Are anxiety and depression related?

Depression and Anxiety: Less Similar Than Thought

Scientists from the Netherlands compared blood samples from people with depression, anxiety disorders and healthy people and found that people with depression had more markers of inflammation. In addition, changes in lipid metabolism were observed in them: for example, depressed people had high levels of triglycerides in their blood, but lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids. In contrast, people with anxiety disorder had a fat composition that was similar to the healthy control group.

The changes in lipid metabolism were also related to the severity of the depression. In other words: the more the blood lipids were changed, the more pronounced the depression. This work showed for the first time that the immune system and lipid metabolism change in depressed people, but not in anxious people. This could mean that different, more targeted treatments for treating anxiety and depression are possible: The research team is now planning to test whether depressed people with signs of inflammation respond to treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs.

In depression and anxiety, many risk factors and symptoms are the same, and both conditions are often treated with the same drugs. Over 50 percent of patients with major depression have or have also had anxiety. Nevertheless, they are defined as different diseases, although no clear biochemical differentiation options existed until now.


Source: study summary on the congress website

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