Anxiety Is The New Depression

The co-occurrence of anxiety and depression produces some very unpleasant realities. Each can exacerbate the effects of the other and make the possibility of either or both becoming chronic more likely.

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Women contemplating and feeling stressed.
Women contemplating and feeling stressed.

The sheer numbers speak for themselves – anxiety is the new depression. The Anxiety and Depression Center of America notes these astonishing facts[1]:

  • Over 40 million Americans over the age of 18, more than 18% of the population, suffer from an anxiety disorder
  • Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the U.S.
  • Over 16 million Americans over the age of 18, about 7% of the population, have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S.
  • Surveys show that 60-70 of those who suffer from depression also have anxiety

Think about all the people you encounter throughout your day. Over 1 in 5 adult Americans have either notable depression or an anxiety disorder. Over 5% of our adult population, 1 in 20, suffer from both anxiety and depression.

You likely have read in our newsletters that both anxiety and depression are very treatable. But less than a third of those who suffer actually receive the help they need.

Are Anxiety and Depression Different, or Combined As One Complex Disorder?

The co-occurrence of anxiety and depression produces some very unpleasant realities. Each can exacerbate the effects of the other and make the possibility of either or both becoming chronic more likely.  Each can be challenging, but combined they can put massive pressure on the foundations of our existence – relationships, work performance, physical health and happiness. Anxiety and depression together increases suicide risk.

In the past few years, clinicians and researchers are postulating a new assessment –  that depression and anxiety may not be two separate disorders that coexist. They may be a singular, more complex disorder that emanate from the same core.

Dr. David Barlow, Ph.D., is the director for the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University. Dr. Barlow notes that the genetics of each disorder appear to be the same, and their neurobiology seems to overlap. “The psychological and biological nature of the vulnerability are the same… Some people with the vulnerability react with anxiety to life stressors. And some people, in addition, go beyond that to become depressed.”

Whole Person Approach To Care

The encouraging news is, as we continue to learn more about anxiety and depression, the approach to treatment – whole person care – remains the same. Every disorder has root causes. They can include genetic and neurological contributors. They also have experiential contributors as well.

Looking at all facets of an individual’s life – physical, medical, relational, familial, emotional, spiritual – enables full understanding of contributing factors, and helps us create the customized, ideal program to treat each issue effectively. The whole personal approach has proven over time to produce the best results of all treatment methods.

Dr. Gregory Jantz is the founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE in Edmonds, Washington, voted a top ten facility for the treatment of depression in the United States. Dr. Jantz pioneered Whole Person Care in the 1980’s and is a world-renowned expert on eating disorders,depression, anxiety, technology addiction, and abuse. He is a leading voice and innovator in Mental Health utilizing a variety of therapies including nutrition, sleep therapy, spiritual counseling, and advanced DBT techniques. Dr. Jantz is a best-selling author and has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, and CNN.


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