
  • feeling that there is nothing to look forward to or no hope for the future
  • unexplained health issues, such as headaches, muscle pain, or stomach problems
  • changes in sleep habits, such as sleeping much more or less than usual
  • unintentionally losing or gaining weight
  • having feelings of worthlessness
  • having a hard time making decisions
  • having trouble concentrating on work or school
  • experiencing thoughts of death
  • contemplating suicide or other forms of self-harm

Symptoms of alcohol use disorder

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that excessive drinking claims 88,000 lives per year. The CDC defines excessive alcohol use as:

  • binge drinking, which is when females consume four or more drinks in a single session or males consume five or more drinks in a single session
  • any alcohol use during pregnancy or by people under the age of 21
  • heavy drinking, defined as eight or more drinks per week for females or 15 or more drinks per week for males

Other signs that a person may have an alcohol use disorder include:

  • needing to drink to feel "normal"
  • being unable to stop drinking despite trying
  • concealing drinking from others
  • doing things that harm oneself or others when drinking
  • being distracted by cravings for alcohol
  • needing to drink progressively more to get the same effects

Antidepressants and alcohol

Many doctors recommend avoiding alcohol while taking antidepressants.

Both substances may make a person feel less alert, so they may be dangerous if a person takes them together. This is especially true for those who use other medications or have a chronic medical condition.

Some doctors advise drinking in moderation if a person must drink, which means no more than one drink per day for females or two drinks per day for males. According to the CDC, a single drink means:

  • 12 ounces (oz) of beer
  • 5 oz of wine
  • 8 oz of malt liquor
  • 1.5 oz of hard liquor

The specific effects of alcohol on antidepressants depend on the antidepressant a person takes. It is vital to discuss the risks and possible interactions of every medication with a doctor.

A person should also monitor their reaction to alcohol when using antidepressants. Some people who take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may become severely intoxicated when they use antidepressants.

People using other drugs or who use nontraditional antidepressants should be especially mindful of drinking.

Benzodiazepines, a class of anti-anxiety drugs that some people with depression may use, may help with alcohol withdrawal. When combined with alcohol, however, they can cause life-threatening intoxication.

When to see a doctor

Both depression and alcohol use disorder are treatable medical conditions. Some people may feel unsure about seeing a doctor, but the right treatment can ease symptoms and help a person live a better, happier life.

Anyone who suspects they have depression or who would like to reduce their alcohol intake but are having trouble should see a doctor.

Go to the emergency room for signs of alcohol overdose, such as loss of consciousness, serious confusion, or problems breathing.

People undergoing treatment should tell their doctor if:

  • their symptoms get worse after starting treatment
  • their symptoms do not improve within a few weeks of beginning treatment
  • they have other symptoms, such as anxiety or mood swings
  • they have thoughts of suicide

Summary

A combination of alcohol use and depression can create difficulties in treatment. A person who uses alcohol and who has depression may not be able to tell which symptoms are due to which issue until they seek treatment.

While quitting alcohol is crucial for people with alcohol use disorder and depression, avoiding alcohol will not cure depression. People may wish to seek quality psychological care from a doctor, therapist, or both.

Original Article

Medical News Today: What are the types of depression?

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States. There are several different types of depression.

People with depression experience distinct periods — lasting at least 2 weeks — of sadness, low energy, and loss of interest in things that they once enjoyed. People sometimes refer to these periods as depressive episodes.

The experience of depression can vary significantly among individuals. For example, it may cause some people to oversleep and others to sleep very little. Each type of depression can have distinct symptoms and effects.

Read on to learn about some of the more common types of depression.

Suicide prevention

  • If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

Types of depression

Seven common types of depression are:

Major depressive disorder

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A person with major depressive disorder may feel guilty, worthless, and hopeless.

Major depressive disorder is the classic form of depression. People with major depression experience symptoms that may include:

  • sadness
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and hopelessness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • changes in appetite
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • feeling "empty"
  • thoughts of suicide

Depression can also cause physical symptoms, such as aches and pains. It can affect thoughts and concentration and lead to difficulties in making decisions and remembering things.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 17.3 million adults in the U.S. experienced at least one episode of major depression in 2017. This number equates to 7.1% of all U.S. adults.

Major depressive disorder appears to be more common among women and in those between the ages of 18 and 25 years.

Persistent depressive disorder

People with persistent depressive disorder have symptoms of depression that last for 2 years or more. Other names for this condition include dysthymia and dysthymic disorder.

