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What are Anxiety and Depression?

Mental health disorders occur when there are disturbances in your behavior, cognition, or emotional regulation.1 They are usually associated with impairment in important areas of functioning. Small disturbances in these aspects of life are common, but when they cause you significant distress and/or interfere with your daily life, they are considered a mental health disorder.2

Anxiety and depression are the two most prevalent mental health disorders.

Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. It causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work, at school, and at home. Fortunately, it is also very treatable.

Depressed Hispanic Girl With Sad Emotions And Feelings
Depression is an umbrella term that includes multiple disorders, including major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, postpartum depression, and seasonal depression.3

Similarly, anxiety is an umbrella term that covers generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.3 Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive fear and worry and related behavioral disturbances.1 Like depression, anxiety is quite common and can encompass a range of symptoms and behaviors.

It is important to understand that anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. It can alert us to dangers and help us prepare and pay attention. Anxiety disorders differ from normal feelings of nervousness or anxiousness, and they involve excessive fear or anxiety. Also, like depression, they are usually treatable through medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.


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