How is the combination of depression and anxiety conditions treated
Anxiety is a condition that commonly occurs with depression. Some anxiety conditions, such as social phobia, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, may predispose someone for the development of a depressive disorder because of the significant impact that severe anxiety can have on a person’s functioning. Likewise, depression can also trigger the onset of an anxiety disorder. The treatment for both conditions is often very similar, and both conditions can often be addressed with the same medication or type of therapy. The SSRIs are a very useful treatment for many anxiety disorders and thus are ideal in persons who suffer from both anxiety and depression. As in the treatment of depression, the SSRIs can take a few weeks to have their full benefit for anxiety. Also, higher dosing of SSRIs is often needed to address anxiety, even after depressive symptoms have remitted on a given dosage. Because of the delayed onset of relief, short-term treatment of anxiety is sometimes necessary, particularly in cases of severe anxiety that results in significant impairment.
In the short-term, anxiety is better treated with benzodiazepines, which typically provide rapid relief of anxious symptoms but are controlled substances that can be habit forming and thus are not generally recommended for long-term use. Buspironeis a nonaddictive antianxiety medication that is used for generalized anxiety. It may be a better choice in persons with substance abuse histories or active substance abuse. Buspirone does not offer immediate relief of anxiety. It also requires 4 to 6 weeks before a full effect is seen. Concurrent anxiety can result in refractory depression, and thus, it is important that untreated anxious symptoms are addressed if there seems to be little response to an antidepressant.
Psychotherapy is a very important treatment for anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy in particular has been demonstrated in studies to have beneficial results for a variety of anxiety conditions. Although medications are very effective in reducing severe anxiety, significant residual symptoms are often left, and therapy helps to reduce these further. A combination of therapy and medication is typically the best treatment approach for a variety of anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.