The severity of the low mood is not as intense as with major depression or other types of depression, but it tends to last longer.

Even though people with persistent depressive disorder can function in their daily lives, they may feel as though they rarely or never experience joy.

As with major depression, persistent depressive disorder can affect sleep, appetite, energy levels, and self-esteem.

The NIMH estimate that 1.3% of U.S. adults experience persistent depressive disorder at some point during their lives. It also appears to be almost twice as common in women as in men.

Postpartum and perinatal depression

Postpartum depression refers to depression that develops within the first year of giving birth. It differs from the "baby blues," which is a phenomenon that affects up to 80% of mothers after giving birth.

People with the baby blues experience relatively mild anxiety, fatigue, and sadness that typically persist for a few days before going away without treatment. Postpartum depression, on the other hand, causes more extreme symptoms of depression.

Postpartum depression affects almost 15% of births, with symptoms most commonly appearing within 1 week to 1 month of the delivery. Treatment is usually necessary for those with postpartum depression.

People can also experience depression throughout pregnancy. Doctors use the revised term perinatal depression to describe depression that occurs both during pregnancy and after the birth of the baby.

Major depressive disorder with psychotic features

Psychotic depression occurs when an individual has severe depression alongside psychosis. The revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) have changed the name of this condition to "major depressive disorder" with the specifier "with psychotic features."

People with psychosis may have false beliefs (delusions) or hear or see things that are not happening (hallucinations).

The symptoms of psychotic depression usually have a "theme," such as delusions of guilt, illness, or poverty.

The findings of a 2018 study suggest that the lifetime prevalence of psychotic depression ranges from 0.35–1%, with higher rates in older adults.

Major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern

Previously known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern is a type of depression that occurs in the winter months. It is more common in areas that are farther away from the equator.

SAD causes symptoms similar to those of other forms of depression, including anxiety, fatigue, and weight gain.

The American Psychiatric Association report that SAD affects approximately 5% of people in the U.S.

Experts believe that SAD occurs in some people due to the lack of natural light. However, they do not know why it affects some people and not others. Symptoms typically last from early winter to spring.

A less common form of SAD, which is called summer-onset seasonal affective disorder, occurs in the spring and summer months.

Situational depression

Situational depression, or adjustment disorder, occurs in some people who experience a traumatic or life-altering event. Doctors diagnose it more often in children and adolescents.

Examples of such events include:

  • divorce
  • being the victim of a violent crime
  • job loss
  • bereavement
  • chronic illness

In children, stressful events may also include a family move, the birth of a sibling, and the separation of parents.

To receive a diagnosis of situational depression, the person must show symptoms of depression that a mental health professional would consider unhealthy or excessive, given the situation.

While symptoms may resolve on their own, treatment is sometimes necessary to prevent the depression from getting worse or becoming chronic.

Major depressive disorder with atypical features

Atypical depression is a form of depression in which the symptoms differ from the usual symptoms of depression.

Doctors do not understand this form of depression as well as they do other types. They may diagnose it as "major depressive disorder with atypical features."

One key feature of atypical depression is that the person's mood temporarily lifts when something positive happens. Doctors call this "mood reactivity."

Researchers state that a person must have two or more of the following symptoms in addition to mood reactivity to receive a diagnosis of atypical depression:

  • significant weight gain
  • increase in appetite
  • hypersomnia, or sleeping too much
  • leaden paralysis, or a feeling of heaviness in the limbs and body
  • sensitivity to rejection from others that results in significant social problems or issues at work

Older research indicates that atypical depression typically has a high prevalence rate, starts when a person is younger, and lasts longer than other types of depression. It is more common in those with bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders.

Diagnosis

To diagnose any form of depression, a doctor will likely carry out one or more of the following:

  • a physical examination
  • blood tests to check for physical conditions that may be causing symptoms
  • a psychiatric evaluation, which includes checking a person's symptoms against the DSM-5

Treatment

Medication, therapy, and a combination of both are the most common treatments for most types of depression.

However, some types of depression may respond well to other forms of treatment. For example, light therapy can be effective for those with SAD.

Medication

Several types of antidepressant medications are available. People vary in their response to different drugs, and there is often a period of trial and error before they find the right medication or combination of medications.

Types of antidepressants include:

  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • tricyclic antidepressants
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • atypical antidepressants

Other medications that can be helpful include anti-anxiety drugs, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers.

Individuals should discuss the benefits and potential risks of antidepressant use with their doctor.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, can be an effective treatment for depression. One form of psychotherapy that may be helpful for those with depression is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Other forms may also be beneficial.

