Advanced Psychiatry: Treatments for Anxiety and Depression
Did you know that around 5% of all adults suffer from depression? Depression and anxiety are both very common mental disorders, and they only seem to be getting more and more common. This may be because the modern world is becoming so fast and convoluted that it is hard to keep up with it.
Besides that, anxiety and depression may have genetic roots as well. That’s where advanced psychiatry and pharmacogenetics come in. While typical depression and anxiety treatments can be helpful, they might not work for some people.
That’s why pharmacogenomics might be able to help and start at the root of the problem. Keep reading and learn more about your depression and anxiety treatment options that include traditional treatments as well as more advanced genetic treatments.
Talk to a Therapist
When it comes to treatment for anxiety and depression, talking to a therapist is a classic and very effective choice. Both anxiety and depression can make it difficult to separate yourself from your negative thoughts and see the world clearly. Therefore, it is important to talk to a therapist who can put your thoughts and beliefs into perspective.
For example, suppose that a person suffers from a social anxiety disorder. This particular type of anxiety produces feelings of fear and nervousness when a person needs to interact with a person in some way. In some, this type of anxiety may be mild, or it may be very severe.
It is also different from typical shyness because it is much more intense, can produce stronger symptoms of nervousness and fear than shyness, and people don’t tend to grow out of it as they get older. For example, a person with social anxiety might be afraid to go to the grocery store because she is afraid that she’ll have to talk to the cashier upon checking out.
People without this disorder wouldn’t think anything about going to the grocery store, and it certainly wouldn’t produce any anxious thoughts. But when a person suffers from social anxiety, the very thought of having to interact and talk to a person can produce feelings of dread and fear. These feelings can become so strong that they can compel a person to avoid leaving the house at all.
What You Need to Know
Feelings of anxiety can also cause a panic attack. Panic attacks are so severe that many people who have them often mistake them for heart attacks. By talking to an experienced therapist, you have the chance to talk about the problems that bother you the most about your anxiety, whether it be social anxiety or any other type.
This is also true with depression. By talking about your problems, your therapist will be able to show you the truth behind them. For example, going to the grocery store isn’t as scary as it seems.
A therapist can also help you overcome certain problems. This is possible by learning different ways to manage and overcome certain anxieties you may have. You will also learn how to manage your thoughts and transform them into more positive thoughts.
But therapy alone doesn’t work for everyone. Fortunately, other mental health care options exist to help.
Assisting Mental Illnesses with Pharmacogenetics
Pharmacogenomics has everything to do with how certain genes influence the way a person’s body responds to a medication. Many people believe that one type of medication should work in the same way for everyone, but this is not true at all. This is because everyone is born with a unique set of genes, and for that reason, certain types of medication may not work the same as they might for another person.
This is especially important when it comes to treating mental illnesses with medication. Using medication to treat anxiety and depression is nothing new.
For example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a common type of medication used to treat depression.
In a healthy brain, there should be a certain amount of the hormone serotonin present. This hormone is known as the “feel-good” hormone, and it makes people feel happy and in a positive mood. There is a theory that people with depression are not able to produce enough serotonin or that the brain reabsorbs serotonin too fast, and depression will end up as a result.
SSRIs aim to keep the brain from absorbing serotonin so quickly. That way, serotonin has a chance to build up in the brain and produce more positive thoughts and moods. The problem with this medication (and other types of anti-depressants) is that they don’t work on everyone.
Some people might do wonders for their depression. For other people, the medication might not work at all. In fact, some anti-depressants might even make some people very sick.
In the past, scientists weren’t sure why there was such a large variation when it came to the effectiveness of drugs for mental illnesses. Today, however, the field of pharmacogenetics has discovered the root of the problem: genetics. A person is born with certain genes that allow the body to digest drugs in a certain way.
In particular, the enzyme cytochrome P450 in the liver is responsible for breaking down most drugs that go through the body. However, some people are born with genetic abnormalities in this enzyme (and other enzymes responsible for drug metabolism). As a result, these people would not be able to digest the same drug as well as other people.
In fact, if a person’s enzymes are dysfunctional or non-existent to a certain extent, the drug could actually build up in the body and become toxic or never reach therapeutic levels for effectiveness. This could make the person very ill. Of course, doctors can do a workup including a family history to determine what drugs have worked for parents or siblings, but they would not be able to know whether or not a person will be able to metabolize a certain drug to reach effectiveness or avoid adverse drug events.
That’s why pharmacogenetics is important. Pharmacogenetic tests can determine what kind of enzymes a person has in his genome. That way, it would be much easier to see what kind of medications would work best on a particular person and what dosage adjustments may have to be made based on their body’s metabolism. It would also become clear what medications may make a person sick.
Pharmacogenetics is still quite a new field, but it certainly has promise regarding individual (and effective) treatment options for mental illnesses.
Lifestyle Changes for Treating Mental Illness
When it comes to treatments for depression and anxiety, lifestyle changes can do a lot of good. While they won’t be able to cure anxiety or depression, they can help you see the world in a different way and help you stay motivated. For example, people who suffer from depression often experience symptoms of apathy, fatigue, hopelessness, and sadness.
Depression is not any ordinary sadness. It can be very intense, and it can last for months or even years at a time. Severe depression can make it difficult for a person to function and enjoy life in a normal way.
Some people with depression can’t even experience joy when doing the hobbies that they used to enjoy. This can make life feel pointless, and it can even lead to suicidal thoughts or actions. Because depression can feel like such a heavy weight, it can be difficult to implement lifestyle changes, but by forcing them into your life, you will find that you will be able to get the feeling of depression out of your mind, even if it is only for a few moments every day.
For example, staying busy is a good way to stave off both depression and anxiety. By picking up a new hobby that will fill up your free time, you will have less time to focus on your anxious or depressive thoughts. Exercising is a very good example of this.
Exercising, such as jogging, requires a lot of physical and mental energy. If you often feel fatigued due to depression, it can seem impossible to get up and go jogging. However, by pushing yourself to do this action, you will be able to focus more on the act of exercising rather than the symptoms of your mental illness.
More than that, studies have linked exercise to better mental health. This is likely due to the release of endorphins which can help promote positive moods and thoughts.
Advanced Psychiatry and Mental Illness
When it comes to advanced psychiatry or any psychiatry for that matter, there are many anxiety and depression treatment options out there. Talking to a therapist, making lifestyle changes, and trying pharmacogenetics are all very important. Pharmacogenetics, in particular, can ensure that you’re making the right mental health choices for your particular genetics.
To learn more, contact us here.