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Anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression often come together

Anxiety and depression

The combination of different disorders at the same time is called comorbidity. The comorbidity between anxiety disorders and depressive disorders is very high.

It has been found that two-thirds of depressed people also suffer from an anxiety disorder. Conversely, almost 60 percent of people with an anxiety disorder also suffer from depression. The dysthyme disorder (a mild, chronic depression) and the chronic generalised anxiety disorder (often worrying, brooding) even overlap in more than 90 percent of cases. For almost all disorders, more than three quarters of the cases ever involved a (different) anxiety disorder or a (different) depressive disorder in the past.

Anxiety disorders and depression usually develop at the end of the twenties. For men in our study, the average age of onset is 27 years and for women 25 years. We see that comorbidity increases over time. It turns out that anxiety disorders occur more often before or at the same time as depression. For example, in 85 percent of the cases of comorbidity of social phobia and depression, social phobia started earlier than depression.

Despite the large overlap between anxiety and depression, psychiatry generally still regards them as two different syndromes. While the symptoms of anxiety and depression overlap to a large extent, so does the treatment (pills and talking). It is therefore questionable whether they really are two separate disorders, or different manifestations of the same underlying vulnerability.

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