Therapy is most effective when people find the most suitable style of therapy and the right therapist for them.

Psychotherapy can help people adjust to their life circumstances, challenge negative thoughts, and learn healthy ways to deal with stress.

It can also give people the awareness to identify issues that contribute to their depression and the space to set life goals.

Other treatments

In severe cases of depression, a doctor may recommend a form of brain stimulation therapy, such as electroconvulsive therapy or transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Light therapy can help people with SAD.

A doctor can recommend lifestyle changes to support depression treatment. These can include:

  • eating a healthful diet
  • exercising regularly
  • developing stress-management techniques

They may also provide people with information about local or online depression support groups.

When to see a doctor

Individuals should see a doctor if they feel depressed, particularly if a low mood persists for 2 weeks or more or if it happens regularly.

People should seek urgent help if they have thoughts of suicide or self-harm.

Anyone who thinks that they have postpartum depression should see a doctor right away, especially if their symptoms make it difficult to care for the baby or if they have thoughts of hurting themselves or the baby.

A doctor can support the person to care for the baby and themselves.

Summary

Depression is a very common mental health condition. There are several types of depression, each of which has different symptoms.

Depression is treatable with medications and psychotherapy. Other treatments may also be beneficial for some people.

Anyone who has concerns that they or a loved one may have depression should see a doctor. The sooner a person receives treatment, the sooner they can start to feel better.

Original Article

Medical News Today: What is the link between depression and anger?

Anger is an emotion that everyone feels sometimes, but if a person is feeling angry a lot of the time, they may be experiencing depression.

In many cases, medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, or a combination of these treatments can help provide symptom relief.

In this article, we look at the connection between anger and depression, as well as the other symptoms and diagnosis of depression. We also discuss the treatment options for both anger and depression.

Does depression cause anger?

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Anger is one way that depression may manifest.

According to researchers, there is an association between the level of anger that people experience and the severity of depression.

In a 2013 study involving 536 participants who were experiencing major depressive episodes, 54.5% reported feelings of irritability and anger.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), depression can manifest in different ways in different people.

The ADAA note that females with depression tend to feel sad or guilty, whereas males experiencing depression are more likely to feel irritable and angry. However, although this is generally the case, it is important to note that males can still feel sadness or guilt, and females can be irritable or angry.

Does anger cause depression?

An older article in the journal BJPsych Advances linked feeling angry with the development of depression.

The authors of the article suggest that this anger stems from "narcissistic vulnerability," which is when a person is extremely sensitive to any perceived rejection or loss.

Experiencing rejection may cause feelings of anger, which can lead to a person fearing that their anger will damage their relationships.

They may then turn this anger toward themselves, which can lead to low self-esteem and depression.

However, there is little research available to support this theory or show that anger can cause depression.

Symptoms of depression

People who experience anger and depression may have some of the following symptoms:

  • irritability
  • hopelessness
  • sadness or emptiness
  • guilt or worthlessness
  • fatigue
  • difficulty concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • unexplained changes in weight
  • loss of pleasure or interest in hobbies
  • suicidal thoughts

When to seek help

A person should seek help if their symptoms:

  • start to interrupt their daily life
  • affect their relationships with others
  • seem to be getting worse

If a person has thoughts of hurting themselves or others, they should seek help as soon as possible.

Suicide prevention

  • If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

Diagnosis of depression

A doctor may diagnose depression when a person experiences symptoms for more than 2 weeks.

There are different types of depression. A person should discuss all of their symptoms with a doctor to ensure that they receive the correct diagnosis.

Treatment

Doctors may treat depression or anger with medication, therapy, or a combination of both.

Medication

A doctor may prescribe antidepressants. These drugs can take 2–4 weeks to start working.

Common medications may include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): These include fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram, paroxetine, and escitalopram.
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): These include venlafaxine, duloxetine, and desvenlafaxine.

According to a 2019 systematic review, sertraline can be effective in treating both depression and anger.

The majority of the studies concluded that many of the individuals who experienced high levels of irritability and anger responded well to sertraline. After roughly 2 weeks, the sertraline appeared to have improved their mood and reduced their feelings of anger.

However, the authors note that not all of the participants responded to this treatment.

Therapy

Therapy involves talking to a mental health professional who may use a variety of approaches.

Some people who struggle with depression and anger may find it beneficial to participate in anger management therapy.

