Anxious Depression: What You Need to Know

Apr 04, 2024
Anxious Depression: What You Need to Know
Anxious depression is a mental health disorder that combines symptoms of both depression and anxiety, making it especially challenging to treat. Luckily, we have solutions. Here’s how we can help you manage your symptoms.

Major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issues affecting Americans today. In fact, depression and anxiety together make up about 30% of all mental health disorders, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

While occasional “sadness” or anxious thoughts are common to all of us, people with these disorders suffer from symptoms that are both chronic and severe enough to interfere with daily living. What’s more, many people suffer from both depression and anxiety at the same time, a condition sometimes referred to as anxious depression. 

At Cora Health Solutions, Betsy Serrano, PMHNP, uses advanced, patient-centered techniques to help patients manage the challenges associated with anxious depression. In this post, she offers a brief review of anxious depression to help patients and loved ones understand its symptoms and the treatment options that can help.

Understanding anxious depression

Having two mental health issues that occur together isn’t unusual, but it’s especially true when it comes to anxiety and depression. In fact, a recent review in the American Journal of Psychiatry reported that nearly half of people with depression also had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Anxious depression has been defined as having depression and an anxiety disorder at the same time or having depression along with a high level of anxiety but without a specific “type” of anxiety disorder. 

Mixed anxiety-depressive disorder (MADD) is similar to anxious depression, and sometimes, the terms are used interchangeably. As a diagnostic category, MADD includes people who have symptoms of both anxiety and depression, but neither is severe enough to meet separate diagnostic criteria.

Regardless of which definition you use, the fact is that people who have symptoms of both depression and anxiety tend to have more functional impairment, more suicidal thoughts, and a poorer response to therapy, along with a more chronic course of illness.

Treating anxious depression

Because of the challenges associated with anxiety and depression occurring together, it’s important to seek treatment from a professional with experience in managing coexisting mental health issues. Our team works closely with every patient to finetune therapy based on their needs and responses.

Most patients benefit from a combination of therapy and medication. Therapy options include cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and mindfulness-based therapy — and some people benefit from more than one type.

Medications include antidepressant and antianxiety medicines balanced to ensure dosing optimizes the effects of both. To achieve the best results, you may need to try different medications or different doses, depending on your symptoms and their severity.

In addition, patients also benefit from lifestyle changes, like improving sleep hygiene, practicing stress management techniques, and getting regular exercise. It’s also important to avoid alcohol and illicit drug use and be sure to let our team know about any other medications you’re taking, as well as vitamins and other supplements, to avoid drug interactions.

Bottom line: Treatment can help

Whether you have depression, anxiety, or a combination of the two, our team can help you find a solution to help you feel better and improve your quality of life. To get started, request an appointment online or over the phone with Cora Health Solutions in the Biltmore area of Phoenix, Arizona,  today.