There are millions of Americans who suffer from anxiety-related disorders – often with the end result being a panic attack. In addition to the anxiety that these people suffer, there is often the evil twin of depression present. This condition is typically present in women more often than men – although men are certainly not immune from this duality of disorder.
There have been significant clinical studies of this duality of disorders with some good findings. While there is no conclusive evidence as to the exact link between the two disorders there is clearly a connection.
Oftentimes the sufferer will not seek medical attention because their depression causes them to believe that they cannot be helped. Because the symptoms of an anxiety attack resemble other health events – like a heart attack or asthma – depressed patients are often too afraid to even ask for help, sustaining a panic attack.
The typical approach in terms of treatment includes both medication, for symptomatic relief, and behavioral therapy to get at the root cause of the aberrant thinking. What is in need of attention in extreme sufferers is the replacement of their inappropriate reaction to unknown events – a primary causal indicator – with appropriate processing of anxiety-provoking stimuli.
The effect of the presence of both these disorders often causes them to reinforce the effect of the other producing a dangerous spiral that produces a panic attack. The depressed person is often alone with their misery – feeling hopeless and experiencing a progressive reduction of self-image and self-worth. If the person is by nature one characterized by sensitivity or is highly emotional, this alone can generate the start of the anxiety spiral. The presence of a deflated ego and self-image often causes the depressed sufferer to assume that their condition is untreatable.
All of these characteristics of the combination of anxiety and depression reinforce their worsened condition until, often, the person become almost totally non-functional in terms of their ability to handle the load of everyday events.
The simultaneous treatment of Depression and Anxiety can be very effective and it is generally recognized that real behavioral therapy cannot be effective in the patient whose depression prevents the acceptance of the possibility of improvement.
Most duality treatment regimens include both significant lifestyle changes along with pure tranquilizers – like Valium – to treat the physical symptoms and antidepressants to impact the anxiety. The effectiveness of these medications is very good, especially in the category of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s). SSRI’s like Prozac and Zoloft work to cause the beneficial Serotonin to remain active in the brain instead of being reabsorbed by the producing cell. SSRI’s often produce dramatic reductions in depression.
Once the Depression is in remission, it is possible to begin treating the aberrant thinking that produces the anxiety – and eliminate it and anxiety attack.