Anxiety and depression are by far the two most common mental illnesses diagnosed in the United States, and probably the world, although there haven’t been studies done to confirm it. They both can be debilitating in their effects, and are very difficult disorders to live with
Unfortunately, most people with anxiety and depression do just that; live with it. Most studies done of the diseases show that more than 75% of people who are clinically depressed go without treatment, as well as over 90% of people with anxiety disorders.
This is especially disturbing, since both anxiety and depression are the most treatable forms of mental illnesses there are. There are a variety of medications that are available today to treat both anxiety and depression, and there are a lot of helpful resources out there that can help find the road to recovery from your symptoms.
The two diseases are not fully understood, but are definitely related in some key ways. People suffering from anxiety disorders are many times more likely to also suffer from depression than someone without an anxiety condition. The same is true with people suffering from depression, in that they are more likely to also have an anxiety disorder. It is not surprising then that many of the anxiety and depression treatments are similar or even exactly the same.
Traditionally, anxiety disorders have been treated with the use of sedatives. The first and most famous sedative used to treat anxiety is alcohol. Due to its toxic effects and highly addictive nature, barbiturates quickly replaced alcohol as a treatment for anxiety after their introduction to the medical world in 1912. Of course, it was soon realized that barbiturates suffer from many of the same drawbacks as alcohol, and today benzodiazapines have all but completely replaced barbiturates in anxiety treatment.
While benzodiazapines are effective in treating anxiety, they too are highly addictive chemicals, and can actually make the symptoms of depression worse. So if you are worried about addiction, or are suffering from both anxiety and depression, you should avoid using sedatives of any kind to treat your symptoms.
There are likewise some drugs that are good for treating certain forms of depression, but will actually worsen an anxiety disorder. Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors, such as Wellbutrin, have been shown effective in the treatment of depression, but are not recommended if you also suffer from anxiety.
The SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are medications that are effective in treating both anxiety and depression. Support groups, therapy, counseling, exercise, and a healthy diet, are all non-pharmaceutical ways of treating both disorders. If you suspect that you suffer from anxiety and depression, or either one, you should see a doctor. Both disorders are highly treatable, but will likely only get worse without taking steps to recover.