ADAA is pleased to provide a forum for FAQs that we receive from our public community. We forward all questions to one of our ADAA professional members and they respond here. We share these questions and answers on this website page, through our social media platforms and in our monthly "Ask an ADAA Therapist" e-newsletter column in our monthly issue of Triumph. Have a question? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
by ADAA member Dominque Apollon, MA, LPC, NCC
When it comes to medication, people usually feel one of two ways about it. There are those who are “anti-medication” and would rather do just about anything to get better without the need for a prescription and then there are those who want medication because they see it as the “magic pill” that will take care of all their problems. Before jumping to medication, I would suggest seeking a medical professional to answer any questions you may have about the process. Ideally, consulting with a mental health therapist to identify what symptoms you are presenting with can help make sense of the process ahead. The mental health professional will explore the wide range of anxiety disorders or depression severities so that you are able to better understand your symptoms and how to overcome them. ADAA also has a lot of resources that you can go through to learn more facts about anxiety and depression. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been an effective component in treating anxiety disorders. Behavioral activation along with CBT can be helpful in the treatment of depression.
So, when is the right time to consider medication? I would say when you find that the anxiety or depression has become debilitating and starts to affect your ability to function. Do you find that anxiety or depression is causing strain in your relationships, or is it hard to maintain your focus at work because you are too in your head? These symptoms can affect your overall well-being, so you want to take action. Your therapist can help you find a psychiatrist, or you can contact your primary care provider to discuss medication options. Research has shown that a combination of both CBT and medication has been the most effective treatment intervention. With that being said, do note that medication is just one of the many available tools in the “anxiety toolbox.” Once you learn the skills to cope, start practicing what you have learned and implement these techniques into your daily routine you will begin to see positive changes.
Want to take the first step? Check out ADAA’s Find A Therapist tool to find a therapist near you.
Dominique received her Masters from DePaul University in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Her clinical experiences include working at a non-profit helping kids, teens, adolescents and adults experiencing trauma. Prior to working at NVisionYou, Dominique worked in private practice specializing in the treatment of anxiety, depression, OCD, specific phobias, trichotillomania and other stress-related disorders. Dominique is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is board certified. Dominique is also on the public education committee for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America where she aims to improve and expand public education and outreach about anxiety, depression and co-occurring disorders through website content, webinars, blog posts, social media outreach and other collaborative educational projects.
by ADAA member Richa Bhatia, MD, FAPA
Experiencing some feelings of nervousness or worry is a normal reaction to stressors, and may even be useful in certain situations. However, if anxiety becomes excessive, pervasive, or difficult to control, and is affecting one or more areas of your life, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. In this case, it is important to seek help. You should also seek help, if you are unsure if your anxiety is a normal part of life or an anxiety disorder.
If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, the risks of not seeking professional help are significant. Untreated, anxiety disorders can become worse and more debilitating over time, often leading to avoidance and significant impairment in key aspects of life such as work, school, relationships and/or social functioning.
The good news is that effective, well-researched and safe treatments for anxiety disorders are available. Your doctor will first do a check-up to ensure that the anxiety is not resulting from an underlying medical problem. For the treatment of anxiety disorders, psychotherapy or medications or both, may be recommended. This recommendation is typically made in collaboration with you, taking into account the type and severity of your condition along with other factors.
Often, people are reluctant to seek help because they are concerned about cost or potential inconveniences related to treatment, or about side effects they may have heard about. If you have concerns or doubts, do discuss and clarify these with your primary care physician who can guide you in the right direction. Once you seek professional help for anxiety and have concerns or questions about a treatment option, you should not hesitate to discuss these with your treating provider. They can answer your questions, and in many cases, offer solutions that alleviate your concerns, thereby, arriving at a treatment plan that you are comfortable with.
Richa Bhatia, MD, FAPA is a Child, Adolescent and Adult psychiatrist, dual Board certified in Child, Adolescent and General Psychiatry. She is the author of 2 books: ‘Demystifying Psychiatric Conditions and Treatments’ and ‘65 Answers about Psychiatric Conditions’. Previously, she served as a faculty member in the departments of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. She serves as an Associate Editor for Current Psychiatry, Section Editor for Current Opinion in Psychiatry and is on the editorial board of several other psychiatry journals. She is an expert contributor for Psychology Today and Thrive Global. Some of her interests are childhood depressive and anxiety disorders, the interface between medical and psychiatric conditions, differential diagnosis, compassion and bullying prevention. She is an active member of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Section of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), the American Psychiatric Association and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
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