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If You Have Anxiety, You Need to Be Aware of These “Bridge Symptoms”

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The bridge between anxiety and depression could lead to new ways of looking at each mental health disorder. I’m Kyle Kittleson. This is your MedCircle Weekly News.

New research is out on the relationship between anxiety and depression. These two conditions often occur at the same time, and researchers suggest that one condition could cause the other through something called “bridge symptoms.”

According to the article,

A bridge symptom can be conceptualized as a stepping-stone in a pathway from one disorder to another; the presence of this symptom increases the likelihood that an individual will develop the secondary disorder. For example, one such pathway might begin with a person who becomes socially fearful, then starts avoiding social situations, and then develops a depressed mood as a result of the social isolation.

In the study of 130 women from ages 18-59, researchers found that feelings of “worthlessness” acted as the strongest bridge symptom between depression and social anxiety. Someone whose anxiety keeps them from being social could start to feel negative about themselves, and those feelings could then develop into depression.

So what does this mean for treatment? Well, by targeting bridge symptoms, professionals may help patients stop the spread of one disorder to another, or decrease the rate of developing symptoms of another disorder. So, targeting bridge symptoms could result in lessening the symptoms of both disorders simultaneously.

Anxiety is the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorder and is often the most misunderstood. Start your anxiety education in our original series, Understanding the Anxious Self with the expert herself, Dr. Ramani.

Source: Big Think


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