Anxiety Generates Depression. And what is a Nittany Lion?

Recently we decided to place more emphasis upon the relationship between anxiety and depression. For a variety of reasons, including common neurochemistry, it’s a match made in heaven (or hell?).

Just over a week ago we posted, “Anxiety & Depression. Badabing Badaboom.” And now we’d like to revisit the topic by summarizing an interesting piece of research conducted by a psych team at Penn State University.

Okay, a sidebar. If you follow sports you probably know Penn State’s mascot is the Nittany Lion. I’ve always wondered what one of them thar things was. Well, “Nittany” reportedly is derived from a Native American term meaning “single mountain.” Apparently this description was assigned the mountain that separates two valleys overlooking Penn State’s home town, State College. So there you have it.

Anyway, the guts of the research is the discovery that “anxiety sensitivity” (the fear of feeling anxious) is a predictor of depressive symptoms in folks considered to be above average worriers.

And what I find really cool is the research specified that what they refer to as the “fear of cognitive dyscontrol” (fear of being unable to concentrate) and the “fear of publicly observable anxiety symptoms” proved to be big-time predictors of depressive symptoms. Conversely, the “fear of cardiovascular symptoms” and the “fear of respiratory symptoms” didn’t appear to be predictors.

The research team was captained by Brian Rabian, associate clinical professor and director of Penn State’s psychology clinic. And the findings were published in the 12.09 edition of the Journal of Anxiety Disorders. The research was funded by a Pennsylvania Psychological Foundation Education Award.

The Take Away…

  • We are absolutely thrilled that a top-notch research team is addressing the relationship between anxiety and depression
  • It’s revealing that the two issues that turned out to be predictors of depressive symptoms are the ones that could lead to public scrutiny and the potential for being harshly judged and ridiculed
  • Identifying the relationship between anxiety and depression provides a very detailed treatment target
  • Current depression therapies deal primarily with depressive symptoms, not taking into account their anxiety precursors
  • This is  yet another opportunity for us to connect some dots, helping us understand the dynamics of our pathology; giving us permission to remove burdens of self-blame and guilt

What’s Yours?

So what do you think? How can the research be brought to your life?