Some types of therapy may include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): The aim of this therapy is to help a person recognize their negative thoughts and apply coping strategies.
  • Interpersonal therapy: This therapy may help a person improve how they relate to other people.
  • Psychodynamic therapy: People use this therapy to try to understand the negative patterns of behaviors and feelings that their past experiences have caused.

The most common form of therapy that healthcare professionals recommend for the treatment of anger is CBT. However, a 2018 review suggests that it is only moderately effective.

There is not yet enough research to confirm the effectiveness of therapy in treating anger.

Brain stimulation therapies

If a person still experiences feelings of depression and hopelessness after trying medication and therapy, a doctor may recommend other treatments.

One option is electroconvulsive therapy, which involves transmitting electrical impulses into the brain. This treatment can have side effects, including memory loss.

Doctors may sometimes recommend repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, which uses a magnet instead of electric currents.

Lifestyle changes and natural remedies

Some people may choose to take herbal remedies to treat depression.

However, there is little research to prove that they are effective in treating depression.

Some of the substances that doctors have studied include:

  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • S-adenosylmethionine
  • St. John's wort

In addition to these supplements, certain lifestyle practices may help lift a person's mood. These include:

  • engaging in regular exercise
  • spending time with loved ones
  • eating a healthful diet

Some people also report that alternative therapies — such as acupuncture, meditation, tai chi, and yoga — can boost their mood.

Light therapy is another alternative treatment option. It involves exposing a person to a special light box. The light can help regulate the production of melatonin, a chemical that plays a role in a person's natural sleep-wake cycle.

Summary

There is little research to suggest that anger can cause depression. However, it is a symptom that can occur alongside depression.

If a person is struggling with depression, anger, or both, they should talk to their doctor.

Treatments are available that can help a person reduce the symptoms of depression. Some medications can also help reduce feelings of anger and irritability.

Original Article

Medical News Today: What is the link between depression and anxiety?

Both depression and anxiety can be debilitating. Also, it is not unusual for these conditions to occur together. When this happens, it can be particularly challenging.

This article explores how depression and anxiety may be linked, as well as the treatment options available.

Links between anxiety and depression

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A person with MADD may experience symptoms of both anxiety and depression.

According to one 2017 study, around 71.7% of people who experienced depression also experienced anxiety.

People can experience mental health conditions that include feelings of both depression and anxiety.

Two examples include mixed anxiety and depressive disorder (MADD) and anxious distress (AD).

At the moment, neither of these conditions are diagnosable in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

MADD

This condition causes a person to experience symptoms of both depression and anxiety.

If a person is experiencing stronger symptoms of either depression or anxiety, a doctor may treat that condition first.

AD

According to a small 2018 study, AD has a strong association with depression.

There are five specifications for AD, including:

  • feeling tense
  • feeling restless
  • finding it hard to concentrate due to worry
  • fearing a loss of control
  • fearing that something terrible is going to happen

This anxiety may be difficult for a person to control, and as a result, a person may go on to experience depressive feelings.

Common causes

Depression and anxiety may share some common causes. These might include:

  • genetics
  • stress
  • brain chemistry
  • medical conditions
  • trauma

How do they differ?

According to one 2017 review of past research, despite having similar symptoms, anxiety and depression can affect people's thinking in different ways. The sections below discuss this in more detail.

Attention bias

People experiencing anxiety may have a tendency to focus on the negative aspects of a problem, situation, or thought.

They may even ignore the other aspects of a situation, which means that this can feed their anxiety and provide a one-sided view of their anxiety-inducing situation.

Depression does not tend to be associated with attention bias.

Perception of events

People experiencing anxiety may also have a tendency to focus on what may happen to them in the future.

Those experiencing depression may have a tendency to focus on what is currently happening in their life or what has happened to them in the past.

Also, people with anxiety have a stronger tendency to perceive the future as psychologically closer than those experiencing depression.

Memory bias

A person experiencing depression is more likely to focus on negative memories.

Anxiety does not appear to be associated with a negative memory bias.

Worry and rumination

The presence of worry is a significant symptom of anxiety.

People with anxiety may worry about many things, such as when they will feel better, what their health will be like in the future, and several other things.

On the other hand, people with depression may not experience a constant sense of worry. They tend not to believe that their life will get better, so they may not focus as much on their future.

Symptoms

The symptoms of anxiety typically persist for several months and can affect a person's daily life.

