KEY TRUTH #3:

Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder are treatable

Talking to your doctor about Peace of Mind:

As we stated earlier, everyone deserves to have peace of mind. And today, there are effective treatments for depression and generalized anxiety disorder that have helped guide many people towards it. Some of these treatments include talk therapy (psychotherapy) and medications.

Since everyone experiences depression and generalized anxiety disorder in his/her own way, treatments should be individual too.

But how do you find an appropriate treatment for you? It all starts by having an open, honest discussion with your doctor. Sharing your feelings can be difficult, but remember — you don't have to live with the symptoms of depression or generalized anxiety disorder. After all, your doctor is there to help. He or she has experience in treating these illnesses, and is ready, willing and able to lead you towards peace of mind.

Here are a few tips to help you approach your doctor:

  • Try jotting down your feelings/symptoms in the few weeks before your appointment, and bring your record with you. Are the symptoms ongoing, or do they come and go? Are they triggered by something specific? This information will be very helpful to your doctor.
  • Don't forget to mention your state of mind when you're talking to your doctor about the state of your body, e.g. physical problems such as headaches or nausea. Have you been feeling out of sorts? Worrying more than usual? Let your doctor know.
  • Bring along a close friend or family member to help you remember anything you may have forgotten, or just for support. They might also be able to help you give your doctor a more detailed family history.
  • If you can, have a few questions ready about depression or generalized anxiety disorder, any available treatments, or what to expect. Having your questions answered can certainly help bring you peace of mind.

Treatment Options — TALK THERAPY

Today, two common and effective forms of talk therapy, or psychotherapy, are CognitiveBehaviorall Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT). Here's a look at the basics of each:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Many people with depression or generalized anxiety disorder have negative, self-defeating ways of thinking that have become so automatic, they aren't even aware of them. In CBT, a trained therapist helps you recognize and change these harmful patterns that can affect the way you feel about yourself, others, and the world around you. For instance, someone with depression or generalized anxiety disorder may have inappropriate guilt feelings about a particular situation and think, "It's all my fault," when they really had nothing to do with it. This can lead to feeling sad or hopeless, and it may be difficult to cope. Through CBT, people learn to break such cycles by replacing negative, unrealistic thoughts with more positive, realistic ones. By giving you a new understanding of how your thoughts affect your emotions, CBT can help relieve depression and anxiety symptoms and keep them from coming back.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

This form of therapy can help people with depression understand how their relationships affect their emotions, and vice versa. Specifically, IPT looks at the ways in which relationship disturbances, such as serious conflict, may be linked to depression symptoms like excessive guilt or low self-esteem. Examining relationships in this way helps many people gain insight into feelings they may not have been aware of. Through interpersonal therapy, you can learn different, more effective ways of handling difficult relationship issues. This, in turn, can help keep your symptoms under control.

Treatment Options — MEDICATIONS

As we saw in the "Causes" section, it's believed that some people with depression and generalized anxiety disorder may have an imbalance in certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. So how do antidepressant or antianxiety medications work? Some medications work on changing the level of these chemicals in the brain, which helps to ease the symptoms. Some of these may affect one neurotransmitter, while others may affect more than one neurotransmitter. Still other types of medications work in different ways.

As always, talking to your doctor early on is the best way to find the treatment that's appropriate for you.

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