**Now Accepting Clients - CA Residents Only**
May 18, 2022

Mixed Anxiety and Depressive Disorder Explained

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health disorders nowadays, and they are commonly discussed. However, have you ever heard of the two of them existing together? Mixed anxiety and depressive disorder (MADD) is not a rare thing, but it’s not so well-known. What does it mean to have this mixed condition – how does it present in an individual, and how can you recognize it if it happens to you?

Of course, plenty of people experience anxiety from time to time and have depressive episodes sometimes – it’s only natural. Life can’t always be fabulous, and we have to react to sad events and have periods when we’re down. Does that mean we all have this disorder or one of the related ones from the family of anxiety disorders? Not really – keep in mind that sadness and worry can be temporary, and they don’t always mean you have a diagnosis. Keep reading to learn how to recognize MADD.

What Happens When You Have Both Anxiety and Depression – What Is Mixed Anxiety and Depressive Disorder?

What exactly is the state of anxiety? It means that you feel unexplained worry. You’re scared that things will go wrong even if you don’t have any reason to think that they will, and you feel like the future is doomed. It seems like something is chasing you, and you can’t run away. Like you have the need to constantly turn around and check if there’s someone behind you, ready to attack.

Sounds horrible, right? Anxiety symptoms are often quite hard on the person who’s suffering. And what about depression? That’s unexplained sadness, bad mood, loss of confidence, and lack of motivation to do basically anything. When you mix these two, it’s clear that the combined disorder isn’t something fun.

Combined Anxiousness and the Depressive State of Mind Are More Severe Than the Same Amount of Symptoms Separately

To be diagnosed with MADD, a person has to have symptoms of both anxiousness and depression – but not enough of either one that they can be diagnosed with major depressive disorder or a generalized anxiety disorder. This type of medical condition is somewhere in between.

But here’s the catch – you may not have enough symptoms of anxiety disorder and depression when we look at them separately, but when the conditions are combined, they make for a serious problem. A person with MADD has trouble taking care of themself and functioning normally. This is one of many mental health conditions that just evolve with time, so putting off your first therapy appointment if you suspect you have this problem is never a wise idea.

What Causes MADD?

This is one of those conditions that can have various causes – it’s multifactorial but often includes a mix of genetic predispositions for mental health conditions and a wide range of life circumstances. What can help with developing MADD? Here is the list of the most common risk factors. Keep in mind that a person can have just one or two but can also have all of them.

  • Dealing with too much stress,
  • Substance abuse issues,
  • Any kind of survived trauma or violence,
  • Chronic pain or illness,
  • Low social standards,
  • Financial difficulties,
  • Lack of support from friends or family,
  • Lack of self-esteem.

Signs and Symptoms of This Mental Health Issue – How Can You Recognize It?

It can be hard to recognize the signs of MADD for one simple reason – neither anxiety nor depression are extremely emphasized. You can have a few symptoms of each, which can fly under the radar if you credit them to work stress or the current state of your life. Maybe you even underestimate the importance of mental exhaustion and brush it off like it’s no big deal.

However, keep in mind that one of the most common misconceptions about mental disorders is that you have to be so unwell you can’t get out of bed – we should be able to recognize the problem way before it gets to this stage. That’s why it’s crucial to work on awareness and spread information (this is where the impact of social media can be of great use). So, what should you look out for if you suspect MADD in yourself or someone close to you? Obviously, a mix of common signs of anxiousness and depression that can be found in related disorders.

  • Hopelessness,
  • Excessive worrying,
  • Unexplained or unprovoked sadness,
  • Irritability and anger,
  • Feelings of impending doom,
  • Problems with concentration and focus,
  • Lack of motivation,
  • Loss of confidence,
  • Avoiding activities that a person loves,
  • Avoiding chores and social gatherings.

Physical Symptoms Are Just as Common as Psychological Ones – But We Rarely Pay Them Much Attention

If you think that some psychological issues can get by without being noticed, wait till you hear about physical signs of psychological disorders. These are even easier to overlook because they often seem unimportant or look like some physical health problem.

Of course, they might mean something else – but you have to ask yourself whether they are combined with psychological health problems. Also, do they enhance when you start feeling worse than usual, or you are under more stress? The following things can be a part of psychological disorders, including MADD:

  • Headaches,
  • Dizziness,
  • Insomnia,
  • Oversleeping,
  • Constant exhaustion,
  • Muscle pain,
  • Stomach pain,
  • Irritable bowels,
  • Nausea,
  • Lack of sex drive.

What Is the Treatment for MADD?

So, what happens when you finally seek help and get diagnosed with MADD? Is this a treatable condition? Don’t worry – it can be cured, and you can get back to your usual self, but it will take time. More importantly, it will take a bit of effort on your side. Naturally, a great therapist and frequent therapy sessions are a must.

However, therapy sessions aren’t magic – it’s a tool you should use for help, and it doesn’t work if you don’t participate and actively engage, work on yourself, and do your best to implement what you’ve learned in sessions. This is why therapy doesn’t work for everyone – some people don’t allow it to work for them.

If the Depression or Anxiety Are Severe, You Might Require Medication

In some cases, people need to use medication as an additional way of support. This is mostly in more complicated, more severe cases – it doesn’t always happen. Oftentimes, people who struggle with MADD have a disbalance in neurotransmitters that adds to the issue and prevents them from improving when working with therapists.

Medications are of great use for stabilizing a person who has an extremely hard time, but they can’t fix MADD on their own. Pills always need to be combined with therapy, seeing as they don’t cure a symptom – they simply help you clear your head and feel calm enough to be able to listen to the therapist.

Usually, a group of SSRI antidepressants is prescribed to treat MADD – they affect the metabolism of serotonin, the so-called hormone of happiness. SSRIs increase the amount of serotonin in the brain, thus making you feel better. You have undoubtedly heard of the most common drugs from this group – Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram), and Zoloft (sertraline).

Make Sure You Have a Healthy Lifestyle – It Can Help Control the Symptoms

Your day-to-day life and habits can significantly affect the severity of psychological disorders. If you lack self-care, don’t sleep well, don’t eat healthy food, or don’t have any physical activity, the lifestyle will reflect on your psychological well-being. This has been proven over and over again, so it would be good to work on routines and check out some self-care ideas. Being kind to your body will result in a better state of mind, and you will see that the improvement will be obvious to your therapist soon enough.

Still, there’s one catch you have to be aware of. When people struggle mentally, they don’t have the energy for, well, anything. Eating vegetables and jogging will be the last thing on your mind if you can’t calm down or pull yourself away from depressing thoughts. That’s why self-care might be tough, at least until you start getting proper treatment.

Don’t Put Off Reaching Out to a Therapist – This Problem Can’t Be Fixed Without Therapy Sessions

We all know that it can be hard to admit you have a problem, for starters. Once you finally do, the struggle still isn’t over – admitting you need treatment and actually seeking treatment are two entirely different things. It’s understandable to hesitate and put off a visit to the therapist, especially if you can’t find a good therapist of color. However, this isn’t one of those things you can’t ignore forever – these disorders will never go away on their own. In fact, they can get worse with time. So, hopefully, you will reach out soon enough and get the treatment that will change your life for the better.