You've noticed some changes lately. Maybe you feel sad, hopeless, or don’t get any joy out of activities that used to be fun. Sounds like depression, right?
Maybe that's not all. Sometimes you're worried, afraid, and just plain uneasy. Isn't that a sign of anxiety?
Not so fast. It’s normal to have ups and downs or to have things you’re concerned about. You might be going through a difficult time. Your doctor can help you figure out if it’s actually a condition and what would help.
Depression and anxiety are like flip sides of the same coin, says therapist Nancy B. Irwin, PsyD. "Being depressed often makes us anxious, and anxiety often makes us depressed."
If it turns out that you have both conditions, there are lots of ways to get help.
Talk Therapy (Counseling)
A professional therapist can develop a plan to treat your anxiety and depression at the same time.
Some types of therapy that can help are:
- Cognitive behavioral (teaches you to adjust your thoughts and actions)
- Interpersonal (shows you how to communicate better)
- Problem-solving (gives you skills to manage your symptoms)
You can find a therapist who specializes in these through the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. Or ask your doctor for a referral.
Your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant drug that treats both depression and anxiety symptoms, such as an “SSRI” (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), an SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor), or others such as bupropion and mirtazapine.
Some examples of SSRIs are:
- Citalopram (Celexa)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Symbyax)
- Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
Some examples of SNRIs are:
- Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
- Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
- Levomilnacipran (Fetzima)
- Venlafaxine (Effexor)
Tell your doctor about all your symptoms so he can decide which is best. Also mention any supplements you take, even if they are “natural,” in case they could affect your treatment.
Keep in mind that it may take a few weeks or months for your medicine to work. You may have to try a few different kinds before you find one that's best for you.