Sometimes a diagnosis of depression or anxiety brings more questions than answers. However, there is no need to panic! These disorders are highly treatable. Depression and anxiety disorders are not character failings and they are not over-exaggerations. They are psychological disorders that have a basis in the brain’s unique biology. Although depression and anxiety cannot be cured, these disorders can be successfully treated. Here, we give you the steps you should take when you have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety.
I’ve just been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. What should I do?
Recognizing you have depression and anxiety is the first big step. Then you can focus on creating a plan to deal with the diagnosis. Of course the best you can do is get help from a specialist that can guide you and help you determine what the right treatment is for you. You can always get a second opinion after getting diagnosed, especially when it comes to deciding what next step you should take for treatment.
- Get a referral if you need one. If you have been diagnosed by a general practitioner, ask for a referral to see a psychiatrist or mental healthcare professional, such as a psychologist or counselor. Some general practitioners feel comfortable prescribing psychiatric medication, but most will advise you to see a specialist, which in most cases is a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists may or may not provide therapy, but they will be able to prescribe psychiatric medication for you.
- Start psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is essential when learning to live with depression or anxiety. Psychotherapy is a talking therapy; a mental healthcare professional will work with you to help you learn new ways to cope, manage depression and reduce your anxiety. A common kind of psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, helps you challenge negative thought processes while learning better ways to approach problems and challenges in life.
- Get the facts about anxiety and depression. Although your doctor can diagnose you, there’s still a lot of information to be learned. Your therapist can help you get the facts about anxiety and depression. When reading up on your own, make sure that the sources you’re investigating are based in fact.
- Take a lifestyle inventory. Depression and anxiety can be worsened by many aspects of the environment we live in. Good mental health is an all-inclusive proposition, in that everything that’s in our lives affects it. What we eat, what we drink and how active we are affects our mind, our mood and our outlook. Although our diet and activity levels do not cause depression, it’s a recognized fact that a healthy diet and at least some daily exercise can improve a person’s mental state. With that said, consider your diet. What do you eat and drink daily? Think about how often you’re in sustained movement. Do you walk 10 minutes a day without stopping? Less? More?
- Make changes. Changing your lifestyle can be hard, but it is possible. Your doctor or mental health professional can help you make those changes. Eating better and exercising will not cure depression and it will not eliminate your symptoms. However, your health affects your mood in ways that aren’t always easy to see. Research in mood disorders consistently shows that regular exercise and good eating habits are associated with lowered levels of depression.
- Be compassionate with yourself. If you have been asking yourself “Is it depression or am I over-reacting?”—stop. You’ve been diagnosed with depression. It’s time to treat yourself with the kindness and compassion you would show your best friend if that special friend had received this diagnosis.
- Observe and follow your doctor’s and therapist’s instructions. The most important step in any mental healthcare plan is to follow your doctor or mental healthcare professional’s instructions. There’s no room to improvise with your medications on your own when you are living with depression or anxiety. Follow your doctor’s instructions for medication and how to take it precisely. Never get creative with your medication dosages or schedule. Psychiatric medication has to reach a particular concentration in your bloodstream to be effective, which can take several weeks. This therapeutic level will be thrown off if you skip your medications even for a few days.
Treating Depression Related Anxiety With No Side Effects
If you’ve just been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and are concerned about the many side effects of medications, consider treatment via Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). This is an FDA cleared non-invasive treatment that uses targeted magnetic pulses to stimulate areas of the brain that affect mood, which helps you get back to your best life quickly and with no side effects. Among the many treatment options out there, TMS therapy is an excellent, pain-free solution that is covered by most major insurance companies. The best part is there are no side effects from TMS therapy, making it an excellent solution for those who fear the side effects of medications.
This blog post is meant to be educational in nature and does not replace the advice of a medical professional. See full disclaimer.
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Ströhle, A. (2008). Physical activity, exercise, depression and anxiety disorders. Journal of Neural Transmission, 116(6), 777–784. doi: 10.1007/s00702-008-0092-x
Tartakovsky, M. (2018, July 8). Newly Diagnosed? What You Need to Know About Depression. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/blog/newly-diagnosed-what-you-need-to-know-about-depression/