Clinical depression is a condition that causes persistent and pervasive feelings of sadness, despair and hopelessness that can take a toll on everyday activities and physical health, making people more prone to diseases and infections, as well as causing increased feelings of fatigue and lack of interest in activities and surroundings. Depression often causes problems at work, in school and in social relationships, resulting in feelings of isolation, sleep disorders, changes in appetite and other symptoms. The symptoms of clinical depression may be intensified by specific issues like problems at work or in relationships, but the disease itself is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and medical care is required to rebalance these chemicals so the condition can be managed.
Anxiety disorders are conditions that cause significant and ongoing feelings of fear or nervousness out of proportion to anything that's actually occurring. Like depression, anxiety can interfere with sleeping and eating as well as cause problems with relationships and normal day-to-day activities. Some people experience generalized anxiety disorders, while others may experience anxiety in response to specific stimuli (agoraphobia and separation anxiety are two examples). Anxiety and depression often occur together, with each condition intensifying the symptoms of the other. People with severe anxiety may experience panic attacks.
Specific criteria have been established to aid in diagnosing each condition, and clinical scales combined with questionnaires can help determine if either condition is present. Diagnostic criteria may also aid in determining which type of treatment is best.
People with either condition can be helped – often dramatically – with medication aimed at addressing the underlying chemical imbalances that cause symptoms. Routine office visits and lab testing can ensure the dosing remains optimized for the patient's needs. Some patients also may benefit from counseling to “un-learn” negative thought patterns and behaviors and to develop new and improved coping skills.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!