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Can anxiety cause depression?

Updated: Apr 3

Anxiety and depression are common psychiatric disorders that exhibit similar symptoms and have similar treatments. If you are feeling in the blue or sad once in a while, it is ok; feeling anxious time and again is also normal, but if the feelings refuse to let you go and get more severe with time, you need help.


Are you shy and embarrassed to talk about your feelings? Then, it's time to reach out for some online counseling sessions and understand more about these internalizing disorders that are co-morbid with each other.


Anxiety may not lead to depression in the literal sense, but it definitely contributes to the development of this mental condition. Thus, there is a complex relationship between the two that is, in turn, influenced by heredity, coping strategies, stress, intensity of anxiety, and environmental circumstances. Remember, not everybody who undergoes anxiety has to end up with depression, and both these conditions benefit immensely from counseling services.


People suffering from anxiety try to avoid activities and situations because they can't manage the feelings of fear. They shirk activities and feel disconnected from all, and this acts as a potential risk for depression. But, at the same time, you need to understand that not everybody suffering from anxiety issues will end up with depression, and it differs from individual to individual. During intensely anxious periods, some people develop transient depressive symptoms, though this is temporary, and respond amazingly well to virtual counseling and medications.


There are ways anxiety leads to depression:


  1. Genetic predispositions and neurotransmitter issues: Anxiety and depression may be a result of genetic predispositions and neurotransmitter imbalance. The dopamine and serotonin imbalance can lead to these mental conditions, and this is why we can conclude that these factors add to the chances of developing depression and anxiety.

  2. Negative thinking: Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety lead to negative thinking. An individual feels negative and develops worry-laden thoughts during extreme anxiety. Rumination, constant worry, fear of the future, and catastrophic thinking lead to self-esteem and worthlessness issues. Moreover, the constant negative thought patterns result in hopelessness and "poor self-view." These are common depression symptoms that are also evident during anxiety.

  3. Chronic stress: Stressful situations trigger fear, constant worry, and apprehension, causing anxiety. When an individual faces constant periods of stress due to anxiety, the body releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol changes the brain chemistry, negatively affects moods, and increases the chances of developing depression.

  4. Physical symptoms: Physical conditions in the body, such as lack of proper sleep, irritability, acidity, nausea, and acute exhaustion, start manifesting in people suffering from chronic anxiety or those undergoing an anxiety attack. There is a strange sense of dread and a feeling of disdain when these physical symptoms overpower the mind. Unexplained physical issues that persist over time can lead to the development of depressive symptoms.

  5. Influence on daily living: Chronic anxiety affects daily living, relationships, work and social interactions, and quality of life. Anxiety does not prevent the person from engaging and enjoying entertaining and enjoyable activities, leaving them helplessly unable to cope with the stresses of daily living. In the bargain, the individual starts feeling sad, frustrated, and hopeless. These characteristics are typical of depression.

  6. Avoidance attitude and Isolation from interaction & social contacts: Fear and discomfort prompt people to withdraw from others, and we can call this "avoidance behavior." People suffering from anxiety tend to isolate and distance themselves from society, interactions, and activities so that they don't feel fearful and uncomfortable. Social Isolation can thus lead to sadness, loneliness, and disconnection from people causing depression.


Anxiety is a symptom of clinical depression in certain cases, and both these conditions can co-exist at the same time. Besides genetic factors, these conditions can manifest with trauma, complications due to parenting styles, life adversity, neglect, and chronic stress can exacerbate the symptoms. Try out online therapy from a reliable counselor to feel better and rid yourself of depressive feelings that can make you take irrational and harsh steps.


Whatever the condition, whether it is a generalized anxiety disorder or depression triggered by anxiety, get it diagnosed and start your treatment therapy. Virtual counseling by a trained therapist, when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, stress reduction techniques, regular exercise, social support, and lifestyle changes, can be very helpful in maintaining overall well-being.

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