Marin County Psychological Association
Marin County Psychological Association

What is anxiety depressive disorder?

Author: Dr. Mikol Davis

What is anxiety depressive disorder?Anxiety, according to the American Psychological Association, is characterized as an emotion that creates feelings of tension, worry, and increased blood pressure. Most often, patients with anxiety or anxiety depressive disorders have penetrating, recurring thoughts or worries. These things can range from day to day activities or specific events. These patients will sometimes avoid certain situations that would bring about their fears. Anxiety disorder can physically manifest itself in symptoms like sweating, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, and trembling. When these symptoms are extreme, patients feel that they are suffering from a heart attack. Those suffering from anxiety disorder may find it challenging to accomplish even the simplest of tasks for fear that something bad may happen to them or the possibility that something might go wrong. They have trouble staying in the moment or living for now and instead choose to focus on the “what if” scenarios. They complain that they can’t turn off racing thoughts through the mind that evoke a sense of panic. Besides the negative emotional toll on the mind that anxiety can take, the physical residual effects are detrimental as well. Patients report issues like weight loss, weight gain, hair loss, and stomach discomfort or pain.

There are different types of anxiety disorders here are just a few:

  • panic disorder,
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD),
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
  • social phobia (or social anxiety disorder),
  • specific phobias, and
  • generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Each anxiety disorder has different symptoms, but all the symptoms cluster around excessive, irrational fear and dread.

The good news is that there are many good treatment options for anxiety disorder and anxiety depressive disorder. One treatment option that clinical psychologists offer is called cognitive behavioral therapy. This technique helps patients change the connection between specific thoughts and their irrational fear and dread. The ability to self-monitor a persons own thinking and thoughts can empower patients to mastering the control of their emotions. This directly aids in stopping the perpetuation of anxiety or depressive feelings. Additional treatment options offer directed exercises for patients to learn breathing and relaxation techniques that can be used to eliminate, manage and assuages anxiety. In some cases especially when anxiety has been present in a patient’s life for many years, medications maybe the best way to provide rapid relieve of emotional symptoms.  Newer anti-depressive mediations called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) are often used as a first line of defense in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Fluoxetine (Prozac®), sertraline (Zoloft®), escitalopram (Lexapro®), paroxetine (Paxil®), and citalopram (Celexa®) are some of the SSRIs commonly prescribed for panic disorder, OCD, PTSD, and social phobia. SSRIs are also used to treat panic disorder when it occurs in combination with OCD, social phobia, or depression. Venlafaxine (Effexor®), a drug closely related to the SSRIs, is used to treat GAD. Patients often report experiencing less anxious feelings and increased mood from taking these medications within two to four weeks.

It is critical to understand that medications do not cure anxiety or anxiety depressive disorders.  Professional treatment (“psychotherapy”) is needed to develop new coping methods, along with a deeper understanding of complex workings of one’s mind. The implementation of successful alternative action strategies is required to sustain on-going change.

If you are suffering or know one that is suffering from anxiety depression disorder, don’t wait to get professional help; it is likely to only get worst over time. Anxiety is often irrational and cannot be treated rationally and logically. Many people do not truly understand anxiety disorder, and think they can just will themselves to be cured. Or maybe the anxiety symptoms will just magically go away if they try to no longer think about them. This fallacy cannot be further from the truth. Take action to stop the suffering of anxiety now. Marin County Psychological Association has many competent doctors with many years of successful treatment of many types of anxiety disorder. We are all passionate about helping.


Below are MCPA Members with specialties in this area: