Depression; Feeling Depressed; Low Mood Anxiety Symptoms
Can anxiety cause depression? Yes! Depression can cause anxiety, as well. There is an overlap between anxiety and depression with a wide range of anxiety and depression symptoms. You can find anxiety and depression treatment options below.
Anxiety And Depression symptoms:
- Fatigued, exhausted, extremely tired, worn out
- Restless yet no energy
- Aches, pains, headaches, or cramps that won’t go away
- Stomach and digestive problems that don’t improve with treatment
- Your entire body feels worn out
- Devoid of energy no matter how much rest you get
- Feel like you could sleep all day and still feel exhausted
- Difficulty concentrating, thinking, focusing
- Difficulty remembering details
- Difficulty making decisions
- Insomnia; difficulty sleeping or getting good sleep night after night
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Feeling helpless
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling trapped with on options
- Moderate to extreme pessimism
- Feel physically and emotionally down and “blue”
- Irritable; everything seems annoying
- Loss of interest in things you once found pleasurable; even the things you know you enjoy seem lifeless and unappealing
- Overeating or loss of appetite (or swing from extreme to extreme)
- A sadness that doesn’t lift
- Persistently feeling “empty” inside
- Feeling like you are in a dark cloud that won’t go away
- A persistent feeling of “heaviness” that won’t lift
- Feeling empty inside no matter what you do
- Having thoughts about just giving up; ending it all because everything seems pointless or too much trouble to care; suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Emotionally flat with little interest in anything
- Life seem meaningless and devoid of anything good or pleasurable
- Thinking that the future is bleak
- Believing life is pointless and meaningless
- Everything in life feels underwhelming
- Completely physically, psychologically, emotionally or spiritually wiped out
- Life and everything in it feels pointless
- All matters of life seem lacklustre
To name a few.
This depression and feeling depressed symptom can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may feel episodes of depression once in a while and not that often, have them off and on, or feel depressed all the time.
This depression and feeling depressed symptom may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.
This depression and feeling depressed symptom can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and elevated stress, or occur ‘out of the blue’ and for no apparent reason.
This depression and feeling depressed symptom can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. It can also come in waves, where it’s strong for a while and then eases off the next.
This depression and feeling depressed symptom can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment. All of the above combinations and variations are common.
This depression and feeling depressed symptom can seem much worse when undistracted, trying to rest, trying to go to sleep, or when waking up in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning.
Why can anxiety cause depression?
Because there are many medical conditions that can cause anxiety and depression like symptoms, we recommend all new, changing, persistent, and returning symptoms be discussed with your doctor. If your doctor attributes your depression symptoms solely to anxiety, depression, or stress, you can be confident there isn't a medical cause. Generally, most doctors can easily determine the difference between anxiety, depression, or stress-caused symptoms from those caused by a medical condition.
Doctors aren’t infallible, however. If you are uncertain about your doctor’s diagnosis, you may want to seek a second or more opinions. But if all opinions agree, you can be assured that anxiety, depression, or stress is the cause of the feeling depressed symptom.
There are many reasons why a person can feel depressed.
Episodes of depression associated with anxiety disorder
Feeling depressed is a symptom of anxiety disorder. For instance, behaving apprehensively stresses the body. A body that’s chronically stressed can expend its energy resources much faster than normal. The constant expending of energy can leave the body physically exhausted. Being exhausted commonly causes the feelings of being physically, psychologically, and emotionally depressed.
Chronic stress, and the hyperstimulation it causes, also causes problems with sleep, such as insomnia. Frequent sleep disruption can have an adverse effect on our emotions, which can cause our emotions to feel flat, blue, and down. Moreover, the combination of anxiety, feeling depressed, and insomnia can set up a vicious cycle where anxiety causes stress, stress causes sleep disruption, sleep disruption causes the feelings of being depressed, feeling depressed further stresses the body, stress fuels sleep disruption, sleep disruption fuels anxiety/stress/depression, and so on. So, anxiety, stress, and impaired sleep can contribute to feeling depressed. Feeling depressed and impacted emotions are one of the first symptoms associated with sleep disruption.
Episodes of depression caused by attitude
When we think apprehensively, we create the physiological, psychological, and emotional state of anxiety and its stress response consequences. When we think pessimistically (that things are hopeless, helpless, and we feel trapped), we create the physiological, psychological, and emotional state of depression and its stress response consequences.