Anxiety symptoms may include:

  • excessive fear
  • excessive worry and difficulty controlling it
  • irritability
  • muscle tension
  • problems concentrating
  • problems sleeping
  • restlessness

The symptoms of depression can also persist for several months. There are several key differences, however.

Depression symptoms may include:

  • feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • loss of interest in activities a person once enjoyed
  • low energy levels
  • problems concentrating
  • suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm

Treatments

The treatment options for anxiety, depression, or both depend upon a person's individual symptoms and how their condition affects their quality of life.

A doctor may treat both conditions with psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of both.

Medications

In many states, a nurse practitioner of psychiatry will prescribe antidepressants to treat depression or anxiety.

Examples of such medications include:

  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as fluoxetine or escitalopram
  • serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, such as venlafaxine or duloxetine
  • tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline or nortriptyline

Some doctors may prescribe a short-term dosage of anxiolytic medications to help treat anxiety. These include alprazolam and diazepam. However, they tend not to suggest using these drugs for a very long time, as they are associated with abuse.

According to an article in the journal Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, an estimated 55–94% of people with anxiety in the United States take benzodiazepines. However, these can cause dependence and do not offer a long-term solution.

Most medications have side effects, so doctors should be sure to discuss the potential risks and benefits of taking these medications.

Therapy

According to an article in the journal Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, cognitive behavioral therapy is a therapeutic approach that has the most substantial level of evidence related to its effectiveness in treating anxiety.

This is a type of therapy that involves a person reflecting on their thoughts and behaviors, then identifying how they can make changes that improve their symptoms.

Learn more about cognitive behavioral therapy here.

Herbs and supplements

According to a 2017 systematic review, researchers have studied the benefits of several herbs and supplements in treating anxiety and depression.

Some commonly studied herbs include:

  • kava-kava
  • lavender oil
  • chamomile
  • valerian extract

Herbal remedies may be helpful for some people, but research suggesting that they are as effective as pharmaceutical medications is currently lacking.

Learn more about herbs and supplements for depression here.

Learn about homeopathic remedies for anxiety here.

Tips and lifestyle changes

Adopting a healthful, balanced lifestyle may help a person cope with depression, anxiety, or both.

Some examples of lifestyle changes to make include:

  • getting enough sleep
  • eating a healthful diet
  • avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol
  • engaging in regular physical exercise

If a person finds themselves feeling very anxious, they can also try these tips:

  • Take a break: A person can try to separate themselves from their problem to give themselves a brief respite.
  • Take deep breaths: Inhaling and exhaling slowly may help a person start to feel calmer.
  • Slowly count: Slowly counting to 10 may help a person calm down.
  • Talk to a trusted person: If a person feels anxious, talking to someone they trust may help.

When and how to seek help

Anxiety and depression do not have to be normal states of being for anyone. Help is available.

People should seek immediate help if they experience thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

A person should also seek help for depression or anxiety any time their symptoms start to interfere with their daily lives.

The National Institute of Mental Health provide information on how a person can find a healthcare provider or treatment options, as well as advice on what to do if someone is in an immediate crisis.

Suicide prevention

  • If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

Summary

Anxiety and depression are conditions that can occur simultaneously in some people.

Though some of the symptoms of depression and anxiety are similar, they can affect people's minds in different ways.

If a person's symptoms are interfering with their daily life, they can talk to their doctor.

Original Article

Medical News Today: Depression in children: What to know

Depression is more than just sadness and can be a serious and potentially life threatening illness. Even very young children can develop depression, so parents and caregivers must take the condition seriously.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3.2% of children aged between 3 and 17 in the United States have a depression diagnosis. This figure likely underestimates how common depression is among young people.

A 2018 analysis emphasizes that depression is underdiagnosed in children and that just 50% of depressed teens receive a diagnosis before adulthood. The suicide rate has risen over the past 2 decades, including among children.

It is vital to note that the symptoms of depression are also highly treatable, especially when a child has adequate support from loving caregivers.

In this article, learn more about depression in children, including the signs, symptoms, and how to find help.

Signs and symptoms

a woman comforting one of her children who has depressionShare on Pinterest
Withdrawal and low motivation are common symptoms of childhood depression.

Children with depression may feel sad or hopeless. Depression, however, is much more than just sadness. It can affect many aspects of a child's behavior or mood.

Young children may complain of physical symptoms, such as frequent stomachaches, instead of emotional pain. They may also fear separation from their parents, develop behavioral problems, or seem agitated and restless.

