Understanding the emotional pathways of the brain—where they criss-cross and where they clash—is key to identifying and developing more effective treatments for mental health. Depression and anxiety, two of the most prevalent emotional disorders in the world, often manifest alongside one another. For some, that’s surprising: the former, we associate with a lethargic energy; the latter, typically a more hyper one. But, a connection is there.
Roughly 60 to 70 percent of patients who are depressed also suffer from anxiety. Anxiety is not motivation, as it may appear. It doesn’t spring us to action, it makes us want to abandon ship when things feel bad.
David Barlow, Ph.D., director of the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University, describes depression as a “shutdown” and anxiety as “looking to the future for danger.”
Many of the same treatments work for both depression and anxiety, because the brain operations behind each disorder are similar. For example, assessing illogical thought processes can be beneficial, since Cognitive Behavioral Therapy—which seeks to correct that problem—has proven successful at treating both overwhelming sadness and irrational, crippling worries. However, sometimes a treatment that works for one does not work for the other. Exposure therapy typically does wonders for anxiety, except for when depression gets in the way of the patient’s motivation. Likewise, anxiety can trump even the humblest of motivation, and stop us from seeking help even when we want it.
Most people entering recovery for treatment of substance abuse come in with co-occurring issues of depression and anxiety. Proper care for all three issues will help you to better understand your mental and emotional states, securing a better platform to work from for long term recovery. Treatment will help you to learn about your emotions, how to regulate them, cope with difficult situations, and remain sober no matter what feelings you are experiencing.
You deserve to live a healthy and balanced life. For more information on how The Last Resort can help you with addiction and co-occurring disorders, contact our counseling staff at 877-892-7997.