Anxiety & Depression

Anxiety and depression are among the most common of all mental health symptoms.

Anxiety

ors

Anxiety is characterized by excessive worry and/or fear, and it may lead to avoidance of feared situations. Anxiety may be accompanied by symptoms such as insomnia and muscle tension. Anxiety may also be the consequence of a disorder such as body dysmorphic disorder, olfactory reference syndrome, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Anxiety disorders have excessive fear and anxiety, as well as behavioral abnormalities such as avoidance of anxiety-provoking situations, as their core feature. Anxiety disorders are characterized by significant distress or impairment in functioning, which helps differentiate them from normal fear and anxiety.

Here are the anxiety disorders that I primarily treat and their core features:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder: Persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about various things (such as school or work performance) that’s difficult to control
  • Social anxiety disorder: Marked fear or anxiety about social situations that involve the possibility of being scrutinized by others
  • Panic disorder: Recurrent, unexpected panic attacks that come out of the blue
  • Agoraphobia: Marked fear or anxiety (often with avoidance) about being in situations such as using public transportation or driving, being in open spaces (such as a parking lot), being in enclosed spaces (such as a theater), standing in line or being in a crowd, or being outside of the home alone.

Depression

Depressed mood may consist of feeling “down,” sad, gloomy, or irritable. Depressed mood may be accompanied by symptoms such as decreased interest or pleasure in activities, sleep disturbance, appetite disturbance, feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, poor concentration, fatigue, or feelings that life isn't worth living. Depression may occur as a consequence of a disorder such as body dysmorphic disorder, olfactory reference syndrome, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

There are a number of depressive disorders, such as major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia). Depressive disorders are characterized by significant distress or impairment in functioning (for example, socially, academically, or at a job), which helps differentiate them from more normal sadness or unhappiness.

Treatment

Before starting treatment for anxiety or depression, it’s important to ascertain whether these symptoms may be attributable to the effects of a drug of abuse, a medication, or a medical illness.

Certain medications, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, are often effective for anxiety/anxiety disorders and depression/depressive disorders. And various kinds of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, have also been shown to be effective for these conditions. These treatments help a majority of people get better.

For More Information

For more information about anxiety disorders and depressive disorders, please visit the website of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America at www.adaa.org.

Contact Me

I've been evaluating and treating people with anxiety, depression, and many other psychiatric conditions for more than 25 years. If you'd like to see me for a one-time evaluation so I can give you treatment recommendations, or if you live in the New York City area and would like to see me for ongoing treatment, please call the Weill Cornell Psychiatry Specialty Center at 646-962-2820, email me at kap9161@med.cornell.edu (all lower case), or contact us.