Some other symptoms of childhood depression include:

  • loss of interest in activities a child once enjoyed
  • withdrawal
  • low motivation
  • changes in sleeping habits, such as sleeping very little or too much
  • eating habit changes, such as overeating or not eating enough
  • running away
  • having thoughts of or talking about suicide
  • interest in death
  • giving things away
  • feeling hopeless
  • low self-esteem
  • trouble concentrating
  • new or worsening problems at school, with siblings or friends
  • use of alcohol or drugs, especially among teens

Risk factors

Depression is a complex illness with biological, psychological, and social causes. This means that many factors contribute to depression, including:

  • genetics
  • alterations in brain chemistry
  • personality
  • environmental factors, such as trauma and stress

The chance of depression is highest in children who have several risk factors.

Some risk factors for depression in children include:

  • being female when considering teens
  • family history of depression
  • being born to a mother younger than 18 years old
  • history of stress or trauma, including conflict between the child's parents or caregivers
  • sleep issues
  • medical problems, especially chronic illnesses, such as asthma
  • overweight or obesity
  • lack of coping skills
  • negative thinking style
  • self-consciousness
  • poor relationships with friends
  • school difficulties
  • recent loss, such as changing schools or the death of a loved one
  • low birth weight

There is no way to predict who will or will not experience depression. Some children with many risk factors never develop depression, while others with few or no apparent risk factors do.

Diagnosis

No blood or imaging test can detect depression. Instead, a mental health professional, for example, a psychiatrist, therapist, or social worker, will ask about the child's symptoms and behavior.

Looking at the child's symptoms, the doctor will determine whether they have depression, another mental health condition, or both.

Caregivers can help a doctor make a diagnosis by keeping a list of symptoms. They should be prepared to answer questions about the child's history, when symptoms first appeared, and whether there is a family history of depression.

The provider may want to meet with the child alone because some children, especially teens, may not feel comfortable discussing all of their symptoms in front of others.

Treatment

The treatment for depression may include therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and family counseling.

Many people need to try several treatment strategies before they find one that works for them. It is helpful to ensure the child receives therapy and comprehensive mental health support in addition to medication or other treatments to ensure they get the best results.

A doctor may recommend:

  • family counseling if there are family problems or a history of trauma
  • education about depression and how best to help
  • antidepressant medications
  • increased activity, since some people get relief from depression with exercise
  • individual therapy to help the child better manage their emotions and stress

Effective treatment should avoid stigmatizing the child or punishing them for behaviors that come from depression.

Supporting a child with depression

Parents and caregivers may worry that they caused the child's depression or believe that they can cure it with love or discipline. Depression is a complex illness and rarely has one cause.

A loved one cannot cure a child's depression, just as they cannot cure a physical condition, for example, diabetes. Instead, parents should focus on building a supportive environment in which the child can recover.

People may want to try these strategies:

  • Include the child as an active participant in their treatment. Encourage them to participate in making decisions as much as possible.
  • Ask the child about any side effects of their medication and work with them to find treatments that are effective.
  • Encourage the child to talk about their feelings and listen without judgment. Do not tell the child how they should feel.
  • Create a home life that is as stable and secure as possible. Minimize conflict between adults and other family members, and work to help the child manage recent traumas.
  • Educate other family members about depression so that they can offer support and help.

For advice on supporting a teen with depression, click here.

Related conditions

Parents sometimes mistakenly believe that any sign of mental distress in children means the child has depression.

Pediatricians and other doctors may even miss the signs of other mental health conditions. In some cases, symptoms of one disorder may mimic those of depression. For example, a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who struggles at school may appear to be feeling hopeless and sad.

Some other conditions that may have similar symptoms to depression in children include:

  • ADHD: This common diagnosis affects at least 9.4% of children in the U.S. Children with ADHD may have trouble concentrating, listening, remembering tasks, and controlling their behavior. Some also develop anxiety or depression.
  • Anxiety disorders: Anxiety is more common than depression, with 7.4% of children having received a diagnosis for an anxiety-related condition.

Certain mental health and behavioral conditions commonly co-occur with depression. According to the CDC, 73.8% of children with depression also have anxiety, while 47.2% also experience behavior problems.

Summary

Children with depression need support and care. Caregivers should remember that the issue is medical in nature, and it is not something that can resolve with discipline.

Very young children may lack the ability to communicate their emotions. On the other hand, older children may feel embarrassed or worry about getting into trouble.

Adults can help children get the right treatment while reassuring them that depression is treatable and not a personal failing. A pediatric mental health expert can be a valuable resource for the entire family.

Original Article