Anxiety and depression can be debilitating and destructive influences in your life. Having one or both can make the idea of even trying to deal with them seem impossible, not worth it, or a lost cause.
That is the very nature of these disorders- they can manipulate how you think and feel, and this can affect your actions and outlook in life.
Anxiety is more than feeling nervous before speaking in front of a crowd or going to a new place.
Depression reaches well beyond being sad that you received a bad grade in school or feedback at work.
These scenarios can cause you to feel the traits of being anxious or depressed, but that does not mean it is a disorder.
Anxiety and depression are emotional responses. When it gets out of hand and out of your control, it is time to seek help.
The treatment for anxiety and depression does not require you to follow some specific set of rules- every person is different and will require different methods and techniques.
This is also incredibly important to remember when dealing with others who have these disorders.
Knowing how to help someone with anxiety or depression means you understand that it is more than just a temporary feeling and that it is out of that person’s control.
For some, anxiety treatment without medication may work.
This is also true for depression.
When these things are caused by a chemical or physiological problem within the brain and body, seeking anxiety treatment medication or depression medication may be the answer.
There are also other ways to address and treat anxiety and depression, such as meditation.
No solution will be immediately evident, and this can be very frustrating when you feel lost.
When your brain is telling you to give up, that everything is out to get you, or that nothing even matters it is hard to keep a positive outlook.
Think about anxiety and depression as being disorders or illnesses just like diabetes is- it is a real problem that you are not making up, and there is help.
Types of Anxiety
Being anxious is a certain feeling.
Anxiety disorders are medical conditions, and anxiety can be classified in different ways.
This can affect what treatment may be administered or what therapies may be tried.
One type of anxiety may be negatively affected by the treatment for another, so it is important to fully discuss and understand your anxiety with a professional who is unbiased.
Self diagnosis can be dangerous, but you should also know information on possibilities. You may also have more than one type of anxiety.
The main types of anxiety are Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Phobia, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Phobias, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
They all differ in their causes, presentations, and treatments. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common type.
It presents as an ongoing or constant state of tension and nervousness, both in the mental and physical sense.
GAD does not have a specific cause, or it does not give you the ability to take a break from anxiety.
GAD is often present in those who have other anxiety disorders. Social phobia is an irrational fear of social situations.
Whilst some apprehension or nervousness in new situations or uncomfortable environments is normal, the anxiety associated with social phobia becomes disruptive of life and normal activities.
Social phobia may present as constantly feeling like you are going to embarrass yourself, being unable to cope in social situations, or viewing public interaction as being inherently negative.
Panic disorder is the opposite of GAD- it is not an ongoing feeling of anxiety, but rather an intense sense of doom.
This causes mental and physical symptoms, and is characterized by having and fearing panic attacks.
Panic attacks can cause scary physical symptoms like palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, and dizziness.
arise during the peak of attacks- feeling of certain death, health anxiety, and feeling helpless.
These attacks can be triggered by physical sensation, stress, or they may not have a specific cause.
If you fear panic attacks without actually having them, that also is indicative of panic disorder.
Anxiety from Agoraphobia
Agoraphobia is the fear of going out in public or into unfamiliar spaces.
This can be extreme wherein the patient never leaves their home, or it can be less so in that they only go out when it is absolutely essential.
Agoraphobia is often caused by panic attacks, and can happen as a response to a traumatic event.
A preoccupation with personal safety that goes well beyond the normal is indicative of this as well.
Specific phobias are fear of specific things- spiders, heights, etc.
The fear is debilitating- being afraid of a spider may mean you rely on someone else to kill them, but having arachnophobia means that spiders inflict excessive fear and terror.
Some people with specific phobias feel this way by just thinking of what they fear.
PTSD happens as a result of experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event.
Symptoms can appear or continue for years after the event. Reliving what happened, having triggers, and general emotional trouble are all symptoms of PTSD.
OCD is an extremely destructive and disruptive anxiety disorder.
Obsessions over specific thoughts and compulsions to perform particular behaviors are what makes up OCD.
These can be linked as well- a person may feel that if they do not complete a behavior or routine that a bad thought will become reality.
OCD is much more than just wanting things to be clean or in order.
Someone with OCD can also value hygiene like anyone else, but they may also be washing their hands until they bleed to complete their “need”.
How to Treat Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety Treatment Medication
Many people find success when using different anxiety medications as part of their therapy and management plan.
One medication may affect you in a very negative way, whilst that same medication is exactly what someone else needs to be better.
Treating anxiety and depression through medicine is a well established method, but it does often require trial and error, as well as great patience and understanding.
Medication can be given as a preventive and ongoing treatment that helps someone to manage their symptoms and improve over time.
Medication is also how to treat anxiety attacks in certain cases, as different kinds can be taken on an as-needed basis.
The information here should not be used in substitution of a medical doctor’s or professional’s advice.
Antidepressants are commonly used to address depression and its symptoms, as suggested in the name.
These medications are also used for treating anxiety disorders. For newly diagnosed anxiety patients, antidepressants are often the first line of treatment.
There is abundant evidence of antidepressants helping anxiety, so it makes sense to take the path more traveled in cases like this.
The most common types of antidepressants used are SSRIs and SNRIs. SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and SNRIs, or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, change and regulate chemicals in the brain responsible for mood and emotional reactions.
SSRIs can be used to treat all types of anxiety disorders, and SNRIs can be as well. SNRIs are also the first choice treatment for generalized anxiety disorder.
Common SSRIs include Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro. Common SNRIs include Effexor and Cymbalta.
Other types of antidepressants that can be used as part of anxiety treatment are bupropion and tricyclic antidepressants.
Bupropion is often labelled as Wellbutrin, Zyban, or Buproban.
Tricyclic antidepressants include Pamelor, Elavil, and Tofranil.
When a patient and their doctor or psychiatrist ask themselves how to calm anxiety or how to beat anxiety in moments of intense emotion, medication is introduced as being needed only in those times.
Benzodiazepines reduce abnormal activity in the brain, and they start working very quickly.
Unlike SSRIs, SNRIs, and other medications, benzodiazepines do not take months of persistent dosage to show improvement.
They can be taken at the beginning or in the middle of anxiety attacks, or as part of treatment alongside other medications.
Other medications that may be used for anxiety include beta-blockers and buspirone, depending on symptoms and severity.
All of these medications, as well as the countless others not discussed here, have side effects that must be weighed against their potential benefit.
Side effects such as weight gain may make a certain medication a very poor choice for a particular patient.
Some also carry the risk of dependency.
Doing research will help give you some understanding and knowledge to advocate for yourself, but you should always consult a professional.
Anxiety Treatment without Medication
Anxiety does not always need to be addressed through the use of medication.
Supplemental therapy can also be used alongside medication as a way to further its benefit, or to provide benefits it does not on its own.
Treatment can be found through counseling or therapies that require you to be in a professional’s office, but anxiety treatment at home may also be an option.
This is especially beneficial to those who are anxious about medical environments, leaving their residence, or who may be ill in other ways.