It’s National Anxiety & Depression Awareness Week, and really, these conditions deserve our focus and attention all year round. 

In the world of mental health services, anxiety and depression are two of the most common concerns for patients seeking treatment. Both of these are a major part of therapy and treatment delivered by both outpatient and inpatient offices of mental health providers.

It’s important to remember, though, that both actually incorporate a range of issues and conditions that impact people’s lives. In a sense, different people have different anxiety-related or depressive conditions that affect them in different ways, requiring different treatments and treatment modalities.

What Is Anxiety?

At its core, anxiety is something that’s normal, but anxiety disorders are too much of something that’s naturally a part of the human experience.

Anxiety refers to a condition caused by a sensation of danger or trouble. A neurologist might talk about how anxiety affects the brain’s amygdala, where humans experience a type of ‘fight or flight mechanism’ under stress or perceived danger. Mental health professionals talking about modern anxiety often point out that those fear responses were critical to the early human’s survival; but that when they are poorly applied to modern life, they can be a driver of anxiety disorders.

Anxiety can also activate a patient’s vital signs, including heart rate and blood pressure. It can affect a person’s adrenal levels, which will cause certain kinds of symptoms.

Professionals diagnosing and treating anxiety disorders talk about various kinds of anxiety, including generalized anxiety disorder, phobia, and panic. Panic has its own symptoms, including sweating, palpitations, and chest pain.

In general, doctors view anxiety on a particular spectrum of diagnosis and work toward treatment from that basis. Panic disorders, in particular, get their own treatments and consideration. Talk therapy is often used to address various kinds of anxiety problems, where patients can learn more about what is making them anxious and how to solve underlying problems.

What Is Depression?

Depression is something clinicians often characterized as a mood disorder, that involves persistent sadness and loss of interest in daily routine.

In fact, those are two major symptoms of a depressive disorder. When a person experiences a loss of interest in usual activities, including core activities like eating and drinking, that can indicate clinical depression. Mental health professionals also talk about how depression can cause problems with obligatory tasks, like work, as well. “Refusal to work” or sudden decrease in work productivity is often a part of depression diagnosis.

To diagnose depression, doctors often ask about someone’s feelings during a given set of days or weeks.

One other notable aspect of diagnosing anxiety and depression is that many mental health professionals view these as two sides of the same coin. They manifest differently. Where anxiety provokes different kinds of stimulation, as mentioned above, depression tends to leave a patient less active in those vital signs — heart rate, blood pressure, and adrenal response. But at their core, anxiety and depression can share risk factors, triggers, and more.

Anxiety and Depression: How To Reach Out

People who experience anxiety or depressive disorders can reach clinicians who can help. The simplest way is to call your provider’s office and ask about setting up an appointment with a mental health professional as a new patient. Those who are having more urgent problems can call a crisis hotline or seek help at an inpatient facility.

Treatment for Anxiety and Depression

There are various types of treatment for each of these conditions. Many experts will separate treatment into three major categories — medication, therapy, and self-care.

Therapy involves different forms of counseling and behavior modification that show patients how to control their own clinical conditions, and live with the impact of either an anxiety disorder or a depressive disorder.

Medication involves a range of modern drugs specifically designed to address chronic anxiety or depression. Some of these are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or “SSRIs,” of which there are various pills and dosages for a patient’s particular condition.

Self-care is an increasingly valuable part of treatment for anxiety and depression. Many doctors would say that both of these conditions respond well to daily exercise, for example. Establishing a routine for eating, drinking and sleeping can also impact a person’s brain chemistry in a positive way, which can help with treatment for anxiety or depression, or both. Therapy may include attention to normalizing sleep and other routines.

Contact Envision Medical Group by visiting our website or calling us directly at (248) 741-6909 if you are in need of a path toward treatment and better quality of life.

We envision better healthcare. We envision a better, mentally healthy you.