Anxiety and depression are among the most common of all mental health symptoms.
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:
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, and fatigue. 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.
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 about anxiety disorders and depressive disorders, please visit the website of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America at www.adaa.org.