Back when the human race was first trying to survive on earth, anxiety was important, because it helped to improve their rate of survival. Generally anxiety is defined as a collection of negative emotions, including fear and worry, and sometimes even involves physical symptoms like chest pains or nausea. When anxiety is present, the body prepares to defend itself, so the heart rate speeds up, the digestive system slows down, and blood pressure rises. These are basically involuntary reactions.
Anxiety develops in two different parts of the brain - hippocampus and the amygdala. The important thing to remember is that anxiety is a normal state for humans to be in - when it's at reasonable levels. However once anxiety becomes excessive, it can become a medical issue. This is when anxiety transforms into feelings like dread or extreme terror. These extreme emotions often translate into conditions like panic disorders, phobias, depression, obsessive compulsive disorders or an anxiety disorder.
Depression can develop from anxiety in two main forms - agitated depression and akathitic depression. Someone who develops one of these conditions usually starts with a phobia, which is simply an abnormal level of fear about a specific situation or object. Phobias are generally considered irrational, and stem from a person's overactive imagination. Of the two types of depression, agitated depression is by far the more common, and contains symptoms of panic. Akathitic depression is simply a state of depression, without any obvious panic symptoms.
Agitated depression, although a depressive state, generally presents itself as a state of anxiety. Some possible indicators include insomnia, unspecified panic, a general sense of dread or even suicide. A medical practitioner will usually prescribe antidepressants, but in some patients this can increase the heart rate and so compound the problem. If that happens, an anticonvulsant like Depakote and/or lithium can be prescribed to help reduce the anxiety levels. Therapy is also an important element in treating agitated depression. Therapy helps to uncover the roots of the problem and develop methods of dealing with it.
Panic disorder or a generalized anxiety disorder are often present with agitated depression. Panic attacks are one of the symptoms of a panic disorder, and can involve breathing problems or dizziness. It generally takes around 10 minutes for a panic attack to reach its peak, and they can affect both women and men. A generalized panic disorder involves long periods of anxiety, where there is no particular situation or object to trigger the panic reaction.
Depression is a complicated condition, but it has been shown that anxiety can have a major impact on its progression. Anxiety tends to mean that it will take longer for the depression to go into remission, and it makes it difficult for the sufferer to get back into a daily routine. A person's heart rate demonstrates biologically that there is a link between depression and anxiety. So if anxiety is present at the same time as depression, it's important to consider it as a factor.
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