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3 min read

4 Ways to Improve Anxiety and Depression Symptoms

Key Takeaways:

  • Anxiety and depression symptoms interfere with day to day life for many patients
  • There are a several ways to improve symptoms, including self-care, lifestyle changes, medication, and therapy.
  • Therapy with a licensed professional is often your best bet for depression and generalized anxiety disorder

Anxiety and depression are both mental health issues, but they differ greatly in their symptoms.

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, and unease about something with an uncertain outcome or about day-to-day activities.

Depression, on the other hand, is characterized by persistent sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness. Various things, such as stress, life events, or a medical condition, can also trigger it.

While they present differently, the treatments for these two conditions often overlap. Let's dive into treatment options for anxiety and depression so you can have the information you need to begin or continue your healing journey.

Remember to speak with a medical professional about any changes in your mood or behavior, or if you have any questions about the treatments mentioned here.

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Anxiety and Depression Treatment Resources on this page:

Psychotherapy or Talk Therapy for Depression and Anxiety Symptoms

Medication For Depression and Anxiety

Lifestyle Changes for Anxiety and Depression

Support Groups for Depression and Anxiety

Psychotherapy or Talk Therapy for Depression and Anxiety Symptoms

Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy or just "therapy," is a form of mental health treatment that involves talking with a licensed therapist or counselor.

In therapy, patients can address and talk about their feelings and emotions and learn more about their mental disorders in general.

Therapy can help you identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors, as well as learn how to cope with difficult emotions, make better decisions, and improve your relationships.

There are many treatments for anxiety and depression that are used in therapy, but some of the most common and well-studied include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy
  • Emotion-focused therapy

If you're not already in therapy for anxiety or depression, this should be your first step. A licensed therapist is trained to put you on the safest and most effective path to improvement.

Medication For Depression and Anxiety

Only take medication for anxiety and depression as prescribed by a medical professional.

There are several medications available to people with anxiety disorders or depression. Let's look at two of the most common classes: SSRIs and benzodiazepines.

SSRIs for Depression: What Are They and How Do They Work?

SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are medications that work by tricking your brain into producing more chemicals that stabilize your mood (namely, serotonin.)

Your brain uses serotonin to transmit "everything is okay" signals between neurons. After every time it does this, there is a little bit of serotonin left over between the neurons, which your brain sucks back up to recycle.

While it sucks back (or "reuptakes") the serotonin, your brain logs the amount that was left over and uses that information to determine whether it needs to increase or decrease the amount it produces on a daily basis.

In people with depression, it is thought that this reuptake and adjustment process is imbalanced.

SSRIs work by blocking the brain's ability to suck leftover serotonin back, tricking it into thinking it's producing way less than it actually is. As a reaction to this information, your brain will then begin to increase the amount of serotonin it produces. People taking SSRIs, after a few weeks, typically see a reduction in symptoms.

SNRIs (or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) do the same thing, just with a broader range of chemicals.

how an ssri works

Benzodiazepines for Anxiety

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs often used to treat anxiety disorders. They work by making it easier for your brain to use a chemical called GABA, which is responsible for inhibiting nerve function and some cognitive functions.

Essentially, benzodiazepines make it easier for your brain to not do stuff. This can help with anxiety, which is often characterized by the brain doing too much stuff.

Speak to a psychiatrist if you have questions about, or think you may want to try, any medications for mental health conditions.

Lifestyle Changes for Anxiety and Depression

Lifestyle changes are an essential part of managing both physical and mental health. In fact, living a healthier lifestyle, when combined with therapy or medication, has been shown to dramatically improve symptoms in many patients with depression.

If you want to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, then the following lifestyle changes may be able to help:

  • Eating healthier
  • Exercising
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Reducing stress

Note: While lifestyle changes alone may be able to significantly reduce your symptoms, many patients find they must combine them with therapy or medication. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional to talk about your options.

Support Groups for Depression and Anxiety

Support groups give people with mental illnesses a safe place to talk to each other and learn from each other.

They can be a great way to connect with others going through similar experiences, reducing feelings of isolation and providing practical advice for managing mental health.

Your doctor or mental health professional can provide information about support groups or group therapy in your area.

It can be hard to live with a mental illness, but it's important to remember that there are many ways to deal with symptoms and improve quality of life. Asking for help is vital to addressing mental illness and can make a big difference in how you feel.

It is also important to remember that everyone experiences mental illness differently, so what works for one person may not work for another. Talk to your doctor or mental health professional to find the best treatment plan.

Therapy for Depression and Anxiety: Williamsburg Therapy Group

Williamsburg Therapy Group offers psychological and psychiatric services in Brooklyn, NY, as well as in Austin, TX. We aim to connect people experiencing various mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression, to our team of world-class psychologists.

Learn more about our process from doctors and therapists by giving us a call or booking an appointment today.

Book a Therapy Session in NYC or Austin Today

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