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Depression and anxiety may be separate conditions but they are usually intrinsically linked. Anxiety often leads to depression, and depression can often contribute to anxiety.

Recent studies indicate that over 50% of people suffering from anxiety or generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) also experience severe depression. Most patients felt that the depression was caused by their anxiety disorder and not the other way around.

It's easy to see how depression can quickly follow anxiety. Anxiety manifests itself in feelings of foreboding, tension and irritability. It may seem that the best way to stay safe is to become increasingly insular and to avoid social interaction. But of course this leads to boredom, loneliness and eventually depression.

However, research has also suggested that many people who are receiving treatment for severe depression can also develop anxiety. This is particularly true in cases of bipolar disorder where the patient experiences extreme swings in mood and energy levels.

But it's worth remembering, that in many cases a patient can have severe anxiety without depression or serious depression without developing anxiety. Each case can be very different.

This is why diagnosis by an mental health expert is essential to establish the roots of the problem. GPs should be your first source of help but it can be very difficult for anyone other than a mental health specialist to accurately identify your condition or conditions. Most GPs will refer you to a specialist unless your condition is obvious but don't be afraid to request a referral if they don't.

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