So, not only can we stress the body through apprehensive behavior, we can also stress the body through pessimistic behavior. Chronic stress has a deleterious effect on the body. As our pessimistic behavior increases, the body’s level of stress increases. As the body’s level of stress increases, we can experience depression as a consequence.
While anxiety can cause depressed feelings as a symptom, pessimistic behavior can cause depressed feelings, as well.
Episodes of depression associated with anxiety disorder recovery
Anxiety disorder sufferers can also experience episodes of depression as a result of feeling hopeless about anxiety disorder and recovery. For instance, if a person is feeling trapped in anxiety disorder, that can be experienced as feeling depressed.
We’ve mentioned some of the reasons why a person can feel depressed from anxiety and pessimistic thinking. There are many other reasons, as well, such as a side effect of medication (psychotropic medications often cause depression as a side effect), unhealthy diet; lack of exercise; the result of a medical condition, the result of a combination of mental health conditions; and so on.
For more detailed information about why anxiety is often associated with depression, feeling depressed, and low mood, Recovery Support members can read more about the “Depression; Feeling Depressed” symptom in the Recovery Support symptoms section (Chapter 9).
How depression causes anxiety?
Not only can anxiety cause depression, but depression can also cause anxiety. For instance, if a person is concerned about being depressed, that concern is apprehensive behavior, which causes the physiological, psychological, and emotional state of anxiety. So, worrying about being depressed and its implications can cause anxiety. If a person worries too much about depression, that worry can set up a vicious cycle of feeling depressed, then worrying about feeling depressed, that worry creates anxiety, that anxiety stresses the body, stress can cause depression, which the person further worries about, which creates more anxiety and stress, which further entrenches depression, and so on.
Anxiety and depression often overlap with one fueling the other.
Anxiety And Depression Treatment: How to get rid of the symptoms of depression when it’s associated with anxiety?
Since anxiety symptoms, including anxiety related depression, are caused by stress, the first line of treatment is reducing stress and for a long enough period so that the body can recover from the adverse effects of chronic stress. As the body’s level of stress diminishes over time, you should see anxiety related depression subside.
In addition to reducing stress, you also want to address your anxious behaviors so that they stop fueling stress and anxiety symptoms. We have many chapters that address anxiety and stress’s impact on the body, as well as how to overcome all of it, in the Recovery Support area of our website.
When episodes of depression, feeling depressed, and low mood are attitude related, working at making behavioral change will eliminate feelings of depression and the stress it causes…in time. Similar to anxiety disorder, when we address the cause of depression – the underlying factors that contribute to a pessimistic attitude and the feelings of being depressed – you’ll eliminate it and its symptoms.
Unfortunately, there are NO quick-fix cures for feeling depressed. You have to work at the above recommendations in order for results to appear later on. As your body’s stress diminishes and your behaviors change, you should see anxiety related depression subside.
Play the clip below for Jim Folk's commentary about the anxiety symptom depression, feeling depressed, and low mood.. Jim Folk is the president of anxietycentre.com.
Depression is a common symptom of anxiety. Jim Folk experienced all of the anxiety symptoms mentioned at this website, with many to severe degrees during his 12 year struggle with anxiety disorder, including severe bouts of depression.
Again, for a more detailed explanation about anxiety symptoms, including anxiety-caused depression, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have many chapters that address this information in the Recovery Support area of our website.
1. Targum, Steven D., and Maurizio Fava. “Fatigue as a Residual Symptom of Depression.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3225130/.
2. van, H M. “Can Stress Cause Depression?” NCBI PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16166019.
3. Kahn, Sarah, and Rafeeq A. Kahn. “Chronic Stress Leads to Anxiety and Depression.” SciMedCentral, www.jscimedcentral.com/Psychiatry/psychiatry-5-1091.pdf.
4. Nutt, David, et al. “Sleep Disorders as Core Symptoms of Depression.” NCBI PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2008, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181883/.
5. Shields, Grant, et al. “Stress-Related Changes in Personality: A Longitudinal Study of Perceived Stress and Trait Pessimism.” Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics, Elsevier, 3 Aug. 2016, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092656616300885.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder coach, counselor, or therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.
For more information about our Anxiety Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; common Anxiety Signs and Symptoms; common Anxiety Attack Symptoms; the symptoms of panic attack disorder; anxiety Recovery Support area; information about Anxiety; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate link or graphic below:
Return to our anxiety symptoms page.
Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated September 3, 2018.